Globe building deemed unsafe

The Globe MiniMall on Court Street has been condemned by the city after firefighters discovered structural problems during routine training. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Some routine training by the city’s Fire Department has led to the city condemning the old Globe Minimall building on Court Street.

Firefighters were doing some ladder truck training two weeks ago when they noticed that some cement blocks at the top of the building at 302 Court St. were loose.

On June 22, the city’s Code Enforcement Office condemned the building, notifying its owner that the building’s back wall sustained deterioration of concrete masonry.

“It’s due to neglect over the years,” Code Enforcement Supervisor Carolyn Meunier said Tuesday.

The building, owned by CCNC Dove Holdings Inc., has been vacant for many years. The owners have until July 10 to complete a structural analysis that would show the condition of some cement blocks on the building’s parapet, Mrs. Meunier said.

Its owners, the Calvary Chapel North Country Church, 25751 Liberty Ave., had once talked about turning the former minimall into a chapel, book store, thrift store, barbecue restaurant and coffee shop, but those plans never materialized.

The 43,000-square-foot vacant building was donated to the church in 2014. Two years ago, Calvary Church officials asked for tax exemption status for the building. The city’s assessment board contended that they did not have a clear plan to turn the building into a church when they applied in December of that year.

Church officials also had hoped to be included in the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, but the project wasn’t chosen for funding.

“All of those grandiose plans were the last I heard about the building,” said Michael A. Lumbis, the city planning and community development director.

The Code Enforcement office sent a form to the church to comply with the city’s vacant building law that the City Council approved last year requiring commercial building owners to notify the city of it future plans.

As of Tuesday, church officials have not responded to the city with the form or about the study on the building’s condition.

But on June 22, Calvary officials purchased the vacant Bethany Methodist Church, 214 W. Lynde St., for $85,000. That former church is assessed at $625,400.

There’s no word on what the Calvary Church plans to do with that property, either.

It’s the second time that firefighters were doing some training with the ladder truck when they noticed that a building needed to be condemned. They discovered that a gaping hole in a commercial building at 129 Factory Square. The neighborhood eye sore was demolished last winter.

Kory Wells, the church’s pastor, could not be reached for comment.

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