Developers Hope To Breathe New Life Into Woolworth Building

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The old Woolworth Building is still imposing on the outside.

But it's going downhill by the day, inside. 

Winters are taking a toll with collapsed ceilings, buckling floors and signs of worse things to come.

"You go inside, you get a dramatically different opinion of the condition of the building," said Erich Seber.

Seber and David Gallo own the building and plan to spend $15 million to fix it.

The first floor would become commercial space, while upper floors would be made into apartments. 

The developers have more in mind than just bringing the building back to life.

They also want to restore its history.

The building is where Frank Woolworth began to build a retail empire.

"He was the Bill Gates of his day in the commerce industry and that just adds a component to it which is extraordinarily exciting," said Gallo.

What remains of the old lunch counter, the elevator, fixtures, anything that says 'Woolworth' and can be saved, will be.

"And so the whole idea is to make this look like the original Woolworth Building," said Seber. 

Next month, the developers hope to hear whether they'll get nearly $10 million in state financing.

If the answer is yes, work could begin in the fall.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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