What is the value of redevelopment? We think redeveloping and restoring historic, unused buildings can have a great positive impact on a community. In the case of the long-vacant Schempf Building at 207 and 209 Main St., restoring the building to its original grandeur can bring economic vitality to downtown Watertown…
What is the value of redevelopment? We think redeveloping and restoring historic, unused buildings can have a great positive impact on a community. In the case of the long-vacant Schempf Building at 207 and 209 Main St., restoring the building to its original grandeur can bring economic vitality to downtown Watertown.
The Schempf Building has not been fully occupied since Kline’s Department Store closed in 1993. Its closure not only reduced foot traffic to adjacent businesses, but it also negatively affected revenue to the downtown business district as a whole.
In July of this year, the Schempf Building was purchased by William Lindborg of Los Angeles, Calif. Lindborg, who has historic ties to the building, has made it his responsibility to respectfully restore the historic integrity of the building and recreate a functional, operating building that supports the Watertown Main Street Business District and the Main Street Program.
Work has not yet begun on the building, but plans are in the works and potential tenants have already made inquiries about space in the building. Without a doubt, this project is generating interest in many. Once work is completed, the building will be comprised of two upper floors of office space, with retail and a restaurant occupying the street level.
The restored building will be a central hub of our downtown, bringing with it increased foot traffic. It will also likely be a catalyst for other downtown building owners to renovate and restore their buildings. In particular, the hope is that it generates interest in developing residential spaces in upper levels of other downtown buildings, which will provide a greater return on investment for building owners.
“Our hope is that it will create more vibrancy and activity in our downtown,” said Susan Dascenzo, executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce. “People who live and work downtown will also shop and socialize downtown.”
How will the redevelopment and restoration of the Schempf Building benefit Watertown? There are several ways. Taxes, for one. Revitalization of the Schempf Building is central to the downtown vision because it will assist the city of Watertown in improving and maintaining the tax base in downtown. In addition, the project may encourage businesses to expand or relocate to the downtown, which will encourage additional employment in the downtown.
There is much to be excited about in Watertown. The revitalization of the Schempf Building is a great example. In restoring it, we will be restoring history and pride in the community of Watertown.