May 2016 Cover Story: Economic Development

Securing a stronger future for the north country

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Despite workforce challenges, regional economic development continues to power positive growth across Northern New York

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A rural and historically challenged region where economic development was often stagnant, the Great Recession dealt a significant blow to New York’s north country as its counties saw a spike in unemployment and manufacturing jobs disappear, including about 600 from Jefferson County alone. [Read more…]

January 2016 Cover Story: Economic Outlook

Slow and steady
growth wins the race

OUTLOOK 2016 / MILITARY: A soldier salutes during the presentation of the colors last year in an activation ceremony for the 10th Mountain Division Divarty. As the post avoided major cuts in 2015, Fort Drum officials remain positive that 2016 will be a healthy year for one of region’s top economic sectors. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

OUTLOOK 2016 / MILITARY: A soldier salutes during the presentation of the colors last year in an activation ceremony for the 10th Mountain Division Divarty. As the post avoided major cuts in 2015, Fort Drum officials remain positive that 2016 will be a healthy year for one of region’s top economic sectors. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Despite a few challenges, experts say the region is on pace for a positive year in 2016. Six sectors of the north country’s economy are ripe with opportunities for growth.

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A grim fate cast a pall over the north country in early 2015, as federal budget sequestration threatened to cut up to 16,000 personnel from Fort Drum in an effort by the army to trim its active duty force from 490,000 to 450,000 by fiscal year 2017. [Read more…]

Developers say projects on track after Army spares Fort Drum major reductions

After learning that only 28 Fort Drum soldiers will be cut by the Army, developers planning projects in the Watertown area breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday. [Read more…]

With Autumn Ridge townhouses built, work shifts to 359-unit complex

WATERTOWN — Construction of the final townhouse building at the 394-unit Preserve at Autumn Ridge complex off County Route 202 was finished in April, and now workers have begun clearing trees for a sister development on the other side of the road. [Read more…]

May 2015 Real Estate Feature Story: Q1

Home sales, prices rise in Q1 data

By Ted Booker, NNY Business

The prospect of troop cuts at Fort Drum hasn’t slowed the housing market in Jefferson County.

The number of homes sold in the county during the first quarter of 2015 is up from the same period last year by 17 units, or 13 percent, from 134 to 151, according to the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors. The median home price, meanwhile, climbed over the same period by $16,600, or 13 percent, from $129,800 to $146,400.

“We still had a long winter this year and the snow stuck around, but we didn’t have it coming down every other day like last year, when sales were down,” said Lance M. Evans, executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis board. “We’re selling more homes at better prices … And there is still a core group in the military who are going to be buying homes wherever they go, instead of renting.”

Of the 151 homes sold in the county during the first quarter, 45 units, or 30 percent, were purchased by military members who secured loans from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Mr. Evans said. During the first quarter of 2014, 49 homes, or 37 percent, were bought with VA loans. And of the 910 homes sold in 2014, 293 units, or 32 percent, were bought with VA loans.

Homes bought with VA loans “have been holding at around 30 percent,” Mr. Evans said. “Barring major troop cuts, I think it’s going to continue to be a steady portion of our sales.”

Mr. Evans added that while the county’s median home prices fell in 2014 from 2013, he believes that strong first-quarter numbers this year indicate homes will likely continue to be sold at higher prices than last year. In 2014, he said, real estate brokers sold houses at lower prices largely because of the greater availability of new rental housing countywide. But the majority of the units are now occupied at some new rental complexes in the Watertown area, he said, such as the Beaver Meadow Apartments complex on Towne Center Drive and the 394-unit Preserve at Autumn Ridge complex on County Route 202.

“A lot of people moved in when units were brand new, but that has changed,” he said.

Even so, more rental units are slated to be built soon in the Watertown area.

The developer of the Autumn Ridge complex, Morgan Management of Pittsford, plans to start building a 359-unit townhouse complex this year to the east of County Route 202. And the developer of the Beaver Meadows complex, COR Development of Fayetteville, will start construction this year on an apartment complex at the former Mercy Hospital site with 160 to 200 rental units, along with retail and office space. The project is expected to be finished in 2016.

