MASSENA Economic development officials met earlier this week with potential investors to discuss pooling resources to revitalize downtown buildings.
Bringing a group together through a Main Street LLC would minimize the risk for any one investor, said Rick Hauser of In. Site: Architecture, revitalization consultant for the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena.
I was pleased with the way things went at the public meetings Tuesday and Wednesday nights, BDC board member Larry Ralston said. Its an encouraging sign. The key to this is that the Massena community assumes this is their project.
Mr. Hauser said the first step toward opening the Main Street limited liability company is to gather together several dozen people who are willing to make an investment in renovating a building to draw businesses.
You want to have an open-ended LLC so investors can put in money that they wont see for a while, Mr. Hauser said. They will generally become more engaged citizens. If you have 25, 30 people who put their money where their house is, they will become more engaged citizens.
Mr. Hauser said about 15 people at the meetings expressed interest in contributing to the proposed LLC. We heard a lot of interest, both from investing money and a wide variety of parties that have contracting, management and legal skills of interest, he said.
In some cases, people can offer services rather than money to help jump-start the LLC, such as a contractor helping out with renovations to the chosen building. Existing businesses and corporations also may invest in the LLC with a goal of generating more commerce in Massenas downtown, Mr. Hauser said.
Mr. Hauser said he believes a larger building with space for more diversified assets would be better than a smaller one with limited development potential. He said building space also can be purchased at a better rate with a larger building than a smaller one.
At a previous board meeting, BDC members discussed two possible locations for the proposed Main Street LLC: Sunrise Mall, 48-50 Main St., and the Massena School of Business, near Main and Andrews streets.
BDC Executive Director Michael V. Almasian suggested the School of Business might be the better location.
The Sunrise Mall is very large and daunting for the first effort, he said. The School of Business is in the running because its attractive and appears in good shape.
The School of Business is a three-story building, with room for offices, apartments and retail space. The Sunrise Mall is a single-story building made up primarily of retail space.