9 years later, what’s going on with old Mercy Hospital site?

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 4:49 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Nearly a decade after Watertown’s Mercy Hospital was demolished, the site still sits vacant. However, officials still have hopes that it could eventually be developed.

It was once heralded as a new beginning for downtown Watertown.

“It’s going to be done right. It’s going to be done well. It’s going to be a great asset for Watertown.”

Those words were uttered in May 2014 by then-Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy. It was during a ceremony to start the demolition of the old Mercy Hospital and a plan to create Mercy Heights, owned and operated by Cor Development Company.

“It fits exactly into the strategic plan that that the people of this region have developed,” Dr. Anthony Collins said in 2014 as co-chair of the Regional Economic Committee.

Roughly 6 acres would’ve been taken up by apartments, office space, and a shopping center.

Nine years later, officials still reflect fondly on that plan.

“I think there was some mixed feeling about tearing down some of the historic structures but a lot of optimism that something exciting and new would be built in its place,” said Watertown Planning and Community Development Director Mike Lumbis.

Despite high hopes, the site has remained an empty lot for nearly a decade.

Since it’s privately held and kept up to code, whether or not Cor chooses to develop the site into Mercy Heights is out of the city’s hands.

“Hopefully, the pieces can all come together either for Cor or something else; something similar to that would be a great fit on that property,” said Lumbis.

Although Cor’s intentions for the property are unclear, it’s on the market. Mayor Smith says any sort of development there could benefit the city.

“It’s always the goal and interest to have this property back on the tax roll, whether it be the old Mercy site or other sites throughout the city that are privately held,” said Smith.

Even though the property is for sale, if you visit Cor’s website, Mercy Heights is still listed as an upcoming project.