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History-rich Watertown properties change hands for modernization

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WATERTOWN — A historic Clinton Street apartment building, the city’s first post office and a Public Square office building have been sold.

Last week, Billy Caprara bought the Cleveland Building at 142 Arcade St. for $245,000 from 200 Washington Street Associates LLC.

Local real estate developer Jake Johnson recently purchased the Woodruff Building at 53 Public Square.

The Emma Flower Taylor Mansion, one of the city’s most glorious properties, at 241 Clinton St., also changed hands.

The sale of the three properties indicates an active local real estate market, city assessor Brian S. Phelps said.

“A lot of properties have been bought and sold, no question about it,” he said.

Mr. Caprara, who purchased the Cleveland Building under Jaeden Rose LLC, plans to modernize the office space inside the three-story building.

“It’s a beautiful building,” he said.

The building consists of 4,000 square feet of office space on the main floor and 14 additional offices on the second floor. He plans to renovate the third floor for apartments.

The Think Inside the Box, Escape Works occupies a large second-story ballroom last used by the Elks Club nearly 35 years ago.

The building’s most recent owners, 200 Washington Street Associates LLC, purchased the Cleveland Building from the city for $25,000 when it was in disrepair and there was talk of demolition. But the building was saved when those owners invested $275,000 to renovate it.

Mr. Caprara also likes that the Cleveland Building has an interesting past.

Built in 1908 from gray stone from Gouverneur, the statuesque three-story structure was originally a post office on Arsenal Street.

The structure was dismantled and moved, brick by brick, to Arcade Street, where it then housed the Elks Club until the fraternal organization moved to Bradley Street during the late 1980s.

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