Work to begin this week on vacant Newell site

Newell building on Paterson Street, Ogdensburg. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — City Council took a major step Monday night in its more than seven-year quest to return the Newell building on Paterson Street to the city tax role.

City Council agreed to sell the long-vacant building to the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency for $1.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea Smith explained to council that the IDA had provided funding to help the city obtain grants, including a $1 million Restore New York grant awarded by Empire State Development, and a $300,000 ShovelReady grant provided by National Grid.

“The IDA provided bridge funding so there was no out-of-pocket expense to the city,” Ms. Smith said.

In addition to the grant money, the IDA put in more than $300,000 toward the rehabilitation of the building.

“We are selling it for a dollar, but arguably the IDA has put in a lot more money than one dollar,” she said.

The Newell factory was built in 1912-1913 as a 15,000-square-foot brick masonry building on a hill above the St. Lawrence River. Additions were added in 1919, 1960-1969 and again in 1992.

In June 2003, the Newell Company closed its operations in Ogdensburg and the property was sold to Tri-Regency Warehouse Properties, Inc., for use as storage and warehousing. In June 2013, the city acquired the property through property tax foreclosure proceedings and has worked with the St. Lawrence County IDA to market the property.

In 2017, a Canadian electronics and technology company backed out of a deal to purchase the building in order to set up an American-based manufacturing site, but walked away from deal after an environmental test by the company found contaminants in groundwater samples at the site.

The building is zoned for industrial use and is adjacent to Hoosier Magnetics, and the Port of Ogdensburg. The property is also within the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Area.

The IDA has received grants from the federal government, among others, to address the interior of the building, Ms. Smith said.

“This has been a great partnership between the city and the IDA,” Ms. Smith said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor

Slowly self-propelled. Two-time cancer survivor. Nearly 30-year newspaper veteran.

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