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Committee OKs blueprint for expanded JCIDA office building

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An administrative building with nine offices is a step closer to being built at the Watertown Center for Business and Industry on Starbuck Avenue as the new headquarters for the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

The agency’s facilities committee approved a conceptual blueprint Thursday prepared by Watertown-based Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors to build the 4,700-square-foot space next to its location at Building B. The space is now occupied by Environmental Spill Products; that company would be required to move under the plan, which requires final approval from the agency’s board.

After conducting a search for several months, committee members decided the expanded space would provide adequate room for the agency’s expanded staff of nine employees. Agricultural coordinator Jay M. Matteson and secretary Anna Hume joined the agency’s staff at the center this week, relocating from the county’s former agriculture office on Route 232. In October, the agency created a new position by hiring Dawn M. Caccavo as assistant chief financial officer, while F. Marshall Weir III became the director of marketing.

The agency hopes to start construction in the spring on the space, which would be more than twice the size of the agency’s current cramped location. That 2,200-square-foot space would become available for business tenants to lease after it’s vacated.

The blueprint for the new space calls for a spacious outdoor canopy outside the entrance that will lead to a common vestibule shared with Converse Laboratories, owned by David J. Converse, JCIDA board president. A larger waiting and reception area will flank the entrance, along with a work room for office machines and a break room for employees. A conference room of about 500 square feet and a smaller meeting room will line one wall of the space; the opposite wall will be flanked by offices with windows looking into a courtyard. Seven employees will have their own offices under the plan, with two extra offices available for future needs.

The plan won’t affect two tenants at the rear of the building, Ferguson Waterworks and Upstate Testing.

The expansion is estimated to cost $470,000, or $100 per square foot. The project is about $100,000 more than an original estimate considered by the committee in September because officials decided to add 1,000 square feet to the plan, said Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the Jefferson County Local Development Corp.

“We’ll be able to refine the size if the board decides to,” he said. “I think the layout is good, and we tried to accommodate the wishes of the community by not spending too much.”

The building will provide extra work space for clients who wish to host meetings or make phone calls.

“It could set us apart from other people by showing clients accommodations for them in the beginning stages,” committee member Donald L. DiMonda said.

For a time, the committee debated building a new structure north of the entrance to New York Air Brake. But it abandoned that plan after learning it would cost about $700,000.

Architect Patrick J. Currier will review the plan in January with the agency’s board of directors.

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