ST. MARYS — A New Jersey man passionate about the St. Marys area hopes to bring the Bucktail Plaza from its current “ghost town” state back to its former glory.

Mike Kanan was looking for new investment property when he decided to purchase the Bucktail Plaza on Bucktail Road. He temporarily lives in St. Marys, but has plans to move there, since, he said, he really enjoys the area and its people.

Since arriving in St. Marys, Kanan says he has been surprised at the lack of interest and support when it comes to the plaza, located just outside town.

The plaza currently has Sherwin Williams and Sears Hometown stores, as well as Triple A and the furniture and mattress store that Kanan opened called “MK Star Plaza Furniture.” Peebles will become a Gordon Brothers store in February.

He maintains the plaza and has been aiming to lease it to business owners and investors in the area for two years, Kanan says, with no luck.

The plaza has five vacant, move-in-ready spaces, including a former cafe and restaurant, grocery store, hair salon and two doctor’s offices.

Kanan would like to see the plaza offer a grocery store, hair salon and restaurant, he says, providing a variety with large, free parking areas located outside of the busy City of St. Marys.

The “beautiful” plaza was built in 2005 and is one of the newest around, Kanan adds.

Kanan, who has lived in a city all his life, can’t wait to be a resident of St. Marys, he says.

Kanan has purchased properties and stores in New Jersey, he says, but Bucktail Plaza has by far been his biggest challenge.

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He also hopes to see a break in taxes from the state and county, Kanan adds.

“I’m here and trying with all of my effort,” he says. “I’m an investor and I want to succeed, but this is not just a piece of business to me.”

Kanan says he heard that the decline of the center started when the grocery store left the plaza.

He invites people to come and take a tour and walk around, and would be welcoming of the City hosting events there, with plenty of parking to spare.

Kanan is also welcoming of any type of business — government, healthcare, local businesses, etc. It’s up to local residents to come and support the plaza if they want to see it succeed, he emphasized.

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