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Plans collapse for Route 9 distribution center in Moreau
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Plans collapse for Route 9 distribution center in Moreau

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MOREAU — The national company that wanted to build a distribution center in Moreau has decided to build elsewhere.

Lowe’s Home Improvement made a multi-million-dollar offer on land on Route 9 last year. The owners announced the offer just before the vote to add sewer lines along Route 9, which narrowly passed. But the plans have now fallen through.

“I think what scared them away was the fact that sewer still isn’t there,” said seller Sam Wahnon. “So they just said, let’s go elsewhere, and somewhere else had all the things they needed.”

Another company, working through a buyer’s agency, also expressed interest in the Moreau site — but the two-year wait for sewer was too long, and it, too, found another location, Wahnon said.

“So, I lost both,” he said. “They both bought elsewhere, I’m sad to report.”

The plan had been for Lowe’s, which was not named at the time, to build a 1-million-square-foot distribution center warehouse on 25 acres and later develop another 100 acres.

But the project needed sewer. The company did not want to build the massive and expensive septic system needed to handle multiple shifts with more than 200 employees.

The development would have cut in half the sewer debt cost for property owners on Route 9. Wahnon and his co-owners had also offered to pay everyone’s first sewer bill with some of the proceeds of the sale.

Now all of that is over.

But Wahnon is still optimistic about the future.

“Hopefully, once sewer gets going for real, we’ll be able to put something together,” he said.

Developers are looking for space in Saratoga County for distribution centers and warehouses, according to a report issued this week by Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership.

The economic development organization found that warehousing is a thriving industry in Saratoga County and that industry employs about 1,800 people.

Industry stakeholders, including developers, told SCPP that their biggest challenge is the limited warehouse capacity in the area. There is also limited land for expansion, they said.

About 40 percent of the stakeholders said they plan to add to their workforce over the next year. Wages have been growing too.

The average Saratoga County wage in the industry was $36,221 in 2007. Last year, it was $46,755, a 29% increase.

“Saratoga County is home to a booming warehouse and logistics sector that provides increasing job opportunities and significant economic impact,” said Marty Vanags, Partnership president.

That might mean that distribution centers will come to Moreau when sewer is complete, in about two years.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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