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Construction underway for 10,500-square-foot retail plaza in LeRay; Big Apple Music store, two restaurants planned

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Construction has started on a 10,500-square-foot retail plaza owned by Watertown businessman Robert D. Ferris on Route 11 in the town of LeRay, which will include a Big Apple Music store.

To be located north of Freedom Plaza on the west side of Route 11, the 3,500-square-foot music store will be joined by two national restaurant chains at the plaza, Mr. Ferris said. Those undisclosed tenants, which will take up 1,500 and 3,000 square feet, are finalizing lease agreements.

Mr. Ferris, who owns Big Apple Music in Watertown, has partnered with West Carthage developer Michael E. Lundy to develop and market the plaza. Mr. Lundy’s construction firm, Lunco Corp., plans to finish construction of the plaza by the spring.

Lunco Corp. also is building the 7,400-square-foot AutoZone owned by Mr. Lundy to the immediate south of the planned plaza.

Last week, construction workers finished paving a quarter-mile loop that runs north from the AutoZone driveway to the plaza site, where a second entrance/exit will be located. Along with that connector road, which is co-owned by Mr. Ferris and Mr. Lundy, a parking lot with about 100 spaces for the plaza already has been paved.

Workers are expected to start erecting the plaza’s steel structure in the coming weeks.

“Mike and I have been working on this plan for five years, waiting for the right time to do this with the economy going up and down,” said Mr. Ferris, who purchased the property five years ago. “Now the economy seems to be going up, and all of the pieces of the puzzle are going into place.”

The Big Apple store will feature the same car audio merchandise it offers in Watertown, he said, along with more services geared toward serving the Fort Drum market.

“It will be more service-oriented for the people on the base, and we’ll do a little bit more with parts for cars and trucks,” Mr. Ferris said.

In return for building the plaza, Mr. Lundy will acquire two acres of Mr. Ferris’s parcel under the partnership. He also owns 15 acres of commercial property south of the plaza.

The AutoZone and retail plaza are part of a larger plan for commercial development at the site led by Mr. Lundy. He eventually plans to purchase about 200 acres of land that extends west from the site, which is owned by Robert J. and Janice M. Piatt of LeRay and Columbia LeRay LLC. Over time, the area is expected to evolve into a retail hub.

“Back in 2002 when we developed Freedom Plaza, we recognized the potential for this property and the significance of its location,” Mr. Lundy said in a release. “Now, over 10 years later, its growth continues, and its potential continues to increase, especially with our direct access to the traffic light and ease of access on and off of Route 11.”

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