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Madison Barracks developer rep says no rush for decision about mess hall, theater buildings in Sackets Harbor


SACKETS HARBOR — With questions remaining about development possibilities for the theater and mess hall buildings at Madison Barracks, a representative of the building’s owner said a decision about their future will not be made hastily.

“We’re looking at everything,” said Michael W. Campbell, representative for developer Michael A. Lawler of Lawler Realty. “We’ve tried for a long, long time. We’re not in a rush.”

An application to destroy the two buildings is under review by the village Planning Board, but it was tabled during the board’s July meeting.

The debate about the fate of the buildings has drawn fierce reactions from residents who see them as part of the village’s military history. The two Pike Road buildings, built in the late 1800s, have been left without a tenant for more than 60 years since the military left them around the end of World War II.

Each of the buildings is projected to require millions of dollars in repairs before it can be used again.

On Monday, Mr. Campbell said it was possible that the company would request an additional delay at the Planning Board’s meeting this month so it can continue to explore its options, including a proposal from consulting firm edr Companies, Syracuse.

“That’ll give us some time to get this proposal ironed out and see who’s going to join us on this,” Mr. Campbell said.

Mr. Campbell said the consulting firm’s initial proposal was too broad and that he was going back to it to clarify that the developer wanted the proposal to provide more specifics about potential uses and future tenants.

In the future, Mr. Campbell said, the developer would seek help from entities such as the village, the village Local Development Corp. and the town of Hounsfield to help study the buildings’ prospects further.

The buildings did draw the attention of Allan E. Baer, president of Solarquest, a distance-learning school centered on sustainable technology with an address listed in Blair, Neb., who earlier this month spent two days in the village to learn about the buildings and the area.

Mr. Campbell described the visit as very preliminary and said that he would be waiting to see whether Mr. Baer could generate the financing necessary to pursue some kind of development activity.

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