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Morgan buys Arsenal Street strip mall, more land for townhouses off County Route 202

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Townhouses aren’t the only specialty of Pittsford developer Morgan Management, which is now building its 394-unit complex off County Route 202 in the town of Watertown.

It has plenty of commercial interests, too.

Morgan Route 202 Shops LLC, a subsidiary of the company, recently bought the Route 3 strip plaza in front of Walmart from developer P.J. Simao, managing member of Toped Development LLC. That 13,500-square-foot building was bought Jan. 31 for $2.35 million, according to Jefferson County property records.

The plaza, which has sat stagnant since it was built in 2007, will be home this spring to a Taco Del Mar restaurant and Pro Nail Spa salon, said Kevin J. Morgan, vice president of Morgan Management. The national restaurant franchise, which is headquartered in Seattle and has only two locations in New York state, will be opened by Lowville developer Gary L. Turck. The nail salon will be opened by Tracy Nguyen, who manages a second salon with the same name at Salmon Run Mall.

“The strip mall is a great retail corridor, and it’s right in front of Walmart,” Mr. Morgan said. “Our plan is to fill the remaining space. We do have prospects, and I think there will be high demand based on feedback we’ve had.”

In another large property sale with Mr. Simao, Morgan Management bought a 54.5-acre parcel of land off County Route 202 from the Alexandria Bay developer that is directly across from its Preserve at Autumn Ridge townhouse complex. That land, where the developer likely will build more townhouse units, was bought for $1,250,000, according to Jefferson County property records.

“I think it has potential for commercial, residential or multifamily residential uses,” Mr. Morgan said. “The townhouses we’re building on Route 202 are filling up really well and there’s really strong demand. And if it continues to go well, what we’d like to do is jump across the street and build more. It’s close to the same size parcel of land that we’re developing on currently, so I think it would be relatively similar in size.”

The developer is scheduled to finish the first phase of construction at its townhouse complex this summer by completing 244 two- and three-bedroom units, Mr. Morgan said.

“We’re then going to roll right into phase two, and our goal is to fill our project,” he said.

The developer also has plans for retail development at an 8-acre commercially zoned parcel of eight acres off County Route 202, south of its townhouse complex next to Sam’s Club.

Mr. Simao, who sold Morgan Management land off County Route 202 to break ground on its townhouse complex, said he believes its commercial plans in the area will complement its housing plans.

Robert C. Morgan, owner of the company, “is a highly capable developer who owns shopping centers and is developing land around the area,” Mr. Simao said. “And what he’s doing over there on Route 202 would fit right into what he’s doing with the plaza. They like to continue developing what’s around them.”

Meanwhile, Morgan started asbestos abatement work in late January inside the former Tallmadge Tire building at 217 Arsenal St., which it bought from G&K Realty last July. The developer has not yet decided what it plans to do after renovating and replacing the roof of the two-story brick building, which has about 12,000 square feet of space and 50 parking spaces. Asbestos work is being completed by Independent Commercial Contractors Inc., Lorraine. Air monitoring and supervision of the work is being done by GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying PC.

Asbestos work is expected to be completed in about two weeks, said William P. Plante, GYMO engineer. He said he believes the building, which still has a sound structure, could be suitable for a restaurant.

“I don’t think they’ve had anyone that has expressed interest in it yet,” he said. “I know these types of buildings in the past have been used for brew pubs and restaurants.”

Mr. Turck, Taco Del Mar franchise, did not respond Friday to a call seeking comment.

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