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JCLDC plans to OK proposal for new headquarters in February

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Facilities committee members of the Jefferson County Local Development Corp. reviewed the final blueprints Friday for the agency’s new administrative building planned at the Watertown Center for Business and Industry, and they liked what they saw.

The agency’s board is expected to approve the plan Feb. 6 to relocate to the 4,563-square-foot facility at 800 Starbuck Ave., to be built in the space between its current 2,200-square-foot location and Converse Laboratories at Building B. Once approved by the board, Watertown-based Aubertine and Currier Architects, Engineers & Land Surveyors will put the project out to bid for local contractors. The buildout with nine offices is expected to cost about $475,000, along with about $56,000 for design costs to Aubertine and Currier.

The Watertown Industrial Center, which owns and manages corporate park, would finance the buildout under the plan. The JCLDC would lend $350,000 to WIC at 3 percent interest to pay for the construction. It would lease the facility from WIC at a rate of $13.25 per square foot, or $5,100, a month. The space to be occupied by the agency is now used by Environmental Spill Products, which would relocate to Building A; the agency’s abandoned office space would be leased by WIC to a new tenant.

“The reason we’re trying to approve this project quickly is to get this started in the early spring,” said Donald C. Alexander, agency CEO. “We think we’re going to get a better response from contractors” that are planning projects.

The JCLDC had explored a handful of options for its new headquarters before deciding to stay put on Starbuck Avenue. Last month, the Times learned it passed on a proposal by developers of the planned $12.8 million restoration of the Lincoln Building about relocating there.

The blueprint for the space calls for a spacious outdoor canopy outside the entrance that will lead to a common vestibule shared with Converse Laboratories, owned by David J. Converse, JCLDC board president. A larger waiting and reception area will flank the entrance, along with a work room for office machines and a break room for employees. A conference room of about 500 square feet and a smaller meeting room will line one wall of the space; the opposite wall will be flanked by offices with windows looking into a courtyard. Seven employees will have their own offices under the plan, with two extra offices available for future needs.

William J. Soluri, the industrial center’s site manager, said the lease agreement for the JCLDC is expected to be finalized in February by the WIC’s board of directors.

“We’re just awaiting the go-ahead for the lease plan and the floor plan for the project,” Mr. Soluri said. “We have always done the most we can to help out with the prospects of tenants here. We’re definitely supporting this project.”

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