Neighbors of Watertown celebrate Empsall Building opening


Neighbors of Watertown celebrate Empsall Building opening

WATERTOWN — Aileen Martin could imagine a couple having enough space to entertain friends and family in one of the new apartments in the newly renovated Brighton Apartments/Empsall Building.Ms. Martin, executive director of the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, had a chance to go through the new second-floor apartments during a Thursday afternoon open house of the Court Street building that underwent a major upgrade.She liked the view of Public Square, particularly from one of the eight new units in the apartment building, owned by Neighbors of Watertown Inc.“I want this apartment,” she told friend Kathy L. Connor.First coming up with the idea to renovate the former department store in 2013, workers were still putting the finishing touches on the Brighton/Empsall Building project right up to the time before the open house began, executive director Gary C. Beasley said.“We had to kick them out at noon,” he said.In addition to the eight new apartments, commercial space on the ground floor and basement — where shoppers once browsed at merchandise from the old Frank A. Empsall Co. Department Store — was restored and will be leased out.“This is just nice space,” said Dr. Jason White, chairman of Advantage Watertown, a group of community and business leaders.Tin ceilings from the days of the department store were restored. The space features large interior windows along a common hallway. About 80 percent of the store’s wood floors were maintained. The local housing agency just began showing the space to potential tenants, Neighbors deputy director Reginald J. Schweitzer Jr. said. Neighbors also completed renovations at four other low-income senior citizen housing buildings that Neighbors owns in the city.Considered an important economic development boon for the community, the $14.5 million project also included Henry Keep Apartments on State Street, Centennial Apartments on Washington Street, the Bugbee building above the downtown Family YMCA facility and Olympic Apartments on Franklin Street.New doors, windows, kitchens, bathrooms, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning equipment and roof work were part of the upgrades. The Brighton/Empsall Plaza building also included the renovation of 36 upper-floor apartments and adding eight new units on the second floor. An elevator also was replaced and a new main entrance in the back of the building was created.Under new structuring, Neighbors held the Brighton/Empsall building before acquiring the other properties from previous owners, allowing them to become controlled by a single owner. With the acquisitions, it ended up a $30 million investment in the community, with investors taking advantage of tax credits.A retirement dinner for Mr. Beasley, who has been with the housing organization since its inception in 1967, will be held tonight.
Source: Watertown Daily Times Latest News
Neighbors of Watertown celebrate Empsall Building opening

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Comments