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Purcell survey tests demand for warehouse facility with rail access

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WATERTOWN — Purcell Construction Co. is asking businesses to participate in a survey to help it decide whether there is demand for a transmodal warehouse facility with rail access at the corporate park the developer is planning off Bradley Street.

The short survey asks businesses if they would benefit from additional storage space and rail access that would be offered by such a warehouse at the corporate park. The 88-acre site next to Interstate 81 would have access to the adjacent CSX rail line. The survey is available online at http://wdt.me/kMBXz5. Responses are due by the end of the month.

“We want to see if there are businesses in the community that are excited about this and can use this space,” said Christina J. Schneider, chief financial officer of the Watertown company. “We also want to find out if they have to ship or get goods from somewhere else and don’t want to. The survey will give us information on what size the warehouse could be; it could be 25,000 or 50,000 square feet.”

Plans include extending a city waterline to the site, which includes 7 acres in the city but is situated mostly in the town of Pamelia. The developer hopes to have the waterline in this fall and to begin construction in 2015 on a warehouse with a rail siding; such a transmodal facility would accommodate shipment by truck or train.

“The warehouse would be the anchor of the park and support existing industries in the community and attract new industries that want rail access,” Mrs. Schneider said.

Specifics on the rest of the proposed park have not been announced, but the company anticipates building space for up to 20 commercial tenants.

The developer hopes to receive state grant funding to defray the costs of the infrastructure, and will apply this summer for “shovel-ready certification” from Empire State Development’s Build Now-NY program, Mrs. Schneider said.

The idea for a transmodal facility was raised during a regional rail conference in March that included rail industry leaders from across the north country, said Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager.

He said the company, which is now designing infrastructure for the site, hopes the survey will show there is enough local demand to build a transmodal facility. Interest will be sought from local manufacturers and agribusinesses, which could ship soybeans and other cash crops from the warehouse by rail. Purcell will work with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency to plan the project.

“We have to show the market that there is enough demand for the rail siding there,” Mr. Gefell said.

Purcell Construction bought the Bradley Street property in October from Pyramid Cos., Syracuse, for $1.25 million.

Businesses seeking more information can contact Mr. Gefell at 782-1050 or rick@purcellconstruction.com.

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