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Part of Apollo Plaza reverts to county

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MONTICELLO, NY — The shuttered Apollo Plaza, which has been empty for about 15 years, is once again in the news. The property known as Apollo Two, which is located behind the decayed mall in the southern part of the Village of Monticello, is once again owned by Sullivan County. The entity that had a contract to buy the property, Sullivan Property Acquisitions 1, LLC (SPA), defaulted on the terms of the contract, and thereby forfeited its $300,000 deposit.

Steven Veglianti, an attorney for SPA, said the group had a hard time attracting tenants that would have made the location viable, especially in a time when online retail operations like Amazon make it difficult for bricks-and-mortar retailers to survive. SPA retains ownership of Apollo 1, on which the mall is located.

The county will now consider other uses for the rear part of the property, which was once slated to house an expansion of the Sullivan County Landfill. The landfill expansion was ultimately halted in the midst of legal action from a community group and differences between county officials and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

In 2002, retail stores in the Apollo Plaza remained open, and about 50 employees worked in the various small shops in the mall. In 2003, Monticello village officials ordered the mall shuttered.

Since then, plans to use the space for other purposes have waxed and waned, and all have ultimately fizzled. At one time, the Apollo Plaza was going to be home to a big box store, but the box stores weren’t interested. One developer wanted to turn it into an upscale truck stop. Then, part of it was going to be the site of an aquaponics operation that would raise fish and produce in a symbiotic relationship.

More recently, in January 2015, developer Butch Resnick bought the property from the county for $600,000 and planned to open a grocery store and other retail outlets on the property. At one point Resnick considered selling the mall to restaurateur Jeffrey Wu, who planned to turn it into a Chinese grocery store.

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