From Herkimer to Mattydale to Endicott, abandoned Kmart plazas have stood as symbols of decline for years. Whether they closed five years ago, like a location in Central New York, or over 10 like one in the Southern Tier, community leaders have long been searching for solutions.
"Over the years, we've had some bites or people that have been interested in the property, but unfortunately, we've never had anybody that actually pulled the trigger and moved in. It's a very large space that we would like to see occupied," said Nick Paro, supervisor of the town of Salina.
The village of Endicott finally received the good news it's been waiting for: Green Mountain Electric Supply purchased the property with the goal of turning it into a warehouse.
What You Need To Know
- The village of Endicott finally received the good news they’ve been waiting for earlier this year, when Green Mountain Electric Supply purchased the property with the goal of turning into a warehouse
- Just a couple of months later, the Vermont-based company abandoned those plans, citing rising construction costs in stabilizing the building
- Since closing in 2017, the Kmart in Herkimer could also get new life
- A Rochester area engineering firm has plans to turn the property into a line of retail stores and commercial space
But just a couple of months later, the Vermont-based company abandoned those plans, citing rising construction costs in stabilizing the building. Endicott Mayor Linda Jackson said that’s not all bad news, though.
"That doesn't mean that they're giving up altogether. They are exploring other ideas. It brought attention to the fact that somebody was interested. It brought it into the limelight. And now, people are all over. I have two companies who have contacted me who want to buy it, but, of course, I have nothing to do with that. I'm just telling them they have to call Green Mountain themselves," said Jackson.
Since closing in 2017, the Kmart in Herkimer could also get new life. A Rochester area engineering firm has plans to turn the property into a line of retail stores and commercial space.
For mayors across the state, turning around these plazas is one of the top demands from residents, and they’re open to suggestions.
"I have got all these people talking to me about their ideas. Just an email and then I've got posts on Facebook. The community is really getting behind this. They want a say. People want to know that they can give me ideas and that I take them seriously, that we're not ignoring them," said Jackson.
For Mattydale and Endicott, some believe the large pieces of land could be perfect for a grocery store.
"That's a need for this community. It would probably fit the space very well. We've had some conversations, but nothing's come to fruition. But everybody in this community is always wondering when will little something move into this empty space," said Paro.
"I'm going to start with Trader Joe's and maybe even Wegmans. There's no reason they can't have one here. Also, because we have a great, a great population and let people know we exist, let them know what we have to offer,” said Jackson.
Whether it’s a factory or a grocery store, one goal remains across the state: bring new life to communities who need it. Green Mountain will still bring their facility to Broome County, but instead move it to Kirkwood.
According to Jackson, they still could build some type of facility on the vacant site.