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Permit approval paves way for demolition work to start


Crews from Celia Construction and Environmental Contracting & Construction Services, LLC, installed safety fencing around the Harison Place Project site in late July.  Both firms will be managing the demolition phase of the project.

Harison Place Project includes removal of blighted buildings along Main Street

The blighted buildings occupying the future site of the Harison Place Project will soon be demolished. 

The state Department of Transportation has granted full approval for Citizen Advocates to proceed with removal of the Gorman Building and five adjacent structures up to and including the former law office.  The Sears building, where the Kitchen, Bath, and Countertop Center is currently located, is not part of the project.

“After years of planning and building community support, Citizen Advocates is pleased to announce that we have our ‘permits in hand’ to demolish these blighted buildings in Malone’s downtown,” said James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates.  “Our ability to keep this project moving forward is the result of many local, state and regional leaders working together, selflessly, toward a shared goal. Not only are we focused on providing safe, stable and affordable housing, Citizen Advocates is proud to invest this multi-million-dollar contribution to revitalize the heart of downtown Malone.”

The state DOT issued the permit for the demolition phase on Tuesday, Oct. 19.  A pre-construction meeting was held a week prior among key stakeholders, including project developers, architects, engineers and construction professionals.  Many of the topics covered at the meeting involved a review of the required safety measures, demolition timeline, traffic management and notifications to keep open the lines of communication, especially if unforeseen circumstances emerge. 

“A significant amount of preparation work has taken place so we could safely remove the existing buildings,” said Mr. Button.  “There is the need to adjust traffic patterns around the work site.  However, we have prioritized planning and attention to detail so the demolition professionals can proceed efficiently and with minimal impact on surrounding businesses, residents and the broader community.”

There will be a gradual uptick in activity at the project site with the installation of temporary traffic control devices.  The initial demolition work includes removal of salvageable and historically significant materials.  Other activities include preparations to support the major demolition involving building removal, which is expected to begin the second week of November. 

At this point, traffic lanes between Academy Street and the Main Street bridge will be shifted away from the demolition site.  This may result in minor traffic delays intermittently around the project site for about three months.  Building removal is expected to start at the former law office and progress down Main Street toward the Gorman Building.  

“We appreciate the community’s support and patience while we remove these blighted properties, paving the way for next steps,” said Mr. Button.  “The good news is that once the buildings are removed, in their place there will be a vast improvement for Main Street Malone. We continue to await word on our funding for the second phase of the project. If funding does not materialize for the construction of new buildings, Citizen Advocates will re-engage the community to solicit feedback on a new vision for the block.”

The demolition phase of the project is expected to conclude by March, 2022.  Demolition work is being completed by Celia Construction and Environmental Contracting & Construction Services, LLC. 

Referred to as the Harison Place project, the development on West Main Street in the Village of Malone includes street-level commercial storefronts with 40 units for supportive and low- to moderate-income housing.  The overall construction would fit aesthetically with existing downtown style and architecture.

Citizen Advocates is committing $6.7 million to the demolition phase of the project.  The balance of the funding for the $22 million initiative is provided through low-income housing tax credits, state and federal agencies, charitable foundations and financing.

In addition to providing a wide range of quality clinical services, Citizen Advocates offers supports that promote individual health through stable housing, job training and transportation.