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Local leaders tour Woolworth Building

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Local leaders tour Woolworth Building
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Watertown's Woolworth Building is being restored to its former glory. It's a massive renovation project that local leaders had the chance to check in on Wednesday. Elizabeth Jeneault shares their excitement over the progress that has been made.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- The Woolworth Building, once considered the jewel of public square, will shine again soon. A $17 million renovation of the building has been going well. It's a project that has been needed for years.

"Without this the square certainly would not be any place where people would want to take a risk or open a business or even spend too much time," said Assemblywoman Addie Russell.

The first floor of the building is being converted into commercial space, while the remaining five will become apartments.

Local leaders who had a chance to tour parts of the building say it's an excellent part of downtown's larger revitalization.

"We have some others that are being worked on," said Watertown's Planning and Community Development Coordinator Ken Mix. "The Lincoln Building, the Empsall's Plaza and of course the COR Development, so putting them all together really helps with the revitalization effort."

Work on the Woolworth began in the fall. Since then, asbestos removal and demolition has been underway one floor at a time.

"So, framing is just starting on the fourth floor, well developed on the third floor and we're actually getting ready to hang up board on the second floor," said Woolworth Building Project Co-Developer Erich Seber.

And while work has been going well inside, there's still a lot left to be done to the exterior.

"There's repointing and washing down the brick that will occur, new roofs going in, all the mechanical equipment to feed the building and the apartments and the commercial space will be getting installed," said Seber.

A lot of work to still be done, but the developer says that no matter what, the project will be complete by the start of next year. And when it is, 50 apartments will be available for rent. A reservation list for the units has yet to be created.

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