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SUNY Potsdam, Clarkson presidents support hotel, housing project

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POTSDAM — The presidents of the village’s two colleges have voiced their support for a hotel, conference center and multipurpose housing project in Lehman Park.

SUNY Potsdam is continuing to develop plans for the Raquette Village at Lehman Park project, submitting a proposal for a NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant in October.

“This priority project, identified in SUNY Potsdam’s Facilities Master Plan, fulfills community and economic development visions for our region’s future, while also contributing to the College’s continued growth,” said John F. Schwaller, SUNY Potsdam president.“I believe that this proposal can and will bring energy to our campus and our region, in a public/private partnership that would create lasting jobs and sustained economic impact, while showcasing the natural beauty of the Raquette River.”

Lehman Park is a swath of land across from the SUNY Potsdam campus on the west side of Pierrepont Avenue and stretching to the Raquette River, where it overlooks the Clarkson University campus.

SUNY Potsdam’s private partner is the Titus Management Group, run by Colton native Lowell T. Warner.

“This is very exciting for me, as a SUNY Potsdam alumnus, to work with a great team at my alma mater,” Mr. Warner said.“To bring a project to Potsdam that will have such a positive economic impact on the greater community is an amazing opportunity.”

Mr. Warner received a bachelor’s degree in economics from SUNY Potsdam, before earning a Master of Business Administration at Clarkson University.

A SUNY Potsdam news release said Mr. Warner had received financing for an 85-room hotel at the park.

Clarkson President Anthony G. Collins also backs the initiative.

“Given that this project embodies several of the strategies outlined in the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s winning Strategic Plan, and that its impact would benefit the Potsdam community, St. Lawrence County and the region as a whole, I strongly support further exploration of this proposal,” Mr. Collins said.

SUNY Potsdam would oversee the construction of a 120-unit residential complex that would combine town houses, cottages and condominiums.

The units would be marketed toward graduate and non-traditional students, faculty, alumni and retirees.

Raquette Village would create an estimated 73 full- and part-time permanent positions, in addition to dozens of construction jobs. SUNY Potsdam estimated the project would generate $13.6 million in new economic activity for the region each year.

The additional short-term impact during construction would add approximately 64 jobs and $23.9 million annually for four years.

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