Downtown ‘Riverwalk’ eyes February opening

Pictured above, the Riverwalk Apartments building at 155 W. First St., Oswego, as seen Wednesday afternoon. The $9 million project, which will house residential and commerical spaces, is shooting for a February 2021 opening, according to owner Ed Alberts. Above right, Josh Chavis and Sam Leonard work on the interior of the building in a portion that will soon be occupied by a pizza parlor — just one of a pair of eateries planned for the development. Riverwalk Apartments will have a total of 32 residential units, Alberts said, with 10 one-bedroom and 22 two-bedroom spaces. The project is one of many ongoing or completed projects downtown.

OSWEGO — One of Oswego’s largest building projects in recent years is reaching the final construction stages.

Riverwalk Apartments, located at 155 W. First St., will be completed in the next few months. Officials are estimating construction will be finished by the end of January and the building will open in February.

Breaking ground in August 2019, the $9 million project cost was offset in part by a $2 million grant from the state as part of the larger 2016 Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award, according to Riverwalk Apartments owner Ed Alberts.

“A project like this is not an easy undertaking, but the one thing that really got the project started and has been a catalyst for the project this entire time is how good it has been to work with the city,” Alberts said.

Once completed, Riverwalk will have a total of 32 apartments available for rent, plus two eateries. There will be 10 one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom apartments, a pizza eatery, and a bagel shop. According to Alberts, there will be “brand new” stainless steel appliances, high-end cabinetry and granite countertops throughout the apartments.

Officials say that materials, construction and services were obtained through local vendors and locations.

“Oswego Mechanical and Phoenix Electric have done a great job, just a very talented local pool of construction workers that have just done a fantastic job,” Alberts said. “They have spent the time and really owned this project.”

The main contractor for the construction is SJ Thomas Co. Inc. of Syracuse. Still left to be done in the building are the walls in some of the rooms, floors throughout the building and the two food locations.  

According to Riverwalk Apartments Operations Director Abby Weaver, the walls left to be completed will be done within two weeks after the electrical work and plumbing in the building is finished.

According to officials, rooms for rent throughout the building will vary in price. The rental price is influenced by views, location within the building, and other  features.

“(Prices) will depend on the number of bedrooms and whether you’re on the road side or river side,” Alberts said. “The river side is more expensive, and the higher you go up in the building, the better the view.”

Riverwalk will have two eateries available, one featuring New York-style bagels and another featuring New York-style pizza. Weaver said both eateries aim to be as authentic as possible to New York City.

Officials are working with two consultants from New York City to learn new processes or recipes. They are working with Scot Cosentino of Goodfellas Pizza School of New York and Beth George of BYOB Bagels.

“Having consultants will be helpful because they have experience developing recipes and processes. It’s important for them to teach us how to do it right,” Weaver said. “It’s crucial for consistency, quality and success.”

City officials are excited for the building to be completed and cannot wait to see the impact on the community.

“Our Riverwalk mixed-use project is a transformative project that will bring new life to the north side of state Route 104,” Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said. “The commercial space in the Riverwalk building will offer fun and unique options for residents to experience.”

Barlow explained how the Riverwalk Apartments project helps fill a void in that area of the city.

“While campaigning way back in 2015, downtown merchants referred to the north side of state Route 104 as ‘the dead zone’ as storefronts sat empty. There wasn't much attraction to that side of downtown,” Barlow said.

Ed Alberts thanked Mayor Barlow and the city for their commitment to the project and all the help they provided.

“The mayor and his ability to work with New York State has been extremely helpful,” Alberts said. “Not only the local government has been phenomenal, but also Pathfinder Bank, who has provided the financing for a large part of this project. This project would not happen unless these things came together.”

According to building officials, Riverside Apartments will start leasing its rooms in the coming weeks. Rooms will be priced between $1,500 and $2,500 per month.

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