With the news Fort Drum will only be losing about 1,500 to 2,000 soldiers due to budget cuts. The need for housing in the area seems to still be there. One new project could be huge for the Watertown area, the redevelopment of the Mercy Care Center site. It's a project our Brian Dwyer tells us, is close to getting underway.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Last month, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came to Watertown and talked about how financially sound the city has been.
Watertown's mayor Jeff Graham was proud to hear the news. But, he said the city will never be considered rich. It's projects like what he hopes happens with the Mercy Care Center site that he said helps the city keep up.
"It's never going to be at the levels that it is in the Hamptons as far as people's incomes. But, I think if we can work at redeveloping these projects and make Watertown more of a regional focus, I think that'll start to turn those numbers around here in the city over time," Graham said at that June event.
Now, the man leading the charge of the redevelopment of the Mercy site, Steven Aiello of COR Development tells us his company is very close to getting the title from Mercy's owners.
He already has ideas in motion, with plans to demolish the current building in the fall.
"First we looked at retrofitting it and redeveloping, but it's just too complicated and it would be functionally obsolete. So, our thinking was, let’s start over," Aiello said.
Once it's torn down, Aiello says he wants to build an urban redevelopment project. He's doing two of them in Syracuse as we speak.
"We're hoping to bring the same practical approach where it would be a mixed use project where you would see some retail office ground floor and then apartments above,” Aiello said.
Aiello is looking at 200 units, some of the low-income, affordable type, just like the apartments going up behind the Target store on Route Three.
Aiello said the final phase of those Apartments on Route 3 should be done by the time COR is ready to get rolling on Mercy.