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Purcell to develop outer Washington Street business park ‘piecemeal’

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Purcell Construction Corp. will not pursue a business park on outer Washington Street all at once.

Instead, the Watertown construction company plans to begin the venture by developing a 7,000-square-foot building on one of the lots, where a 10-structure business park would eventually be developed on a 30-acre site that straddles the city and the town of Watertown.

Purcell now plans to complete the business park “piecemeal,” Planning Board member Pamela D. Desormo said. The other buildings would be built later, she said.

In December, Purcell announced it was in the early stages of planning the business park consisting of nine buildings that would house small businesses and possibly medical offices in the town. A 10th structure in the city would include either a restaurant or retail space. Most of the development would occur south of the apartment complex’s entrance at Howell Drive and in front of Summit Wood apartments.

At a meeting last Monday, Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager, submitted conceptual site plans for the first building, which would be constructed near a cul-de-sac at the end of Howell Drive and on the east side of the road. The Planning Board took no action on the drawings.

Instead, he was told to come back to the April 7 Planning Board meeting with site plans detailing drainage, landscaping, exterior lighting, parking and other plans.

A public hearing would be scheduled for that night; Planning Board members are expected to approve the site plans for the building.

On Friday, Mr. Gefell was out of the office and could not be reached for comment, so it remained unclear exactly how Purcell intends to proceed with the remainder of the business park project or how quickly the 7,000-square-foot building would be constructed.

“I guess they would like to do it as quickly as they can,” Mrs. Desormo said.

On Friday, a small Bobcat and dump truck were spotted on the lot, where some site work has started.

The business park would cover 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of space, with individual businesses using between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet. Plans call for going through the approval process and being ready for occupancy in 2014.

Potential tenants already have shown interest in the venture, Mr. Gefell said in December.

In November, Purcell also announced plans for an industrial park with railroad access and space for up to 20 businesses on 88 acres of commercial land off outer Bradley Street at Interstate 81.

Purcell in recent years has been concentrating on Fort Drum-related economic development projects but now is focusing on other ventures off-post.

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