Lawmakers to Discuss Woolworth's Future Monday

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After years of debate, Watertown city lawmakers say they're ready to see the old Woolworth Building finally redeveloped into an apartment complex.

"It's really a corner stone of downtown, so we'd like to see something done with it," said Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham.

But to secure funding for the project, developers David Gallo and Erich Seber have made a few request.

They want the city to waive the building permit fees, provide them with the land near Cam's Pizza to build a parking lot, and give them a tax break on the property.

City council will decide whether or not to give the green light on this wish list when it meets Monday night.

At this point, the mayor says he supports the requests.

"I think all of these things and more are kind of needed to make an economic model for this building work," Graham said.

And he's not alone.

City Councilwoman Teresa Macaluso told 7 News she is also in favor of granting the developers' requests, saying the proposed redevelopment of the building was a "win - win for the city."

She said she is especially happy that under the new proposal, the city will keep the downtown bus terminal - something that turned out to be a major sticking point for the Woolworth's previous would-be developer, Michael Treanor.

Graham says although the building may have its expenses, allowing it to further deteriorate is not an option.

"We can't afford to have this central centerpiece building in the middle of downtown continue to decay," he explained.

Macaluso points out that failing to get the building redeveloped could cost the city millions of dollars down the road.

"At some point you have to make some sort of concessions to get the project underway," she said.

Now, with new developers comes new proposals and maybe a new life for this historic Watertown building.
 
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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