The Globe building on Court Street eyed for apartments, commercial space

Aug. 12—WATERTOWN — A Syracuse developer is interested in redeveloping The Globe building that has sat vacant for years.

Real estate developer Daniel Queri, owner of Queri Development Co., Syracuse, is eyeing the former minimall building for 13 or 14 market-rate apartments on the second floor and about 14,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

He's in the process of purchasing the 42,000-square-foot cavernous structure at 302 Court St., once the home of a minimall.

The City Council plans to talk about the project on Monday night when members consider helping the developer apply for a Restore NY grant.

"It's just a critical building to get redeveloped and bring back for the city of Watertown," Mr. Queri said Friday.

City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said the city can submit the building's redevelopment under the "special project category" for the Restore NY grant because "it would make a big impact on the centralized business district."

Mr. Queri is now "focused on doing diligence" on the building, making sure that it's in good condition for redevelopment and finding out more about its history, he said.

He would purchase the building from current owner Court Street Globe LLC, which is owned by local businessman Dick Alexander, who was involved in the local hotel industry.

According to documents submitted to the city, a new company, 5G Real Estate Group LLC would invest between $3 million and $3.25 million in the Globe project.

If all goes well, construction would begin in late 2023 or early 2024.

Mr. Queri was attracted to the building "because of its space," describing one side of the first floor as totally open for redevelopment.

The project would be coming at a time when Court Street is going through a $3.6 million public "streetscape" improvement project that began last month.

The Globe project would further the city's goal of creating a more walkable environment downtown and acting as a catalyst for increased commercial activity and the revitalization of downtown, city officials said.

The deteriorating building is the last structure in need of a total redevelopment along Court Street, Mr. Mix said. Another nearby Court Street building received a previous Restore NY grant and is being turned into a restaurant and upstairs apartments.

The Globe building is one of three projects that council members will consider for this year's $2 million Restore NY funding.

With the city able to apply for two projects, the Globe building is competing with developing a vacant building at 75-79 Public Square for a restaurant and the $27.8 million YMCA's downtown aquatics and community center, Mr. Mix said. The application is due Oct. 11.

But it's not the first redevelopment project in Watertown that Mr. Queri is involved in.

In 2021, he and a partner, David Wilkie, acquired a vacant building at 259 JB Wise Place. They are investing $2.1 million to convert the three-story, brick building for commercial use and upper-floor apartments.

Construction is underway to turn that building into 13 market-rate apartments on the upper two floors and 7,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. He projects completion of that project in early 2023.

Noting that project and others in Syracuse, Donald W. Rutherford, CEO of the Watertown Local Development Corporation, said that Mr. Queri and his partner have the experience to get the Globe redevelopment completed.

Mr. Queri was a partner in completing The Bradford, a 23-unit apartment project that opened in 2009 and a multi-unit apartment and 2,500-square-foot project in 2019.

Individually, he also developed and owns multiple projects in Syracuse. He also served as a consultant to develop space for a public broadcasting station, non-profits and literacy organizations, as well as for-profit businesses and a 200-seat performance space and apartments.

Over the years, the city has been concerned with the Globe building's worsening condition. Two years ago, it was condemned when some pieces of masonry fell off near the roof and had to be repaired.

For years, the Globe building housed a minimall and previously was the home of the Globe Store until its closing in 1973. Re-Sale America, a used-goods business, was the last occupant. In 2014, out of the blue, a California businessman donated the former department store to the Calvary Chapel North Country Church.

The church planned to redevelop it into its meeting space, a Christian bookstore, coffee house and cafe, radio station, a used clothing shop, educational conference rooms and several church ministries.

But those plans never materialized after the church was unsuccessful in obtaining any money from the city's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program.

In October 2020, Mr. Alexander bought the building from the church for $85,000, with no definitive plans to redevelop it.