Work ongoing to transform portion of St. Lawrence Centre mall into warehouse space

Mar. 2—MASSENA — Work is ongoing to transform 161,000 square feet of what was once the former Hill's location and food court at the St. Lawrence Centre mall into warehouse space.

The site plan was approved by the Massena Town Planning Board during its November meeting. Among those at the meeting were Charles Moryoussef, director of operations at Groupe Shapiro, the mall's owners, and Potsdam architect Brooks Washburn.

Mr. Washburn said the project would be a "staged building permit," with the addition of six truck docks on the north side of the building space as the first modification of the space. The dock installation work is being done by LaVack's Custom Builders.

That will be followed by work in the middle area between the former Hill's location and the food court. The third stage would be demolition and utilization of the food court area.

Asked by planning board members what types of products would be stored in the warehouse, Mr. Moryoussef said they were products that would be resold to Amazon, Walmart and other retail stores. No shelving will be included as part of the project, with only large, bulk products being stored in the area.

Mr. Washburn noted that the storage would comply with occupancy standard S-1 and S-2. The S-1 subdivision is for moderate risk storage requirements. The S-2 designation is for low risk. No flammable items will be stored in the area.

Planning board members agreed to limit the number of trucks allowed in the parking lot to 20, with parking in the rear of the building.

They also said no additional lighting would be necessary, but that mall officials will be responsible for keeping the existing lighting functional. Mr. Washburn said additional lighting would be used for the new truck docks, using the industry standard of down-casting light fixtures.

Among the board's requirements in approving the site plan were the installation of traffic signs along the access road to identify warehouse traffic and the removal of unused signs from the east end of the mall. All new signs must follow the town code and not be dynamic LCD/LED flashing signs.

To prepare for the project, current mall tenants were moved to new locations away from the construction. Among them, Just-Bounce, an indoor, year-round bounce house facility announced in February that it was relocating to the former TJ Maxx space, but was expanding with a larger variety of bounce houses and arcade-type games.

An advertisement from Columbia Frame, a developer and manufacturer of home decor products in Montreal, was seeking an experienced warehouse manager for the Massena location. They were seeking someone with three to five years of experience in managing a warehouse over 50,000 square feet, three to five years of managing a team of 10 or more people, and three to five years of experience dealing with "logistics of mass market retailers."