WATERTOWN — The city’s Planning Board likes what developer Michael E. Lundy is proposing for the redevelopment of the old Medical Arts Building property on Clinton Street.
Mr. Lundy on Tuesday made an informal presentation of his vision for the nearly 3-acre site at Clinton and Sherman streets that would include a redo of the existing 24,000-square-foot former medical arts building and constructing a 4,480-square-foot addition.
“It’s nice to see something being done with it,” Planning Board member Linda J. Fields told the developer.
He’s proposing a scaled back project after finding out earlier this year that the Watertown YMCA could not proceed with a $16 million aquatics, racquet sport and wellness center project at the site.
Instead, he plans to demolish the one-story building that faces Clinton Street and renovate only the two-story building for medical, commercial and office space. Future plans call for “a national or local eatery” that would be built at the back of the property.
In 2017, Mr. Lundy purchased the property, with plans to renovate the two structures into a $14 million professional office building. A glass atrium that would have connected both structures also has been eliminated.
“It’s absolutely a super location,” he said. “It’s three acres and has access at two corners. It’s just a great piece of property.”
The $5 million renovated structure will feature “a lot of glass” and stucco siding. The address of the site was 161-171 Clinton St. but has been changed to 165 Clinton St.
Mr. Lundy scaled down the project after possible tenants decided to instead move into the CANI spine and physical therapy building at 19472 U.S. Route 11 in the town of Watertown that he’s purchasing. That deal closes on Thursday, he said.
Although he doesn’t have any tenants lined up yet, he’s gotten calls from people expressing interest after news of the Clinton Street project surfaced last week, Mr. Lundy said.
He plans to present formal plans to the Planning Board in November or December, with construction to start next spring and be completed by the end of 2020.
Planning Board Chairman Lawrence J. Coburn suggested the developer get together with city Fire Department officials to talk about access on the site for their equipment during an emergency.
Mr. Lundy also is considering eliminating an entrance from Sherman Street and having a one-way entrance from Clinton and another on Mullin Street.
Mr. Lundy began preparing the site for his project when the Watertown YMCA expressed interest in the property for its community center project.
But then Y officials learned the site did not qualify for two crucial federal tax credit programs, so they could no longer pursue their project at that site.
After that happened, Mr. Lundy went back to the drawing board.
He stressed that work on the design of the Y project had progressed significantly when YMCA officials were forced to scrap the project at that location.
They continue to look for a site, however.