WATERTOWN — City and state officials have gotten their first look at two restored apartments in the Paddock Arcade that used Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding.
Michael A. Lumbis and Jennifer Voss, both from the city Planning Department, and state Empire State Development Regional Director Stephen M. Hunt took a tour on Monday of the apartments and other projects that received DRI funding.
Mr. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community renewal director, particularly liked the hardwood floors in a second-floor, 750-square-foot apartment that was completed in the historic Paddock Arcade about a month ago.
“They looked fantastic,” Mr. Lumbis said.
Located on the third and fourth floors, the other unit, a one-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot “townhouse” unit, is already occupied, while the second-floor apartment has not been rented yet.
Two more market-rate units also will be revamped as part of the DRI project, said Donald G.M. Coon III, managing partner of 200 Washington St. Associates, which owns the Paddock Arcade.
“We’re making progress,” Mr. Coon said.
The Paddock Arcade, 1 Public Square, was the recipient of $123,000 in DRI money for the apartments. Their construction crew completed the $200,000 project.
“It came out better than I envisioned,” Mr. Coon said.
The owners of the Paddock Arcade also will use $435,000 to make improvements inside the common areas of the building. That work will start in 2022.
Funds will be used to remodel the second-floor commercial “flex space” that can be used for retail or offices, Mr. Coon said.
So far, the renovation of the Lincoln Building is the only DRI project that has been fully completed since the city was awarded the $10 million grant from the state in 2017.
The owners of the Lincoln Building received $825,000 in DRI money. They invested around $6 million of their own to convert upper floors to new office space in the five-story structure at 89-99 Public Square.
An elevator and a new stairwell were also completed as part of the project. Several businesses have moved into the building as the result of the renovation.
But a number of other DRI projects were hit hard by COVID-19, halting or slowing down progress, including the Paddock apartments when supplies and materials were hard to come by.
This week, however, the Jefferson County Historical Society finally started installing an elevator to the Paddock Mansion on Washington Street.
Workers were pouring the concrete for the elevator’s foundation this week. That project, using $506,000 in DRI money, should be completed in January.
The roof is also being replaced with $500,000 in state Consolidated Funding Application funds and another $50,000 to complete that project.
The city is also using DRI money to complete a number of public projects.
A $1.6 million streetscape improvement project along the bulk of Court Street, the 200 block of Coffeen Street, the 200 block of Franklin Street and a makeover of Lachenauer Plaza is the most prominent of the public projects.
In September, the city Planning Board unveiled plans for the project, designed to create a more walkable environment downtown.
The Watertown architecture firm of Barton & Loguidice is working on final drawings. There was some criticism that preliminary plans included the loss of about 23 parking spots, so architects are now looking at ways to reduce the loss of that many spots, Mr. Lumbis said.
Two weeks ago, the owners of the Masonic Temple, who co-own Fourth Coast Inc., a renewable energy company in Clayton, announced that work on restoring the exterior of the historic landmark will resume next spring after the pandemic delayed the project last spring.
The Masonic Temple restoration is seen as the most transformative of all the DRI projects. Local and state officials think that the project to convert the structure into a performing arts center could draw crowds to downtown once it’s finished.
The owners obtained $1.2 million in DRI funding for the project.
While that project will resume next spring, the city is still waiting to hear from the New York Department of State, which is overseeing the city’s DRI program, about what will happen to $2.5 million that Jefferson Community College turned down for an entrepreneurial center.
City officials haven’t been able to get an answer from the state whether the city can use the $2.5 million in DRI money for another downtown project, or whether the money will still be available to the city at all.
The final DRI project also remains stalled by the pandemic.
Developers Michael Pierce and Kenneth Bodah plan to convert the deteriorating Wind and Wire building at 75 Public Square into a restaurant with extensive outdoor seating on a two-story outdoor deck.