|Neighbors Of Watertown, Inc - News & Articles||
By: Rachael Hanley, Watertown Daily Times Staff Writer | July 1, 2008
The state Division of Housing and Community Renewal announced Monday that it had awarded the Franklin Building project $4.3 million in deferred loans and tax credits.
As a result of the awards, the agency in charge of revitalizing the Franklin Building said enough funding is in place to start work on the historic Public Square structure.
Neighbors of Watertown has more than 90 percent of the funding needed for the $7.8 million project — some $7.3 million in grants, loans and tax credits — Neighbors Executive Director Gary C. Beasley said.
"We're delighted," Mr. Beasley said of the state announcement. "It means we're going to roll up our sleeves and get to work."
The Franklin Building is owned by Public Square Developers LP; Watertown Local Development Corp. is the general partner via the limited liability corporation 50 Public Square.
Neighbors plans to turn the three-story building into a mixed-use space with 16 residential units on upper floors, served by an elevator, and commercial units at street level.
Mr. Beasley said he and his staff had been checking the Division of Housing and Community Renewal Web site every hour Monday, in anticipation that the last large chunk of funding needed for the project would be awarded.
Their persistence paid off at 3 p.m., when the state published the 2008 Unified Funding Awards, which included grant, loan and tax credit awards.
Neighbors previously had assembled funding from a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant through the state's Office for Small Cities, $70,000 from the state Main Street program and a $50,000 grant from National Grid.
The agency had received historic tax credits from the National Parks Service, which were expected to raise $1.3 million after they were sold to investors.
On Monday, the Division of Housing provided $1.4 million though the state's HOME program, a $100,000 Urban Initiatives grant and an annual allocation of $298,000 in tax credits over the next 10 years, which Mr. Beasley expected to raise about $2.5 million when sold to investors.
The state also increased a previously awarded Restore NY grant from the original $1.25 million to $1.55 million.
Mr. Beasley is anticipating that the remaining $500,000 will come from another state office, although he was not yet sure which one.
"I understand that there's another award coming from another state department that has not been announced yet," he said. "So I think we'll be fully funded."
Over the next few days, Mr. Beasley will meet with Con-Tech Building Systems, the general contractor for the project. He said work on the building could start in August.
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