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Dunn & McCarthy today

The former site of Dunn & McCarthy in Auburn.

AUBURN — A proposed land deal for the former Dunn & McCarthy site in Auburn is no longer in the works after the Syracuse-based health care provider behind the project rescinded its purchase offer, City Manager Jeff Dygert said Thursday.

Helio Health, a health care clinic specializing in mental health and substance-use disorders, in August proposed a plan to purchase 41-55 Washington St. in the city in order to turn the vacant land into an affordable housing complex, including services for tenants.

At Thursday's city council meeting, Dygert said Helio Health had withdrawn its $130,000 purchase offer for the site.

Representatives for Helio did not return a request for comment by press time Friday. However, the move came after the council tabled the resolution authorizing the sale during its Aug. 15 meeting so that Helio could meet with local community organizations involved in similar work to discuss the project.

Councilor Jimmy Giannettino Jr., who introduced the the motion to table, said Friday that the organizations had reached out to him regarding the project, and he wanted to make sure the proposal would fit in with local efforts around recovery and affordable housing.

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He said Auburn was ahead of the curve in those areas compared to other communities thanks to efforts of groups like the Auburn Housing Authority, Nick's Ride 4 Friends, Cayuga County Department of Social Services, and more, to effectively cooperate.

"What we want to do is be careful that we're not duplicating efforts," said Auburn Housing Authority Executive Director Stephanie Hutchinson, who spoke Thursday as a member of the Cayuga County Committee of the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Central New York.

Hutchinson was a part of the meeting between Helio and several community groups, and said Friday it involved a discussion of both ongoing and proposed local projects as well as Helio's proposal.

After hearing about all the local work in progress, Helio made the decision to withdraw its purchase offer, according to Hutchinson.

Hutchinson added that committee would welcome Helio to come back to the table and discuss future ideas, and was appreciative of the agency's willingness to meet and speak with the local groups.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin.

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