Rochester developer proposes Watertown apartment expansion for a third time

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Maybe a third time will be a charm for a proposed expansion of the Autumn Ridge townhouse complex on Route 202.

After not following through on the project twice before, Rochester developer Morgan Management has once again proposed an expansion for the townhouse complex, this time with some changes.

Michael P. Montalto, an engineer with Costich Engineering, Rochester, was surprised when the developer contacted his firm with a “new variation” of the project last fall.

“It was definitely a surprise,” he said.

Mr. Montalto made a presentation on Wednesday to Watertown Town Planning Board members for an informal discussion to get a sense of what they thought about the project now two years later and what it would take to get approved this time.

The developer blamed a changing housing market, higher interest rates and increased construction costs for not proceeding with the 2021 proposal, he said.

There’s now a need for more housing in the region, the engineer added.

“It’ll be nice to see something happen there,” planning board co-chair Thomas E. Boxberger said.

Instead of 357 units in 55 buildings as was proposed two years ago, the expansion would include 430 apartments in 43 buildings. Each building would consist of 10 apartments, not the seven in the original plans.

The project needs to “yield more” in revenues because of the higher cost to build it than two years ago.

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