The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is moving forward on several economic development plans board members hope will bring a flurry of new activity to the city.
At their Wednesday evening meeting, the authoritys board of directors approved a $128,100 agreement with Rochester marketing firm Fisher Associates to determine the feasibility of developing three parcels within the city.
The authority is interested in building a hotel, a residential development and a flex commercial development on a 6.5 acre parcel off of Proctor Avenue, a 13 acre site on the northeast corner of Routes 812 and 37, and at the site of the authoritys Bridge Administration Building.
This is a big step forward for development here, said Wade A. Davis, authority executive director. We hope to have the feasibility study complete by the end of the year and to send out requests for proposals in the spring.
Mr. Davis said the authority has not yet determined which development will go on each site.
That is going to be market determined, he said. This study is going to tell us whether a hotel and flex commercial development make sense in Ogdensburg.
Flex developments are a mix of commercial offices and light industrial facilities, like the authoritys commerce park east of Ogdensburg.
Mr. Davis said the proposal was originally focused on a waterfront development for the Proctor Avenue property, but the authority decided to expand it to other parcels.
The board also approved an almost $10,000, six-month online advertising buy in the Montreal Gazette, an English language paper serving most of Quebec, but Mr. Davis disputed the campaigns potential.
I am very much opposed to this, he said. It is an English ad in a French market, and corporate security software generally blocks out these advertisements.
Mr. Davis explained many web advertisements are blocked by anti-spam software so some companies the authority might want to target would never be able to see the ads.
It is great that were doing something different, but I question the value of the whole online thing, he said.
In June, a marketing report from DCG Corplan, a West Orange, N.J., strategic planning firm, urged the authority to develop relationships with French-Canadian businesses.
Frederick J. Carter, the boards vice chairman, requested the advertisement be in both English and French.
I would like to see this in both languages, he said. There are some people up there who might be offended.
In the past, the authority has attempted advertising buys in French-language publications, said John A. Rishe, director of commercial and industrial development.
We did not get any response, he said. English is the universal language of business.
The campaign is the first expense recommended by the authoritys new marketing committee.
This is part of our growth and part of a new way of doing business for us, said Samuel J. LaMacchia, board chairman.
Mr. LaMacchia led the board in approving the committees recommendation.
The new committee will develop the authoritys marketing strategy to attract customers to its port, commerce park and industrial park.