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Tessy Plastics buys Grant Avenue property as COVID-19 test production approaches

Tessy Plastics buys Grant Avenue property as COVID-19 test production approaches

Grant Avenue Plaza

The north side of Grant Avenue Plaza has been purchased by Tessy Plastics, of Skaneateles.

Tessy Plastics has purchased part of Grant Avenue Plaza in Sennett as the Skaneateles-based company prepares to begin production of COVID-19 test kits in Auburn.

Tessy purchased the north side of the plaza, whose current tenants include Vineyard Church, Custom Business Solutions and State Farm. The purchase does not include the south side of the plaza, which includes the Auburn Movieplex, Big Lots and Tractor Supply Co., as well as separate buildings for Witmer's Country Market and Simple Roast Coffee Co.

According to Cayuga County property records, Tessy purchased the portion of the 360 Grant Ave. property for $1 million in June. The property's 2020 assessed value was $943,800.

A representative of Tessy said that it purchased the building "to support our growing business." The representative declined further comment about the purchase, citing customer confidentiality.

Workers could be seen renovating the plaza building Friday morning.

The town of Sennett's code enforcement officer, Tom Passarello, said Tessy will be using the building as a quality control center for the COVID-19 test kits the company plans to begin manufacturing soon. The company's building permit was not made immediately available to The Citizen, as Passarello requested that a Freedom of Information Law request be filed to obtain it, which was done Friday morning. Passarello added that Tessy did not need site plan approval for its renovation. The property is zoned for commercial use.

However Tessy uses the property, the company will be occupying the north end of the building, as well as the Vineyard Church space in the center.

The church's pastor, Jess McCray, told The Citizen that it negotiated with Tessy to move out by Aug. 31, ahead of the end of its lease.

"The sooner the better was what they wanted," she said. 

The company's work on the building's air conditioning systems in July made the church unusable, McCray said, but Tessy forgave the church's rent for that month as a result.

An employee of Custom Business Solutions said Tessy has not told the business it will need to move out. A representative of State Farm did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Tessy's purchase comes as the company approaches the beginning of production of COVID-19 test kits in Auburn. That will take place at 4900 Tech Park Blvd. in the city, the former Daikin McQuay. In April, Tessy announced that the facility will be converted into class-eight cleanroom manufacturing space, where the company anticipates making 10 million COVID-19 test kits a month.

The project will cost $18 million and create 200 jobs, Tessy has said. It's partnering on the project with a medical company that it has declined to identify due to a non-disclosure agreement.

In May, Tessy obtained property and sales tax relief for the project from the Auburn Industrial Development Authority. The company will receive assessment exemptions of diminishing amounts through 2031 on the Tech Park property, and will be exempt from paying sales taxes on project material purchases worth about $720,000. 

At the time of the project's announcement, Tessy said it would take 15 weeks to convert the facility, which would mean the first week of August. 

Asked for an update on the company's production timeline, Tessy declined comment.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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