Breaking: ‘significant new jobs’ possible under deal to sell Massena’s old GM property

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 2:40 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - A deal has been reached to sell the former General Motors property in Massena.

RACER Trust, which was created to clean up and position old GM properties for redevelopment, said it’s keeping the buyer’s name confidential for now.

“The proposed reuse would create significant new jobs and other benefits for the community, including a substantial increase in the tax base. While we understand and appreciate the community’s interest in the redevelopment and reuse of the property, it is important for competitive business reasons that we maintain confidentiality about the prospect and its proposed reuse of the property,” RACER Trust said in a prepared statement.

The GM plant closed in 2009 and 500 jobs were lost.

RACER, which stands for Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response, was created to take over all of GM’s abandoned properties when the automaker went bankrupt.

The trust’s job was to clean up the 217-acre Massena site, which was contaminated with highly toxic PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, and later market the property.

The news is welcome in Massena.

“A day that the RACER site is under contract is a big win for the north country and a big win for Massena,” said Sam Carbone, Massena deputy town supervisor.

Though RACER isn’t naming the buyer, it’s known the site has been aggressively marketed to data center and other energy-intensive businesses.

“This is a change for our town and a change for our area and we’re heading in the right direction,” said Carbone.

All remnants of the once sprawling GM power plant were removed in the environmental cleanup.

Down the road from the GM property, another project is already underway in the computer realm.

It’s a modest start for Petawatt on County Route 42. Within weeks thousands of computers will mine cryptocurrency. Massena Electric says it will have no impact on rates for its customers.

“We’re doing the billing in such a way that our ratepayers are protected,” said Andrew McMahon, Massena Electric superintendent.

Petawatt has big ambitions. It wants to put a “beyond beef” manufacturing plant and a data center there. McMahon says a lot of companies like Petawatt call these days.

“The northeast corner of New York state, with the wind and hydro, has incredibly low energy rates right now,” he said.

A kind of cryptocurrency alley is developing just north of NY 37. The North Country Data Center is the largest. Petawatt will be the third miner to locate there.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.