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Bass Pro Shops to open here

Rochester Business Journal
June 20, 2014

The undeveloped Fishers Ridge property on Route 96 in Victor gets a big boost today, with Bass Pro Shops announcing it will build a 145,000-square-foot store at the 96-acre mixed-use site.

The outdoor retailer, which specializes in hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor gear, will build a large-format store in Ontario County, making it the first in New York. Bass Pro has two smaller stores in New York, in Auburn and Utica.

The new store will be the anchor tenant for the site and tentatively will open in 2016.

Bass Pro Shops ranked No. 105 on the Forbes list of America’s largest private companies in 2013. The company, founded in 1971, is based in Springfield, Mo.; it had sales of $4 billion in 2012 and employs more than 18,000 people.

The site of the original store in Springfield brings in more than 4 million visitors yearly and is Missouri’s top tourist attraction.

Bass Pro Shops’ big stores combine retailing with entertainment and conservation and outdoor education. In addition to selling outdoor gear, the stores feature a gift and nature center and boat showrooms.

The local store—roughly the size of the largest Wegmans Food Markets Inc. stores—is to feature Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill, a nautical-themed family fun center and dining establishment. The venue will feature 12 bowling lanes, as well as casual dining options.

Fishers Ridge, being billed as a lifestyle-town center project, is to feature some 750,000 square feet of retail, office, recreational and residential space. Options for development could include big-box retail stores, specialty retailers, restaurants, banks and hotels. Some 450 high-end apartments and hiking trails also are planned for the property.

Developer John DiMarco, president of the DiMarco Group, said the firm will need site plan approval from the Victor Planning Board to get the long-awaited project moving forward.

DiMarco said Bass Pro Shops is the type of attraction Fishers Ridge was seeking. The location was a key factor in the firm’s decision to build on the site, he said.

The site is ideally suited, on Route 96 near Route 251 and between Buffalo and Syracuse, DiMarco said. The firm began acquiring the Fishers Ridge property—originally seven separate parcels—in 2003.

“It’s the entry into the Finger Lakes region,” he said.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said the Fishers Ridge location—near the state Thruway and close to outdoor activities on Lake Ontario and in the Finger Lakes region—was a factor in his decision to build the store there.

Bass Pro Shops plays host to more than 116 million people annually at its 85 stores and marine centers. The average customer visit is 2.5 hours, with customers driving an average distance of more than 50 miles.

Bass Pro Shops, a privately held retailer, was named by Advertising Age magazine as one of the Top 10 Hottest Brands in America and has been recognized several times for its conservation and outdoor education efforts, as well as being recognized by J.D. Power & Associates for customer service excellence.

DiMarco Group owns nearly 3 million square feet of retail and commercial space throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, including Fishers Landing, a mixed-use development on the opposite side of Fishers Ridge on Route 96.

DiMarco is building a nearly 83,500-square-foot Bass Pro Shops retail complex in Atlantic City, N.J., which is to be completed in February.

The company operates four business entities within the DiMarco Group: DiMarco Construction (general contractor), Baldwin Real Estate Corp. (asset management), J. DiMarco Builders (facility maintenance) and Admar Supply Co. (construction equipment sales and leasing).

William Durdel, president of Baldwin Real Estate, said the deal sets the bar high for what types of retailers will be at the site.

Michael Manikowski, executive director of the Ontario County Industrial Development Agency, applauded the deal, saying the IDA looks forward to developing a public-private partnership with DiMarco for the Fishers Ridge project.

“This transformative project will provide Ontario County and our region with a significant high-quality, mixed-use development of signature retail, hospitality, conference, high-technology office and quality housing for our skilled workforce,” Manikowski said in a statement.

“We are excited to learn that Bass Pro Shops is planning a flagship Outdoor World store for Fishers Ridge. This flagship store will create high-quality permanent jobs, significant sales tax revenue and a tourism destination that will strengthen the county and regional economy.”

Manikowski recently described DiMarco as a seasoned developer with a record of success in Ontario County.

DiMarco began a state environmental quality review with the town of Victor in 2007 for Fishers Ridge, but no plans were finalized then as challenges in the real estate market brought on by the global economic recession prompted the firm to put the project on hold.

The improved economy, along with retailer interest, is helping to revive the project, DiMarco said.

“We’ve spent a lot of time planning; now it’s time to start doing,” he said.

6/20/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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