Tupper awarded $500k grant for factory overhaul

The former Oval Wood Dish factory on Demars Boulevard in Tupper Lake is seen in December 2019. A Northern Border Regional Commission grant for $500,000 will be used by the village of Tupper Lake to fund infrastructure upgrades at the former factory, where developers from Syracuse plan a housing and business complex. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — The village of Tupper Lake was awarded $500,000 from the Northern Border Regional Commission on Monday to help pay for a renovation of the former Oval Wood Dish factory.

On April 13, Syracuse-based Lahinch Group, owned by Joe Gehm and Michael Dunyk, bought the property for $1 million. Gehm estimated the preliminary renovation and development will cost around $30 million.

The purpose of this grant, according to the NBRC, is to “support jobs, housing, local businesses and economic development.”

“It’s huge,” village Mayor Paul Maroun said. “That will take care of all of their infrastructure upgrades to electricity, upgrades to sewer, upgrades to water.”

Gehm and Dunyk plan to fill the eight-building complex with mixed-income apartments, market-rate apartments, offices and businesses.

Mixed income housing is apartments with fixed rent rates to make them affordable for lower- or middle-income earners. Market-rate apartments are units that have no income requirements.

Maroun said he’d like to see two-thirds of the housing in the OWD factory to be mixed and one-third to be marketable.

“I think 30% is a fair number,” he said.

Maroun said as more people living in Tupper Lake retire they’ll want to have a place there and a home down south.

“I might want to go to Florida for six months and I want to have a place that has all my stuff here,” Maroun said.

The OWD housing project was one of five projects in this region awarded NBRC grants this year. Tupper’s $500k make up a quarter of the $2 million in grants awarded to North Country projects.

“I am proud to announce that taxpayer dollars will be returned back to the district in the form of these important grants,” Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who is the co-chair of the House Northern Border Caucus, said in a statement. “I have seen firsthand the success of these projects that will help improve valuable infrastructure, access to broadband and economic development.”

“The grant from the (NRBC) is moving the economic development of Tupper Lake ahead tremendously by assisting the OWD Housing project in its start-up stage; for additional rental opportunities in our community and the surrounding area,” Maroun said in a statement. “I appreciate all of Congresswoman Stefanik’s efforts making this grant a reality.”

He said he wants to bring Stefanik to Tupper Lake so she can tour the OWD factory, the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Sunmount facility and other locations in town.


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