Vacant city building getting makeover

A vacant building at 366 High St. in Watertown on Wednesday. Emil Lippe/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A group of Texas partners are restoring a dilapidated commercial and apartment building in Franklin Square that has sat vacant for years.

Patrick Towne, Lakeway, Texas, confirmed that he and his partners started work on the three-story brick structure at 366 High St. but would not say what they plan to do with the building.

The new owners had hoped their plans progressed further, but the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the project, Mr. Towne said. The owners intend to announce their plans in a news release on July 12.

“We’re really excited with the revitalization of the city,” he said.

The building was purchased for $18,500 from Matthew R. Soluri in September. They received a demolition permit in November, said Carolyn Meunier, the city’s code enforcement supervisor.

When she went inside a few months ago, she observed that the former apartment building needs a lot of work.

“It’s rough,” she said.

The last she heard was that the new owners were evaluating whether the building was structurally sound.

“They had a lot of ideas but nothing definite,” she said.

The property, assessed at $48,100 and zoned neighborhood business, is located in proximity of Sewalls Island, which the city hopes to redevelop with parkland and trails and possible recreational businesses.

About 120 years old, the building mainly housed apartments, called the Cross Block during the 1930s and known as Beldon Apartments from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Over the years, the building housed several businesses, including Hunter’s Liquor Store in the 1960s and Eugene Renzi’s barber shop in the 1920s. It was often vacant.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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