Boyd Street apartment units eyed

Developer Meira Moet Shapiro remains in talks with the city of Watertown to acquire the three-unit apartment building at 603 Boyd St. Craig Fox/ Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A Manhattan real estate developer says she found her passion in taking rental properties that are in disrepair and creating places for people to live.

The developer, Meira Moet Shapiro, has found another such a property in a three-unit apartment building at 603 Boyd St. that the city acquired in back taxes in June.

But she sees the three-story building that’s badly in need of a paint job and repairs to a rotting porch as a diamond in the rough.

“It’s luxury meets DSS,” she said in describing her vision for the property.

Ms. Shapiro remains in talks with the city to acquire the Boyd Street property.

City Comptroller James E. Mills said he and the developer have been trading emails and just talked on the phone with each other on Thursday.

“She’s still interested,” he said.

In June, she stormed out of a council meeting after she became upset that council members were poised to oppose the transaction for the Boyd Street building because it doesn’t have parking for tenants.

While she confirmed her interest, she said on Friday she did “not want to put the cart before the horse,” stressing it will be up to the City Council to approve the deal.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” she said.

But the apartment building recently made headlines.

It was the scene of a four-hour standoff in August that resulted in a tenant getting arrested on several charges for alleged drug, weapons possession and violent offenses.

Ms. Shapiro, who owns several rental properties in Oswego and a handful of other buildings in Watertown, insisted that she had never seen the man before, saying that she’s not responsible for “the moral values” of people living in her properties.

As for the parking concerns, Ms. Shapiro already owns an apartment building at 137-139 William St. that abuts the Boyd Street property. She’d use parking on that property for the Boyd Street building.

That’s if council members approve.

But City Manager Rick Finn pointed out on Friday that the city’s code enforcement office would have to inspect the condition of the building to make sure it was up to code.

She’s eyeing a number of other rental buildings on William Street and other unidentified Watertown properties.

She’s told Mr. Mills that she’s “under contract” to purchase 121 William St. and 131 William St., as well.

Ms. Shapiro declined to comment about her plans, only predicting that a couple of deals would be finalized early next week.

Last spring, she became interested in Watertown rental properties when she came upon an online posting of a vacant, deteriorating apartment building at 504 Cooper St.

But neighbors described it as a nuisance property. It received some unwanted notoriety last year when a Watertown woman was charged with making methamphetamine in it.

She’s no longer interested in it.

Last spring, she told The Times that she’s made enough money that she doesn’t have to work another day in her life.

Her main address is an apartment she purchased in Olympic Towers, the historic Manhattan building where Elizabeth Taylor lived and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has a residence.

A 500-acre site in Sandy Creek where she plans to develop a yoga spa resort is among her holdings. She lives part-time in a town of Mexico residence.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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