Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg is expressing concern about the number of vacant storefronts popping up in the village’s business corridor and has asked whether Metroplex could take over the properties.
Roy Matthews retired and closed his appliance store at 113 Mohawk Ave. in August. Scotia Motors lost its Dodge franchise in 2009 and had been selling used cars for the past three years at its 110 Mohawk Ave. location before closing recently. The owners also have adjacent property that is vacant.
“I used to say there are not that many empty storefronts. Suddenly we have a number of them,” Kastberg said.
He said he would like to fill the space with retail businesses. While the village has a number of service-oriented businesses such as insurance and real estate offices, Kastberg said it needs more places where people can shop. He hoped Metroplex would assist in the process.
Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen said the agency is focusing its efforts on redeveloping the vacant McDonald’s site.
“We’re working to put together a project that would involve the cleanup and reuse of the former McDonald’s property, which is at the gateway to the village. It’s a very important property when it comes to the future of that business corridor,” he said.
Gillen said he could not elaborate on what is being considered for the site. The McDonald’s building was razed in 2010 after being vacant since 2005.
The site must be cleaned up from environmental contamination because the property at one point was home to a used car lot and gas station. Oily soil was found at the site in 2007.
Gillen believes redevelopment of this site will make it easier to attract other businesses.
In addition, Metroplex officials are talking to property owners along Mohawk Avenue about doing facade improvement projects in the spring. Other storefronts have upgraded their storefronts, including the Turf Tavern and Scotia Cinema.
Gillen added that the new apartments built by developer Bruce Tanski at the former Scotia Diner and Attanasio’s banquet facility will also be a catalyst for growth because more people will be living downtown.
Scotia already has a movie theater, grocery store, drug store and village hall along Mohawk Avenue. He believes the village could look like the Upper Union Street business corridor.
Kastberg remained optimistic that the spaces would be filled. “The businesses in this village all come and go. We’ve had bait shops. You name it, we’ve had it,” he said.