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BUSINESS

What Tessy Plastics will be doing at its new Grant Avenue facility

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Grant Avenue Plaza

Tessy Plastics purchased space at Grant Avenue Plaza in 2020 to test the COVID-19 test kits it began making that year at its Technology Park Boulevard facility.

A recent Freedom of Information Law request has shed some light on what Tessy Plastics will be doing at the Grant Avenue Plaza property it purchased in June.

The property will be used to test the COVID-19 test kits that Tessy makes at its facility on Technology Park Boulevard in Auburn, according to a May 19 email from Tessy Director of Financial Operations Joseph Ranalli to the zoning office of the town of Sennett, where the property is located. Ranalli said the plaza facility, which he called a "lab," will operate 24/7, with about 12 to 20 people working there.

The kits will arrive in batches of a few lightweight boxes via a passenger vehicle, Ranalli continued. The lab will have 40 analyzers that the kits will then be plugged into for testing. Kits that fail will be discarded into the same biological waste containers one would find at a doctor's office, but Ranalli noted that Tessy has been assured by "our customer" that the kits' contents are not harmful to humans.

"These kits have the ability to test for really any virus that may come in the future as well," Ranalli said. "They are already approved for Strep, flu, and now COVID-19."

It is unknown whether the Auburn or Sennett facilities are currently operational, as Tessy declined comment on this story to The Citizen.

The Skaneateles-based company announced in April that it would begin making COVID-19 test kits at the Auburn facility, the former Daikin McQuay plant, later this year in partnership with a medical company that it has declined to identify. Tessy gave a timetable of 15 weeks, or early August, to convert the facility into class-eight cleanroom manufacturing space. Once operational, the facility will make 10 million of the test kits a month, the company previously told The Citizen. The test can detect positive COVID-19 cases as quickly as five minutes and negatives in about 15 minutes.

Tessy purchased the Grant Avenue Plaza property for $1 million, according to Cayuga County property records. Its 2020 market value is $943,800.

The Citizen's FOIL request to the town also revealed that the company expects to spend about $500,000 renovating the plaza building on the property, including replacing its roof. Tessy is moving into the space previously occupied by Vineyard Church. The company's purchase did not include the section of the plaza occupied by the Auburn Movieplex, Tractor Supply Co. and other businesses.

In his email to the town, Ranalli said he was inquiring about the site because Auburn required industrial zoning for the facility's use, and there were almost no industrial properties available in the city. Sennett Zoning Officer Jerry VeVone replied that the use would be allowed in the plaza, which is zoned commercial, as he considers the facility a quality control office, a category of professional office use.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. 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 auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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