Developers scale back plans for Watertown’s Factory Square

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 4:23 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Rochester developers are scaling back their plans for Watertown’s Factory Square.

Greenleaf Builders contacted the city in 2022 about turning the old Black River Paper Company building on Factory Street and an adjacent location at 567 Fairbanks Street into residential living and commercial retail spaces.

City Planning and Community Development Director Mike Lumbis says the company was unsuccessful in securing Restore New York funds last year when the project was on a bigger scale.

So, the developer scaled back the scope in hopes of securing funds this time around.

During a city council work session Monday night, plans for the $12.4 million project called “Carriages on the River” were discussed.

The plans include turning the 118,000-square-foot space at 629 Factory Street into 108 apartment units with a community room and laundry facilities.

There’s a proposal to turn the adjacent building on Fairbanks Street into office space, a daycare facility, or a hotel.

The developers want the city to help them get a Restore New York grant for the project.

“Any time you can redevelop buildings, put vacant buildings into productive use, that is a good thing for the city tax base, good thing for the city taxpayer, good thing for that neighborhood and it’s an overall good thing for the revitalization of the Black River waterfront,” said Lumbis.

Lumbis says once the next round of Restore New York funding becomes available, the city council will need to pass a formal resolution to move forward and then an application will be sent to the state for final review.