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Purcell plans business park off outer Washington Street

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Purcell Construction Corp. has proposed its second large economic development project within the past month, with the announcement it wants to build a series of commercial buildings on outer Washington Street in front of Summit Wood apartments.

Richard R. Gefell, Purcell’s project manager, told members of Advantage Watertown on Thursday the Watertown construction company is in the early stages of planning a business park on 30 acres that straddle the city and the town of Watertown.

As proposed, nine buildings would house small businesses and possibly medical offices in the town and a 10th structure in the city would include either a restaurant or retail space. Most of the development would occur south of the apartment complex’s entrance at Hoewell Road. “It’s very exciting,” he said, adding that Purcell Construction had been concentrating on Fort Drum-related economic development projects but now has turned to other ventures off post.

Last month, Purcell announced plans for an industrial park with railroad access and space for up to 20 businesses on 88 acres of commercial land off outer Bradley Street at Interstate 81.

Mr. Gefell intends to make a presentation Jan. 6 to the town Planning Board. He already has discussed the portion of the project in the city with the city’s Planning Department.

“It’ll be an informal session to find out what he needs,” said Town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett.

The business park would cover 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of space, with individual businesses using between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet. Plans call for going through the approval process and being ready for occupancy in 2014.

Potential tenants already have shown interest in the venture, Mr. Gefell said.

“We wouldn’t be doing it if there wasn’t already interest,” he said.

The business park would get water and sewer hookups from a system connected at Summit Wood, he said.

About two-thirds of the city site will need a zoning change from Residential C to commercial, city planner Andrew T. Nichols said. The remainder of the city and town site already is zoned commercial.

The construction company also owns 229 acres along Route 11 and behind the apartments, but Purcell currently has no plans to develop that space, Mr. Gefell said.

The company also submitted a $221,000 bid to purchase the former site of the Butterfield School off Butterfield Avenue. So far, Purcell has no specific plans for the 10-acre site.

Purcell in recent years has been concentrating on Fort Drum-related economic development projects but now is focusing on other ventures off-post, Mr. Gefell said.

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