QUEENSBURY -- The owners of Aviation Mall plan to demolish the former Howard Johnson's motel by the end of October, officials said on Wednesday.
The town of Queensbury and mall owner Pyramid Companies agreed Wednesday during a tour of the long-closed motel that the building will come down by Halloween, town Supervisor Dan Stec said. The building that housed 7 Steers restaurant and Play Xtreme Sports will not be taken down, and the motel's foundation might be left intact.
The agreement came after Stec, 3rd Ward Councilman John Strough, town Fire Marshal Mike Palmer and several other town officials met with representatives of Pyramid to look at the condition of the former motel. The tour was suggested at a recent Town Board meeting when concerns were raised about the state of the building and whether it was a health hazard.
"People of Queensbury take pride in the way their town looks, and the complaints were starting to roll in again," Strough said.
A variety of plans have been put forward over the years to redevelop the site. Pyramid, owner of the adjacent Aviation Mall, bought the property in 1998.
In May 2001, town officials sought demolition of the former motel as a condition of permits for a proposed mall expansion.
The property owners took down the former Blacksmith Shop restaurant in 2002 after a fire gutted it, but the motel was left standing. Pyramid officials indicated at the time it might be renovated.
A proposed redevelopment of the site supposed to start in 2008 fell victim to the country's economic problems, said Jon Lapper, a lawyer for Pyramid.
James Soos, director of development for Pyramid, said the company will work with the town to make sure it is satisfied with the condition of the property.
Before the tour, he told a reporter the motel was to be demolished, "hopefully this year."
Afterward, he and Stec announced both sides would agree the structure would be taken down by Halloween.
The town representatives and mall officials went inside the former motel for about 10 minutes, but a Post-Star reporter and photographer were not allowed into the building during the tour. Pyramid officials said it was not safe to go inside.
The building has been used for training by firefighters twice in recent years, training that left holes in the roof and significant damage inside.
Mall security employees patrol the site a minimum of eight times a day, Soos said.
"We will reach an agreement to take it down," Soos said.
Strough said a deal to take down the buildings by the end of October was "reasonable."
Stec said removal of the buildings might make the site more attractive to developers.
"Maybe it will be easier to turn around and redevelop it," Stec said.
Stec said lawyers for the town and Pyramid will put together a "memorandum of understanding" that will be presented to the Town Board at its next meeting on Feb. 22.