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JCIDA foots $25,000 bill to fix trashy dumpster problem at City Center Plaza


Tenants at City Center Plaza, 146 Arsenal St., have complained for two months about trash flowing from dumpsters into the parking lot on the north side of the building facing Court Street.

To fix that problem, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency — which owns and leases the parking lot to Stream International — will spend $25,000 to purchase enclosed dumpsters to contain the trash.

The dumpsters will be used by Stream and six tenants at the plaza. But because JCIDA is responsible for maintaining the parking lot surrounding the building, plaza owner Brian H. Murray won’t share any of the cost.

A Watertown real estate investor, Mr. Murray purchased 41,000 square feet of space on the bottom floor of the building last fall from GEJ Watertown LLC, Tarrytown. About a third of that bottom floor is owned by the JCIDA and leased to Stream International, a call center that also leases the top floor from the agency.

The JCIDA hired Aubertine and Currier Architects of Watertown to design the two large enclosed dumpsters, said Donald C. Alexander, JCIDA’s CEO, to be located on the end of the parking lot toward Stream; storage bins at the lot also will be relocated. Work for the $25,000 project is now available for contractors to bid on. The project will be paid for by the agency’s capital reserve fund.

Seven dumpsters, operated by three different trash haulers, are now located in the north parking lot and are used by plaza tenants and Stream. Five of the dumpsters weren’t locked Tuesday afternoon when a reporter visited, but trash in the lot was minimal.

“The wind was blowing off the tops of dumpsters, and people were throwing stuff all over the place,” Mr. Alexander said. “We’re trying to improve the building in concert with Brian’s group, and we want it to be a showcase in the center of the community.”

It’s the responsibility of JCIDA to pay for maintenance costs of the parking lot under the contract it signed with Stream in 1993, Mr. Alexander said. Stream is leasing the spaces from the agency, which in turn is responsible for maintaining the area.

Mr. Murray’s real estate investment firm, Washington Street Properties LLC, and the JCIDA both want to improve the condition of the site.

“Even though (trash) is on the side of the building, all of the tenants, including Stream, want to make sure it’s orderly and properly maintained,” Mr. Murray said. “We share a common interest with the JCIDA in that they want to maintain the property at a standard we do.”

Mr. Murray plans to partner with the agency to improve shared space on the bottom floor of the building accessible on the north side. The area features a large common hallway connected to the bottom floor of Stream and is bordered by spaces Mr. Murray plans to lease. The area features seven spots that were previously classrooms, six retail spaces and office space.

Meanwhile, he said, the area is being renovated. Electrical and ventilation work was completed and lights replaced.

“The whole space has been vacant for so long, so there’s a lot of damage we’re working to repair,” he said.

The first tenant to be located on the building’s north side, Vector Marketing, moved into a retail space this month. The strip mall houses Family Dollar, Carthage Savings & Loan, Papa John’s Pizza, the BeyondNerd electronics store and a New York Fashions clothing store.

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