Potsdam Food Co-op Plans to Buy Downtown Mall to Expand Store | Agriculture


POTSDAM — The Potsdam Food Co-op plans to use $1,659,000 of the village’s 2019 Downtown Revitalization Initiative award to relocate to Market Street and open a new store more than twice the size of the existing location.

Co-op general manager Andrew J. Peet said the move was based on 2017 market research that suggested moving to a larger building and expanding inventory.

“The Market Street location offers solutions to both of these,” Mr. Peet said.

The hope, he said, is to move the store from Elm Street to 63 Market Street, known as the Aubuchon Mall.

With the help of more than $1.6 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding, the Potsdam Food Co-op hopes to relocate from Elm Street to a larger retail location at 63 Market St., the Aubuchon shopping center. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

“The extra space will allow us to validate some of the other recommendations from the market study – more offerings for ready meals, a made-to-order delicatessen, a salad bar, a hot bar and more product selection in the whole thing,” Mr. Peet said.

He said the co-op plans to buy the entire building at 63 Market Street and lease some of the remaining space to tenants.

“Right now, at the stage we are at, we are trying to acquire the building,” Mr. Peet said. “I hope we will have a purchase agreement in the next month.”

The state’s DRI program provides partial grants to projects deemed “transformative and catalytic.” For the cooperative project, the DRI covers half of the cost. According to a DRI plan posted on the co-op’s website, the rest of the money will be raised through grants, donations, member loans, bank loans and the future sale of the 24 Elm Street property.

Renew Architecture & Design, Potsdam, is handling the design phase, with part of the store design coming from United Natural Foods Inc., Mr Peet said. A construction company has not yet been selected.

Potsdam’s other DRI funds include $1.4 million for the expansion of the North Country Children’s Museum; $600,000 for an expansion at the Clarkson Inn; $578,000 for the revitalization of the St. Lawrence County Arts Council’s North Country Arts Centre; and $118,000 for Scoops Ice Cream to turn into Sandstone Diner.

The village itself received $4,595,000 for the downtown waterfront pathway and Market Street streetscape revitalization, and an additional $750,000 to be used for downtown businesses. Village planning and development director Frederick J. Hanss said earlier this month that corporate funding could pay for “building renovations; this can help some people who want to install an awning or new signage (or) commercial leasing assistance for people who want to rent commercial space downtown in a vacant building.

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