WATERTOWN — Developer Michael E. Lundy had hoped that he would have completed redevelopment of the old Medical Arts Building property on Clinton Street by now.

But his project took a detour when the Watertown YMCA approached him about purchasing the nearly 3-acre site for its proposed $16 million aquatics and community center.

It’s now back on track, with the city’s Planning Board approving site plans on Tuesday for the 24,000-square-foot office and commercial building.

“I don’t want it to drag on,” Planning Board member Linda J. Fields told him before the vote.

“Me neither,” he replied. “I don’t want it to drag on but then I had somebody come in.”

While the YMCA project is in his rear view mirror, Mr. Lundy looks forward to renovating the existing two-story former medical arts building and constructing a 4,480-square-foot addition.

Plans also call for demolishing the one-story building that faces Clinton Street. The site also will accommodate about 160 vehicles in an adjacent parking lot.

Work is scheduled to begin next spring after he finishes a multimillion dollar redo of the former CANI Spine Center and Sports Physical Therapy complex that he purchased in October.

He envisions about a dozen tenants occupying 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot offices in the two-story Clinton Street structure.

Some of the tenants going into the Cani building originally was headed to the Clinton Street project.

Already talking to a few prospects, Mr. Lundy is confident he’ll find tenants for the Clinton Street property, located within a block of the city’s central business district.

“It’s a super location,” he said.

Future plans call for “a regional food group” restaurant that would be constructed in a standalone building at the back.

“We’ve already had some discussions,” he said.

In 2017, Mr. Lundy purchased the property, with plans to renovate the two structures into a $14 million professional office building.

He plans a scaled back $5 million project after finding out earlier this year that the YMCA could not proceed with its project at the site.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Lundy successfully lobbied the Planning Board to allow him to plant “dwarf trees” that are under eight feet tall, rather than shade trees that the city Planning Department wanted.

That was the only change in the proposed site plans.

He expects that construction will be completed by the end of 2020.

The project is being designed by GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying, Watertown.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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