WATERTOWN — Just as Watertown Savings Bank is about to embark on a major expansion, developer Michael E. Lundy plans to proceed with a redevelopment project of his own on adjacent property on Clinton Street.
His plans will now move ahead to build a 24,000-square-foot office and commercial building in conjunction with the Watertown Savings Bank planning to construct a lending center at its Clinton Street complex next door.
Watertown Savings Bank announced last month its plans to tear down the Clinton Building, 145 Clinton St., and construct a 14,000-square-foot lending center on its location.
The bank project cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, with the city’s Planning Board approving a zoning change from limited business to the downtown district.
If all goes well, construction would start next spring, take 12 months to complete and be ready for occupancy at the end of 2022, Watertown Savings Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Mark R. Lavarnway said.
“It will feel like a campus,” Mr. Lavarnway said.
Plans have been in the works for several years to replace that Clinton Street building, as the bank has considered its need for additional space. The bank intends to bring in all of its lending department employees from its bank branches to work in the addition.
Once that project is completed, Mr. Lundy will then proceed with his project at the adjacent property, the old Medical Arts Building at 155 Clinton St., he said.
He intends to demolish the single-story building, renovate the two-story structure and construct a 4,480-square-foot addition. He hopes to get that construction finished by spring 2023.
Two years ago, he obtained site plan approval from the city’s Planning Board but then put his focus on redoing the CANI Spine Center and Sports Physical Therapy complex on outer Washington Street that he purchased that October. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, further delaying his Clinton Street redevelopment.
On Tuesday, he acknowledged that Mr. Lavarnway and Watertown Savings Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mark S. Bellinger were getting impatient that the two vacant medical office buildings sat idle for so long, especially since the bank was planning its expansion next door.
“Mark and Mark were very clear that the project has to get done,” Mr. Lundy said.
Now that the bank project received a zoning change, Mr. Lundy plans to finish up final drawings for the 14,000-square-foot addition in time to meet with the Jefferson County Planning Board on Aug. 24 and then return to city planners in September for their site plan review.
He will use his Clinton Street property for a staging area while his company, Lunco Corporation, Watertown, works on the bank project, Mr. Lundy said.
The two projects will be “a big change” for that part of downtown, Mr. Lavarnway said.