WATERTOWN — Realtor Lori J. Gervera initially bought the old Henry Wilson Jewelers building on Court Street in 2016 to use for storage.
About three years and $300,000 later, the three-story building at 114 Court St. is now the new home of her real estate business.
“We’re excited to be in and operating downtown,” Ms. Gervera said.
She gave members of the Advantage Watertown committee a tour of her new digs on Thursday morning.
The new office houses Lori Gervera Real Estate and the real estate agency Keller Williams of Northern New York.
The office employs 15 staff members and independent contract real estate agents.
The building’s exterior is part of a $250,000 downtown facade program provided by the Watertown Local Development Corp. and Neighbors of Watertown.
The historic 19th century building went through a complete transformation from the days the Winemaker business previously housed in the building.
When it was that business, the front facade had just one small window and yellow exterior covering. Now the wood structure features three large windows and a view of the Lachenauer Plaza fountain.
A work crew from Independent Commercial Contractors Inc., Watertown, peeled off the front and back facades and replaced it with a new exterior.
Inside, the office features dark wood hardwood floors, black painted, high ceilings, a training room dominating the first floor, an original stairwell from the jewelry days and seven tiny second-floor rooms with windows, where real estate agents plot out sales strategies.
“We really don’t need offices,” she said.
The main entrance is from the J.B. Wise parking lot side, where a post-industrial wood and steel stairwell was created at the direction of Neighbors of Watertown Reginald Reginald J. Schweitzer, who came up with the idea.
Before it became her office, the building was the jeweler’s business for decades but Ms. Gervera didn’t know for how long.
“I know it was longer than 41 years because that’s where my husband bought my engagement ring,” said Lisa Worden, a team leader for the real estate business.
Advantage Watertown board members welcomed the business to downtown.
“Lori, it looks great,” said Donald W. Rutherford.
Plans also call for turning the basement into a boutique.
Other facade work
n 118 Court St. also was redone. A cafe might reopen soon in the storefront
n Cam’s Pizzeria, 25 Public Square. Work will be completed in about two weeks
n City Trends, 112 Court St. It’s mostly a window project
n The former Wind & Wire building, 75 Public Square.