First look inside repaired Watertown apartment building

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 4:32 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A Watertown apartment building that had been condemned for a year and a half reopens on Monday. We got a sneak peek at the affordable housing at 661 Factory Street.

There are 19 rooms that are ready to be rented primarily to Department of Social Services clients for $675 to $700 a month. Refrigerator, microwave, and air mattress included.

The building was condemned in August 2021. With nowhere to go, residents lived in tents outside, kickstarting the conversation about homelessness in the Watertown area.

“This is an important piece of the puzzle. Absolutely, by adding this back in it’s adding more housing for people that can use this facility,” said Watertown City Council Member Cliff Olney.

Olney has been helping there since the building was condemned for a nonworking fire system, electrical and plumbing issues, and a bug problem.

Now the building is cleaned up. Electrical and plumbing work has been done. There’s a new heating system and some units have new paint and flooring. It was an estimated $30,000 worth of work.

A DSS office will be there. The property manager thinks it’ll lead to fewer problems.

“I think it’s going to add a layer of oversight to the building’s manager and what he’s been able to do. DSS is going to get an eye opener to what the needs are and to what problems landlords are finding,” said Olney.

While the inside of the building has gotten a facelift, Olney is hoping the outside will get one too.

“Certainly the aesthetics of the outside of the building would be helpful because many people didn’t understand that the work was done on the inside, so yes, if there’s a grant, this place would qualify and I would put up a resolution to see that we could have that NY Restore grant used for this project,” he said.

There are 12 more rooms in the works, creating a total of 31 units to help provide people in Watertown with a place to live.