Restore NY Grants awarded: $9.5M for Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties

Darrel J. Aubertine

September 02, 2009


Empire State Development today announced close to $9.5 million in grants for projects in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties as part of the third round of Restore NY grant program. Gov. David A. Paterson kicked off today’s announcements in Syracuse.

“The Restore NY program is critical to our economic development, smartly leveraging private investment with State dollars so that we provide our neighbors with the resources they need to grow,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “With this third round of funding, our villages, towns and cities can move forward with renewal projects that create jobs and attract businesses and consumers.”

The awards in the 48th Senate District are part of the $153.6 million in Restore NY Communities Initiative, administered by Empire State Development, for 79 projects across the State to help revitalize downtowns, create jobs, and invite renewed investment.

“These grants are part of a growing effort to breathe life into our downtowns and historic buildings which includes improvements to the New York Main Street program and historic preservation tax credits passed this year,” said Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, who attended an announcement in Watertown. “It’s exciting to see these important projects—in Oswego, Pulaski, Watertown, Carthage, Clayton,  Cape Vincent, and Sackets Harbor—funded in this round of grant announcements, as each of these projects will pay dividends for years to come.”

At the announcement in Watertown, Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen announced $2.5 million in funding to revitalize the historic Woolworth Building on Public Square in the city of Watertown. The building has been abandoned for several years and is located in an Empire Zone.

 “Restoring the vacant but historic Woolworth Building has been a top priority for everyone as the building will serve as an anchor for the city’s downtown square,” said Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate, Dennis M. Mullen. “Projects like this one have the potential to reposition our State by spurring economic development, creating resilient communities that provide the foundations for future growth and the means to transform neighborhoods. The process was a competitive one that identified those projects that would truly serve to revitalize urban cores, leverage private investment and bring future business expansion to New York State.”

The building will be rehabilitated to create a 72,850 square foot boutique hotel with 100 guest rooms on the second through sixth floors, meeting rooms, restaurant and retail spaces on the ground floor and a new pool and fitness center in the basement.  A separate multi-story parking garage will be built opposite the hotel on vacant property where deteriorated structures were recently demolished by the city.

“As the cornerstone of Watertown’s Public Square, restoring the Woolworth Building is a much anticipated next step in the revitalization of this city’s downtown," Sen. Aubertine said. "This investment by the state, along with the funding secured to complete the square’s reconstruction project and smaller projects, will help make downtown Watertown a destination once again." 

Among those on hand for the event with Mr. Mullen and Sen. Aubertine were developer Mike Treanor, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham, City Manager Mary M. Corriveau,  Jefferson County Legislature Vice Chair Carolyn D. Fitzpatrick, City Council members Roxanne M. Burns, Joseph Butler and Jason R. Burto, County Legislators Jennie Adsit, James St. Croix and Phil Reed.

Restore New York funds municipally sponsored projects for the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant or obsolete structures. Restore New York was designed as a competitive process with specific criteria. Strong emphasis is placed on projects from economically distressed communities across the state with priority given to those that leverage other state or federal redevelopment, remediation or planning programs such as Brownfield Opportunity Area or Empire Zones.

In addition to the Woolworth Building in Watertown, additional projects in Oswego, Jefferson, and St. Lawrence counties receiving Restore New York III funding are detailed below:

City of Oswego: $1.6 million, to develop the Stevedore Building, a vacant warehouse located on the Erie Canal Heritage Corridor and in the Oswego Empire Zone. The developer proposes to transform the vacant warehouse space into a mixed use building, creating 33 market rate residential units and five commercial retail/office spaces in the building. Development of the Oswego Stevedore is consistent with the Oswego 2020 Vision Plan and local waterfront revitalization program addressing the need for market rate housing, job creation and economic development in Oswego’s downtown waterfront district.

Village of Pulaski: $818,718, for the North Jefferson Street Revitalization Project to rehabilitate and renovate three, historically significant buildings located in the Historic District of the Village of Pulaski, along the escarpment of the Salmon River. Renovations will be made to the interior of one and the interior, exterior and site of two buildings to establish a mix of commercial and residential uses.

 Village of Carthage: $579,136, for a Medical Office Complex that will consist of the construction of a 6,400 square foot two-story brick facade commercial medical office building for lease to Pediatrics and Family Primary Care Practices. The project will be constructed on vacant land in the center of downtown Carthage, adjacent to the site of a five building fire in 2001. In February 2009, two dilapidated buildings were demolished adjacent to the fire site to make room for this project. The project, which will continue efforts recommended in the 2001 Carthage/West Carthage Downtown Revitalization Plan, will result in the creation of 12 high paying jobs and generate more than 8,000 patient visits per year to downtown, which is critical to the sustainability of downtown businesses. The Carthage Area Hospital will be able to address expanded healthcare needs of the region associated with Fort Drum so that the area may remain economically competitive.

 Village of Cape Vincent: $1,532,286, for the Roxy Hotel (Roxy’s), built in 1894, which is literally the cornerstone of the business district in the village of Cape Vincent. Listed on the New York State Historic Register, Roxy’s is a three-story brick building located at the corners of Broadway (Main) and Market Streets. The rear top two floors of the 15,000 square foot building overlook the beautiful St. Lawrence River, but are in the process of being condemned. The building is part of the downtown revitalization plan which was developed with the assistance of a 2006 New York State Strategic Planning Technical Assistance Grant.  Facade renovation for the building was also included in the New York State Main Street Grant received by the Cape Vincent Improvement League and Cape Vincent LDC in 2007. The rehabilitated building will be a mixed-use facility with the majority of space dedicated to commercial use.  An attached motel unit will be demolished and replaced with 4-6 apartments.

Village of Sackets: $735,000, for the Historic Madison Barracks Rehabilitation Project. This project proposes to restore an architecturally and historically significant abandoned, dilapidated vacant building that is not currently on the tax rolls. The former administration building is listed on the National Register of Historic places and is located in the community’s locally targeted Madison Barracks Historic Planned Development District.  The site will be rehabilitated into a hotel, requiring new infrastructure which will further stimulate development in the area.

Village of Clayton: $1,203,354, for the Riverwalk district to create new jobs through the renovation of two sites reaching from Clayton’s main artery, Riverside Drive, to the St. Lawrence River.  A three story mixed used building including retail, office and living space will replace the structure currently located at 419 Riverside Drive. A second building, currently underused and located at 690 Riverside Drive, will after renovations house office space and an expanded marine repair facility. Both sites are located within the Riverwalk District and will comply with the community’s Comprehensive Plan, as well as its Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

Village of Heuvelton: $490,000, to restore the third floor of Pickens Hall, the Opera House Auditorium, which will provide performance space and rooms for the Heuvelton Historical Association’s museum.  This will complete the restoration of this historic jewel which serves as an anchor to the Heuvelton community.

For more information regarding Restore New York, please visit  Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. ESD also oversees the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand.  For more information, visit