Developer Brian Murray buys Madison Barracks apartments

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SACKETS HARBOR — Developer Brian H. Murray has added the historic Madison Barracks to his growing portfolio of properties.

Mr. Murray, who owns Washington Street Properties, closed a deal earlier this week to acquire the historic housing complex from Vie Management, Miami, Fla., for $5 million.

The purchase includes all 126 units, including its signature “Old Stone Row” apartments, in the sprawling 113-acre site of a former Army post, active from 1800 to the 1940s.

The deal does not include acquiring any of the commercial buildings at the site, or nearby Fort Pike Commons and Creekside Apartments. The properties that he acquired comprise 16 limestone and brick buildings and 12 parcels, however.

Mr. Murray, who owns some prime downtown commercial property and several apartment complexes in Watertown, was enticed into acquiring the Barracks partly because of its historic significance, its interesting architectural features and importance to the village.

“I think this is an exciting project,” Mr. Murray said.

He plans a major renovation of the buildings, saying that many of the units were neglected and are badly in need of repairs. Roof repairs and replacements started before the deal was closed.

With approximately 45 now vacant, 20 units are unoccupied because the previous owners failed to fix them up, he said. Contractors are already on site working on them and they should be ready for occupancy in about two months. He hopes to start renting the other 25 units in the next two weeks.

“We see a lot of opportunity,” Mr. Murray said, adding that the improvements “differ from unit to unit.”

Windows will need to be replaced, woodwork restored and a lot of painting needs to be completed, he said.

In recent years, the housing complex — known as the Woodlark property — has been called Madison Off Post, but Mr. Murray will change the name back to Madison Barracks Apartments.

Vie Management acquired Madison Barracks in 2005 from Fort Pike Commons.

Sackets Harbor Mayor Molly Reilly looks forward to working with Mr. Murray — who lives just outside the village — as a partner, noting his reputation as a businessman and developer.

“I’m very excited to see all the improvements,” she said. “It’s wonderful news.”

In the last several years, Mr. Murray has acquired numerous properties in and around Watertown.

He already owns the Lincoln Building, the Solar Building, the Commerce Building at Public Square and Franklin Street, a series of storefronts along Franklin Street, the Top of the Square Plaza and a series of apartment complexes.

In July, he received more than $2 million in state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding to restore the Lincoln Building and his Franklin Street properties.

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