The long-abandoned commercial laundry on Union Street and its storefront building on State Street join an ever-growing list of decrepit properties benefiting from private investments indowntown Watertown.
Charles E. Bates had already purchased and rehabilitated six rundown buildings and one single-family house to create 27 apartments on the tiny one-way street connecting State and Franklin. He bought the old laundry building late last year and has begun a project to put seven apartments on the top floors.
Utilizing Neighbors of Watertown, the city and the Watertown Local Development Corp. to access $320,000 in New York state funding, Mr.Bates raised the balance of his$737,000 investment from private financing.Union Street for years was a challenged neighborhood. But Mr. Bates reversed the decline when he began to rehabilitate the apartments lining the street and began renting to what he described as more desirable tenants.
Take a look at the investment downtown:
n The owner of the vacant Public Square building, which has housed a series of Mexican restaurants, is asking for advice on how to bring her building back to life.
nNeighbors of Watertown has advanced a plan to enhance the entrance to the Brighton apartments and convert newly acquired vacant space into more apartments.
nMillions of dollars are being invested in the abandoned Woolworth Building.
n The vacant Mercy Hospital is being clawed to the ground to be replaced with apartments and commercial space.
nThe Lincoln Building is on the cusp of a new life.
nThe Solar Building has been resurrected from a haven of criminality to better apartments by Brian H. Murray.
nAnd there is even hope for the crumbling Masonic Temple.
Watertown is seeing the results of private/public initiatives, infrastructure investments and a rebuilt Public Square. The flow of capital into downtown is heartening and brings a new sense of vigor and life to the citys core.