WATERTOWN — Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. predicts an economic development project involving three Court Street buildings will make a big difference to that part of downtown.
The City Council on Monday night approved three resolutions involving the project that local businessman Stephen J. Bradley wants to complete at 138, 152 and 170 Court St.
“I think you’re going to see a drastic change on Court Street over the next year or 18 months,” Mayor Butler said.
Mr. Bradley is using a $990,000 Restore NY state grant to help finance the more than $2 million project. The city is helping Mr. Bradley go through a process to get reimbursement from the state on work he’s already completed on the project.
Council members unanimously approved a “grant disbursement agreement” with his management company, S&J Companies. The city would, in turn, apply to state Empire State Development to receive the Restore NY money. they also passed a “Participent Grant Agreement” that spells out the reimbursement process.
The city actually applied for the grant and is the recipient.
Work on the project stopped as Mr. Bradley waited to be reimbursed from the state.
Plans call for turning the former Smith Restaurant Supply building at 170 Court St. into an events facility and creating eight market rate upper apartments in the nearby Dr. Guitar building at 152 Court St. and another unit in the old Berow and Monroe shoe store building, 138 Court St.
The major component of the project is happening in a 12,000-square-foot building at 170 Court St., where Bradley wants to turn the cavernous space into an events facility that would accommodate as many as 700 people for weddings, special events and parties.
The second floor — not occupied in decades — will be transformed into six market-rate apartments.
On Monday night, council members also approved a site plan for a 23-space parking lot associated with the project at the three properties.
“I think it’s a good project,” Councilman Cody J. Horbacz said.
Mr. Bradley, who owns Abbey Carpet and a series of other nearby buildings, hopes to start work on 170 Court St. in about a month.
He plans to have the events facility finished first, with the housing portion of the project completed later. It should take about a year before it’s done.
In another action, council members agreed to hire a former firefighter, who moved away last year, to take the place of Fire Captain T.G. Kolb who plans to take disability retirement.
Mr. Kolb was severely injured when a portion of a wall fell on him during the Feb. 19, 2017 fire that destroyed a storage building on Newell Street.