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Homes and Community Renewal

HCR Joins Partners to Mark Re-Opening of Watertown's Historic Franklin Building

Front row, left to right: James Fayle, ESDC; Donald Rutherford, CEO, Watertown Local Development Corp.; state Senator Patty Ritchie; Assemblywoman Addie Russell; Carolyn Fitzpatrick, Chairwoman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators. Sherry Wilson, past executive director of the YWCA, which previously owned the building; and Gary Beasley, executive director of Neighbor of Watertown, Inc. Back row: HCR Assistant Commissioner Daniel Buyer; Mayor Jeffrey Graham, City of Watertown; Harold B. Johnson / President of Neighbors Of Watertown, Inc.; Congressman Bill Owens; Roy Perry, Con Tech Building Systems, Inc. and Randall Crawford, partner, Crawford and Stearns Architects.

HCR Assistant Commissioner Dan Buyer joined city officials, Neighbors of Watertown, and community leaders recently to celebrate the transformation of the severely deteriorated Franklin Building in downtown Watertown into a state-of-the-art mixed use building with 16 affordable apartments and commercial retail space.

The restoration of the landmark building on Watertown's Public Square was made possible through multiple public and private partnerships, including Neighbors of Watertown and the Watertown Local Development Corporation.

Numerous programs through the integrated housing and community renewal agencies of HCR worked together to bring the building back to life, including federal Stimulus funding through the Tax Credit Assistance Program, which helped jumpstart the project when the economic crisis threatened to stall construction. HCR also provided funding through the federal Low-Income Housing Credit program, the Permanent Housing for the Homeless Program, NYS Community Development Block Grant program, and the New York Main Street program.

The Franklin Building was originally constructed in 1920 by the YWCA and served the community for years. You can read a history of the Franklin Building on Neighbors of Watertown's website: The building was restored using green design principals and features Energy Star appliances, light fixtures, and heating systems. The project provides two accessible, move-in ready units and two units are fully accessible and fully adapted for those with a hearing or visual impairment. All sixteen units are visitable.

The development team consists of Neighbors of Watertown, Inc., Con-Tech Building Systems, Crawford & Stearns Architects, and Brooks Washburn Architect, PC as green building specialist. The project is owned by Public Square Developers, L.P. Rents plus utilities will range from $528 to $674 a month and will be affordable to households with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income. In addition, five units will be targeted to families who are homeless.

To view a video of the event go to:

News clips of the event:

Last Updated: 4/1/2011