In Lewis County, statistics from the Jefferson-Lewis board show the median home sale price during the first quarter climbed from the same period last year by $18,500, or 19 percent, from $98,500 to $117,000. The number of homes sold over the same period decreased by 13 units, or 36 percent, from 36 to 23.

During the first quarter in St. Lawrence County, the median home sale price increased from the same period last year by $7,500, or 11 percent, from $68,000 to $75,500, according to the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. The number of homes sold over the same period increased by 8 units, or 11 percent, from 73 to 81.

The Jefferson-Lewis board has 333 Realtor members and the St. Lawrence board has 185, Mr. Evans said.

Ted Booker is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact him at tbooker@wdt.net or 661-2371.

May 2015 Cover Story: Growth and Revitalization

Rising from the past for a better future

Mark Pelletier, project manager for COR Development, Fayetteville, stands atop the rubble of the former Mercy Hospital site. COR began an aggressive $65 million to $75 million redevelopment of the site in 2014. The project is on track for completion in 2016 or 2017. The finished product is slated to have 40,000 square feet of retail and office space and 160 to 200 apartments. COR plans to build the apartments first, with the commercial space to follow. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Mark Pelletier, project manager for COR Development, Fayetteville, stands atop the rubble of the former Mercy Hospital site. COR began an aggressive $65 million to $75 million redevelopment of the site in 2014. The project is on track for completion in 2016 or 2017. The finished product is slated to have 40,000 square feet of retail and office space and 160 to 200 apartments. COR plans to build the apartments first, with the commercial space to follow. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

From Massena to Watertown, Ogdensburg to Lowville, efforts to revitalize urban centers take hold as public and private investment tops $250 million. Those involved say the north country is finally on a much brighter path since the 2008 recession battered the region.

By Lorna Oppedisano, NNY Business [Read more…]

Developer plans 359 more townhouses with connector road to Watertown mall

Morgan Management, Pittsford, plans to build a 359-unit townhouse complex to the east of County Route 202 including a connector road to the Salmon Run Mall Loop, according to a site plan submitted this month to the Town Planning Board.

Morgan Management, Pittsford, plans to build a 359-unit townhouse complex to the east of County Route 202 including a connector road to the Salmon Run Mall Loop, according to a site plan submitted this month to the Town Planning Board.

Morgan Management plans to build a 359-unit townhouse complex to the east of County Route 202 that would include a connector to Salmon Run Mall built by the town, according to a site plan submitted to the Planning Board.

The Pittsford developer plans to start construction in November at the 54.6-acre site north of Walmart Supercenter. The project comes as the developer works toward finishing construction of its 394-unit Preserve at Autumn Ridge complex, on the other side of the road, by next summer.

Blueprints designed by Costich Engineering, Rochester, indicate a project including 42 seven-unit and 13 five-unit townhouse buildings, along with a 5,500-square-foot clubhouse, outdoor pool and playground. The two- and-three bedroom rental units will have the same layout as those being built in the Autumn Ridge complex. [Read more…]

Townhouse apartments on County Route 202 to be ready for families in May

A worker attaches vinyl siding to the upper level of a building at the Morgan Management construction site, the Preserve at Autumn Ridge, off County Route 202 in the town of Watertown. Photo by Amanda Morrison/Watertown Daily Times.

Workers are busy finishing a clubhouse and four townhouse apartment buildings off County Route 202 in the town of Watertown, which should be ready in May and June for families to move in.

On Thursday, construction workers from General Interiors of Liverpool were busy finishing framework on three buildings and starting work on the fourth at the subdivision, being developed by Morgan Management of Pittsford. They have worked throughout the winter to make progress at the 68.8-acre site, where 60 buildings with a total of 394 two- and three-bedroom apartments will be built over the next four years. [Read more…]

Apartments’ developer buys property on Route 3

The developer of a 394-unit apartment complex on County Route 202 in the town of Watertown has acquired road frontage on Route 3.

Tnara Route 3 LLC, Pittsford, an affiliate of Morgan Management LLC, has bought 2.3 acres of property from Thirty One Development LLC, Alexandria Bay, for $400,000, according to Jefferson County property records. [Read more…]