Watertown's Franklin Street Sees Rebirth

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The Whimsical Pig was the last piece in the puzzle for the Franklin Building. 

After the framing business moved in a week ago, every commercial space is now rented out.

It's a similar story for the rest of Franklin Street in downtown Watertown.

Just about every storefront is now occupied.

"Businesses want to be downtown and the businesses we have in the Franklin Building appear to be very stable," said Don Rutherford, chief executive officer of the Watertown Local Development Corporation.

It's a street lined with a few restored buildings - Franklin, Burdick and now the Solar Building. 

Washington Street Properties fixed up the structure reminiscent of the Flatiron Building in New York City.

It has new ceilings, new paint, new apartments and new tenants.

They aren't finished yet, but every apartment is occupied with a new crowd.

"We do an application that checks their background, criminal background, credit check and eviction record check, so we know we have qualified tenants that are living here - that are respecting the building and helping us bring it to the place we want it to be," said Allison Carlos of Washington Street Properties.

Rutherford says he hopes the success of Franklin Street is a sign of things to come.

"We do have a substantial amount of money that we can put back into the community right now. We'll be looking to our economic development partners in the private sector to try to get those projects moving," he said.

Back at the Whimsical Pig, management sings the advantages of the location after moving from the JB Wise building.

"They're coming in and out from both ends because there are so many businesses down here," said Shannon Allen, co-owner of the Whimsical Pig.

Places that just opened this spring, like Eddy's African Market, an infant clothing shop, and Rio Downtown nightclub, are hoping to capture that same traffic.

And so is everyone else who's hoping for a downtown renaissance.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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