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Developers nab $1.85 million in state financing for Woolworth building


The developers of the Woolworth building have received a $1.85 million financial boost from the state to restore the Public Square landmark into rental housing.

Developers David Gallo and Erich H. Seber were awarded $1.073 million in housing tax credits and another $750,000 in Housing Trust Fund money for the $15.4 million project.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcement on Monday in a news release for $91 million in Homes & Community Renewal financing for shovel-ready projects to build affordable housing across the state.

After hearing the news, Mr. Seber said he and his partner can now proceed with their plans to convert the vacant building into 50 affordable lower-income apartments on the upper floors and commercial space on the ground floor.

“We’re very excited for the city,” he said. “We’re very thankful for all of the support we’ve gotten locally.”

With Tuesday’s news, Mr. Seber and his partner will now focus on bank financing and other funding sources. If all goes well, the project will begin this fall, he said.

Upon hearing about the state funding, Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, had a three-word reaction.

“That’s great news,” he said.

The two developers will now go to Empire State Development officials to work on arranging to reinstate a $2.5 million Restore New York grant since the original recipient and developer, Michael A. Treanor, backed out of the project last year, Mr. Mix said. Last year, Empire State Development had informally agreed to transfer that Restore New York grant for their project.

The project will feature a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, geared mostly toward young professionals and older residents. Corridors on each floor would stay intact, but all other interior walls will be removed and replaced with a new configuration for the apartments.

The 11,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor may include retail or office space, or possibly a restaurant.

The developers are working with Purcell Construction Corp., Watertown, and Lecesse Construction, West Henrietta, as contractors and the Syracuse-based Crawford & Stearns Architects and Preservation Planners to help with the project’s design. GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying P.C., Watertown, is working on the engineering aspects of the project.

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