New plan for controversial Plattsburgh parking lot

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) We have an update on the contested Durkee Street Parking lot. It sits in the heart of Plattsburgh and people have a lot to say about plans to develop it and take away parking. Our Kelly O'Brien has a new look at development plans.

"A small city like ours really has to reinvent itself to survive, it's an existential thing," said Mayor Colin Read, D-Plattsburgh.

Changes are coming to Plattsburgh. The Durkee Street Lot will soon be home to a mixed-use building with 127 apartments and room for storefront access.

At Thursday night's City Council meeting, Prime Companies, the developer on the project, showcased a new plan for the space.

"I'm just amazed at the degree he was able to accommodate all of the various comments that he heard. People wanted more parking spaces and he came up with even more spaces than I thought he could," Read said.

There will be about 100 spaces along Durkee and Bridge streets, and 80 underneath the building for resident parking. The city is also making the Glens Falls National Bank into a parking lot and is working with the county to free up space by Court Street.

Also in the plans-- to make Durkee Street a one-way road, to build the mixed-use building back to widen Bridge Street for angled parking and to build a new building on the waterfront for year-round city events and the farmers market.

"Have events down there, have people who want to put on shows down there. If the farmers market wanted to go year-round, we would have them access the building and maybe put in a commercial kitchen," Read said.

"It's a tough call either way," said Steve Jackson of Plattsburgh.

Jackson is fully aware of the controversy that has surrounded the development of the Durkee Street Lot.

"The place is messy, dirty and it's ugly. It would be great to have it all redone and more pleasant for people coming to visit but, then again, you also have the lack of parking," he said.

Jackson-- like many others-- is nervous about what the lack of parking would mean for the city.

"We need to make sure all the various alternative plans for parking are in place and parking is available before they do anything substantial down there," Read said.

Construction is expected to start later this year and be in full swing by 2020. It will take roughly two years to complete the mixed-use building but Mayor Read says it will be done in phases and people might be able to start moving in next year.