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Watertown looks at $200,000 cost of moving CitiBus transfer station

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It could cost as much as $200,000 to move the city’s central bus transfer station for the Long Island developer who wants to restore the Woolworth Building for rental housing.

The subject of the possible relocation of the CitiBus loop next to the Public Square landmark came up during a discussion at Thursday morning’s Advantage Watertown meeting.

Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, told the group of business leaders it might cost $150,000 to $200,000 to relocate the seven-year-old glass and metal shelter to nearby green space on the other side of Arcade Street.

“It’s just a guess,” he said later, adding it might be cheaper to build a new shelter than it would be to dismantle the structure and move it.

He also said it was unclear who would pay for the move if Mr. Treanor proceeds with his plans to convert the Woolworth Building into 60 apartments on the upper floors and commercial businesses on the ground floor. The city and the developer would have to negotiate who would foot the bill, he said.

If the shelter is moved, buses would line up along Arsenal Street to pick up and drop off passengers.

Mr. Treanor has told city officials that obtaining the bus loop near the building and some green space on the other side of Public Square, near the Woodruff Professional Building, is necessary for him to do the restoration. Both sites would be used for parking.

Last week, Mr. Mix and City Manager Mary M. Corriveau met with Mr. Treanor to talk about the status of the $7.275 million project. He has brought in a new partner, an expert in rental housing projects, to help him restore the Woolworth Building. They hope to start the project this year.

Mr. Treanor and his new partner, David Gallo, president of Georgica Green Ventures, will be back to make a presentation to the Watertown City Council, most likely in April, since city officials have not heard from them about attending Monday’s work session, Mrs. Corriveau said.

In the past year, Mr. Gallo opened his own development business in Jericho, Nassau County. Previously, he worked for the Whitney Capital Co., a Nassau County development company, for about nine years.

His former boss, Whitney President D. Garry Munson, said that Mr. Gallo was involved in several projects, including the conversion of a historic Catholic convent into 101 affordable apartments for senior living that opened in 2004. That involved using tax credits to help finance the project, a mechanism that Mr. Treanor is expected to use for the Woolworth Building.

In recent months, local business leaders and city officials have become concerned about losing a $1.82 million Restore NY grant through the Empire State Development Corp. because the project appeared to have been stalled. But Mr. Treanor has assured city officials he intends to move forward with his plans.

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