Preliminary plans to build two distribution warehouses at the Jefferson County Corporate Park on Coffeen Street will be considered by the Jefferson County Planning Board on Tuesday.
Submitted by Michael E. Lundy, CEO of Lundy Development Corp., Carthage, the site plan calls for a 100,000-square-foot warehouse to be built on Lot 11, which is 17.4 acres. On Lot 10, a 4.2-acre neighboring parcel, a 60,000-square-foot warehouse is planned as the new headquarters for Eagle Beverage Co., which is now located on Route 3 in Watertown.
Mr. Lundy, whose company owns Lot 11, is collaborating with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to restructure the lots to let the buildings share the 21.6-acre parcel. Lundy Development has signed a two-year development agreement with the JCIDA to develop the property.
The plan for the 100,000-square-foot warehouse was spearheaded in 2008 by CFM Food Distributors, which established a contract with Lundy Development to design and build a distribution facility and office building at the park in phases. But that plan was scrapped in 2011 when CFM unexpectedly filed for bankruptcy and was taken over by Maines Paper & Food Service Inc., Conklin. Plans for the project were then deflated because Maines had no interest in expanding the company.
Lundy Development, which had acquired all of the necessary approvals to break ground on the warehouse project, filed a lawsuit to recover $1.03 million in services completed for the project, which included all of the required studies for approval. But that attempt, Mr. Lundy said, was ultimately unsuccessful.
At the end of the day, CFM was blowing smoke and handed off its book of business, he said. In my opinion they misled everyone, because everyone believed they were growing by leaps and bounds before they went bankrupt in 2011.
The IDA took the property back on foreclosure and determined it would be a lot easier for me to develop the property than to reinvent the wheel, he said.
Eagle Beverage, which has cited insufficient space at its current location, began developing a plan last year with Lundy Development for a warehouse on Lot 10 at the park, Mr. Lundy said.
Weve hired a consultant that specializes in material handling to develop a warehouse for Eagle Beverage, he said. After talking with JCIDA, we thought it would be best to start fresh and show both buildings on the same site plan.
Under the plan, Mr. Lundys construction company, Lunco Corp., would build the warehouses. Depending on the situation, the property would then either be leased or bought by prospective distributing companies.
In addition to Eagle Beverages plan, the warehouse facilities have expressed interest in moving into the 100,000-square-foot warehouse, JCIDA CEO Donald C. Alexander said.
The question will be how they best fit on a combination of lots 10 and 11, he said. There is an issue with wetlands on part of Lot 10, so we have to decide what to do with that land. The two parcels will have to be restructured.
If the Planning Board recommends the site plan Tuesday, the Watertown Town Council then will consider approving it. The potential projects could have payment-in-lieu-of-taxes and/or sale-leaseback agreements negotiated by JCIDA to make them more affordable, Mr. Alexander said.
Warehouse distribution doesnt necessarily mean a huge creation of jobs, but it certainly improves the tax base and distribution of goods to our region, he said.