SENNETT | Skaneateles-based Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics appears set to relocate and expand its practice at the site of the former Harriet Tubman Residential Facility in Sennett.
The plans call for a proposed $4 million-plus renovation project on the property that will use the existing buildings there and add up to 75 new jobs by expanding its current medical services, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the Cayuga Economic Development Agency.
But, the long-proposed and controversial sports complex slated to be located in Skaneateles is not part of this latest proposal, although it eventually could come to Sennett.
"We are still very much committed to the vision of an integrated health care, sports and wellness campus, whether that be in Sennett or Skaneateles," Dr. Marc Pietropaoli, president of Victory Sports Medicine, said in the release. "However, in the meantime, we have a pressing need to expand our practice, and this site provided us with that opportunity."
According to the release, Victory Sports Medicine — through its agent, CNY Realty Development Co. LLC — was the winning bidder of the state-owned property at a recent public auction after CEDA recruited the company to look at the land.
Andrew Fish, interim director of CEDA, said the agency knew Victory Sports Medicine was actively seeking to expand its practice and sought out company officials when it became clear the property was available. The company has many Cayuga County clients and employees, and with additional services it now offers, it has outgrown its current Skaneateles offices. As a result, the Sennett site became an attractive option.
"There's already an existing gymnasium there, so obviously they're going to be doing their health and prevention stuff there," he said. "We showed them the property because we thought it would be a good fit."
While the sports complex could feasibly be added to the Sennett property eventually, Fish said the project for which the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council is seeking $800,000 in state funding includes just the expansion of the current medical practice.
Fish couldn't say that the sports complex will be located in Sennett and not in Skaneateles — or vice versa — since Victory Sports Medicine's immediate focus is expanding its practice before it works on the proposed complex.
"Their vision is still to have that complex, but that's not part of the scope of the project before the council now," Fish said.
It will be announced in December if the regional council secures the $25 million in funding that includes the Victory Sports Medicine Sennett project, and Fish said the company would then have to go through an approval process with the town.
One already apparent difference in the company's proposed new location, Fish said, is the support it has from the town, Cayuga County and the state through the regional council.
"Leadership up and down is behind this project," he said. "It really bodes well."
Opponents of the proposed sports complex in Skaneateles are cautiously optimistic at the news that the practice — and potentially the complex — may be headed to Sennett.
Holland Gregg, the founder of Citizens for the Preservation of the Character of Skaneateles and a leader of opposition to the development, said he feels "quite positive about" the news.
But, he noted, the project has yet to be officially withdrawn from consideration by the Skaneateles Town Planning Board.
"A few more shoes have to drop," Gregg said, noting his opinion that the complex's move out of Skaneateles is not a done deal. "We're sort of reserving our celebration. ... We're happy it's [the move] possible."