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OBPA studying development at three Ogdensburg sites

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OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is moving forward on several economic development plans board members hope will bring a flurry of new activity to the city.

At its Wednesday evening meeting, the authority’s board of directors approved a $128,100 agreement with Rochester marketing firm Fisher Associates to determine the feasibility of developing three parcels within the city.

The authority is interested in building a hotel, a residential development and a flex commercial development on a 6.5-acre parcel off Proctor Avenue, a 13-acre site on the northeast corner of routes 812 and 37 and the site of the authority’s Bridge Administration Building.

“This is a big step forward for development here,” said Wade A. Davis, OBPA executive director. “We hope to have the feasibility study complete by the end of the year and to send out requests for proposals in the spring.”

Mr. Davis said the authority has not yet determined which development will go on each site.

“That is going to be market-determined,” he said. “This study is going to tell us whether a hotel and flex commercial development make sense in Ogdensburg.”

Flex developments are a mix of commercial offices and light industrial facilities, like the authority’s commerce park east of Ogdensburg.

Mr. Davis said the proposal originally was focused on a waterfront development for the Proctor Avenue property, but the authority decided to expand it to other parcels.

The board also approved an almost $10,000, six-month online advertising buy in the Montreal Gazette, an English-language paper serving most of Quebec, but Mr. Davis disputed the campaign’s potential.

“I am very much opposed to this,” he said. “It is an English ad in a French market, and corporate security software generally blocks out these advertisements.”

Mr. Davis said many Web advertisements are blocked by anti-spam software so some companies the authority might want to target would never be able to see the ads.

“It is great that we’re doing something different, but I question the value of the whole online thing,” he said.

In June, a marketing report from DCG Corplan, a West Orange, N.J., strategic planning firm, urged the authority to develop relationships with French-Canadian businesses.

Frederick J. Carter, the board’s vice chairman, requested the advertisement be in both English and French.

“I would like to see this in both languages,” he said. “There are some people up there who might be offended.”

In the past, the authority has attempted advertising buys in French-language publications, said John A. Rishe, director of commercial and industrial development.

“We did not get any response,” he said. “English is the universal language of business.”

The campaign is the first expense recommended by the authority’s new marketing committee.

“This is part of our growth and part of a new way of doing business for us,” said Samuel J. LaMacchia, board chairman. Mr. LaMacchia led the board in approving the committee’s recommendation.

The new committee will develop the authority’s marketing strategy to attract customers to its port, commerce park and industrial park.

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