Reports surfaced Friday that a local restaurant owner is nearing a deal to purchase the Sears building, with the intent of reopening the parking lot to public use.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise says Paolo Magro, who owns the Little Italy pizzeria on Main Street and the Nonna Fina restaurant on River Street, is under contract to purchase the 1.41-acre parcel from Phil Vivlamore and Larry Mullen.
The pending deal does not include the Sears business itself. That remains on the market.
Margie Philo, of Adirondack Premier Properties in Lake Placid, told the Enterprise the building is under contract and she’s hopeful the parking lot issue will be resolved.
Vivlamore and Mullen closed the Sears parking lot to the public after negotiations with the village of Saranac Lake to purchase it fell through last year.
The closing of the lot angered many residents, with some calling for a boycott of the business.
In December, the Sears owners put the property on the market, citing bad blood with local officials and a sense that the community no longer welcomed them.
Philo told the Enterprise that she thinks Paolo Magro will be able to strike a deal with the village, leading to the reopening of the lot.
Magro told the newspaper he likes the Saranac Lake community. He added that financing for the deal hasn’t been secured, and he’ll have to find some way of generating revenue from public use of the lot to make the numbers work on his end.
The property is listed at $819,000.
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau says the village is ready to negotiate should Magro’s deal come to fruition.
“I’m really hopeful that should Paolo Magro be able to purchase the Sears building and parking lot that we can come to some sort of agreement,” he told WNBZ. “Our ears have always been open, we’ve always offered fair market value or a reasonable lease price – and we’re going to listen to Paolo and hear what he has to say about his plans for it, in terms of what he’d like to see from the village.”
“I think it’s a positive development and we’ll have to wait and see,” Rabideau added.
Currently, the lot is only open to customers of Sears, Nori’s Village Market, and Edward Jones.