Greater Lockport Development Corporation is hiring a grant writer to land the city some money for rehabbing the old Harrison Radiator main plant.

On the city’s behalf, the board of directors voted Thursday to hire Clinton Brown Company Architecture of Buffalo to complete an application for a new round of Restore-NY grant awards. $100 million is being made available to municipalities statewide this year.

There’s a catch, though. Unlike last year, small cities like Lockport

can only apply for money for one project. Last year, the city tried to get money for both the Harrison plant and the still-closed municipal parking ramp on Main Street.

The city is focusing on the plant because its rehab is a more abstract goal, according to GLDC President and Mayor Michael Tucker.

“It’s six of one, a half-dozen of the other. We know we’re going to spend money on one or the other — and we know we’re going to get the parking ramp fixed no matter what,” he said.

The grant application will seek $1.5 million for repair of elevators and roofs in the sprawling, five-building Harrison complex.

Of the ramp, a study by engineering consultant Greenman-Pedersen Inc. should be physically completed by next week. Cost-out of various partial to full repair scenarios should be presented within six weeks, and Tucker said he expects repair work will get under way next year.

Concerning the Harrison plant, GLDC probably will sign a contract with Mancuso Realty of Batavia next week, executive director William Evert said. Mancuso is being hired to manage and lease space in the facility. While finding brand new potential tenants, it also will try to hammer out deals with parties that have approached GLDC previously.

One of those potentials, JS Specialty Foods of Clarence, learned recently it can’t do with a portion of the plant what it wanted to, Tucker said Thursday. Because there is mold on a portion of wall in the complex, probably caused by leaking in the roof, the Food and Drug Administration will not sign off on food manufacture there.

Mold is not a huge problem in the complex, Tucker said.

“As far as I know, it’s just one small area that’s affected, and (mold) can be removed.”

Parties connected with JS Specialty Foods remain interested in looking at other uses for the plant, Tucker said.

GLDC representatives also heard a pitch last week from a Toronto-based entrepreneur who expressed an interest in redeveloping the complex as condominiums and retail space. The agency wants to see some proof of financial viability before continuing the conversation, Tucker said.

Contact reporter Joyce Miles at 439-9222, ext. 6245.

Recommended for you