An unidentified company is eying a century-old warehouse off West Main Street for a venture that would bring 50 jobs to the city.
During a loan review committee meeting Wednesday, Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corp., said he has been working with the prospect for the former distribution center at 570 W. Main St. for about four months.
The prospect, which he would not identify in any way, could decide on moving there this spring or summer, Mr. Rutherford said.
Theyre very interested, he said. Its an established company.
He told committee members Wednesday that he hopes to get board approval to place an option on the warehouse with owner Edmund Street Realty LLC, so the WLDC can take control of the 15.5 acres and not have someone else step in and purchase it. He intends to bring up the project at the boards strategic planning session Feb. 17.
The company would initially employ about 50 workers and either lease the facility or buy it from the WLDC, Mr. Rutherford said. The company would also invest money in the facility, he said, noting that it does not have concerns with its current condition.
With that much land available there, he also plans to suggest the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust, turn the mostly undeveloped site into the citys second industrial park, especially since the City Center Industrial Park on Bellew Avenue has only four or five vacant parcels remaining.
Located behind the former CFM Food Distributors building, the 42,658-square-foot warehouse is zoned for heavy industry and has 16 truck docks. Its assessed at $232,300.
Committee members noted that the three railroad spurs on the site could be crucial for luring other prospects for the industrial park.
Kenneth A. Mix, the citys planning and community development coordinator, said railroad spurs would be an important amenity, since the use of transporting bulk by train is used more often as the cost of trucking material continues to increase.
Earlier this week, Robert Nelson, a real estate broker representing Edmund Street Realty, argued against a developers plans to convert the CFM building in front of the warehouse into 30 apartments because it would interfere with his marketing the site.
At that meeting, the city Planning Board rejected a request by developer Back Bay Enterprises, Alexandria Bay, to rezone the CFM building. Asked if that decision had anything to do with the Trusts efforts, Mr. Mix said it would be highly unlikely that Planning Board members knew about them. He learned about the prospect just last week.
At one point, the prospect considered purchasing the CFM building to incorporate into its plans, but Back Bay scooped it up at a public auction in November, Mr. Rutherford said.
The warehousenow has one tenant.
Mr. Nelson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.