New Plans For Woolworth Building, But Parking Still An Issue
Plans have changed quite a bit since Long Island developer Michael Treanor bought the vacant Woolworth building on Public Square in Watertown in 2008.
Originally he wanted to redevelop it into a hotel. The latest vision is to turn it into 45 to 50 apartments.
What has remained the same the whole time, though, is the building is still vacant.
"A lot of people have been a little concerned that things were at a standstill, so I think we heard tonight that that's not the case," said city council member Roxanne Burns after a meeting Monday night.
"The developers do have an actual plan. They're ready to move forward," Burns said, "and I appreciate them coming and giving us an update."
"To make a project like this viable its not going to be easy," Mayor Jeff Graham said, "but I think they're on a better path now than the original proposal about hotels, because that was a non-starter from the beginning."
At the very least, the development team - now lead by new partner David Gallo - seems to be on a better path to work with the city.
"We're not here to say this is what we need and that's it," Gallo told the council.
"We're here to say, listen, we have got an issue, we have to talk about it and figure out a solution for it," he said.
One of the biggest issues is parking.
Before, the developers said the city had to move its bus transfer station on Arcade street to create enough parking spaces for the project to move forward.
Now, it seems they're willing to look at other options. One of them is turning the green space next to the Woodruff professional building across the street into parking.
"I think the positive thing that came out of tonight is that they want to work with the city," Burns said.
"They want to develop the building. We want to develop the building. And I think we can work together to find a solution."
Gallo says needs to formalize local team of experts and needs to come up with some more ideas.
But, most importantly, the project needs to get started and Monday's meeting was a crucial first step.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Watertown, NY
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