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Bringing Historic Old City Hall in Oswego Back to Life

Renovated building to feature apartments, a restaurant overlooking Oswego River and a brewery, says developer Ed Alberts

By Steve Yablonski

Ed Alberts

Q: Why did you decide to take on the Old City Hall project?

A: It has been on and off the market for years. We reached out to [former owner] Larry [Klotzko] last spring. I think it was April 1 we had the contract — April Fools Day. We closed at the end of June or the end of July. We’ve got architects who’ve completed plans just recently.

Q: What’s the next step?

A: We are going to go before Planning and Zoning in March. Then, later on, this spring or early summer, we’ll start construction. That’s the goal.

Q: What plans do you have for the building?

A: It is going to be eight apartments upstairs. We will have a restaurant on the first floor, with a balcony that overlooks the river. Down in the basement, we are going to have a brewery and a small events center. There will also be a spot where you can walk out on the back patio during the summer and enjoy a beer.

Q: Is the building in good shape structurally?

A: It is. There is a large building and two smaller buildings. The two smaller buildings weren’t in good shape. We had some engineers come through. It just got to the point where the cost of saving those two buildings, it was just cost prohibitive. So we ended up — we’re going to work on the large building. The structure of that large building is excellent. The architects came through and were very impressed.

Q: Because of its historic nature, are there special ways you need to proceed?

A: We are very cognizant of the historical nature of the building. We are working with New York’s State Historic Preservation Office and also the local historical association — they have been great. They sent us a plethora of material on that particular building and the history behind it. We are working with those organizations to ensure that we maintain the look as closely to what it was when it was originally built in the late 1800s.

Q: Do you have an overall cost for the project?

A: We think that the entire project, including purchase of the building, will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million.

Q: What’s next for you, do you have other projects in mind?

A: Absolutely. But I can’t tell reporters —they might tell other people (laughs). Then, I’d lose the opportunity!

Q: Is this your favorite project?

A: It is a fun project. I don’t pick favorites — but this is definitely a fun project. I think we can make something great out of the building. I think it will draw people to downtown; it’ll draw people to Oswego, Oswego County. I feel very good about it