Before Salmon Run Mall was built in 1986, people shopped at the several shops in the same downtown building that housed the F.W. Woolworth store and is the current home to Stream International.
Now local businessman and real estate investor Brian H. Murray owns the bottom half of the building known as City Center Plaza after purchasing the 41,000 square feet of space for $2.1 million in September from GEJ Watertown LLC, a Tarrytown company that has owned the 3.69-acre site since 1994.
Mr. Murray plans to complete some minor renovations, including a better entrance from the Court Street side and a new way to get inside from Arsenal Street, before finding either retail or office tenants.
On Thursday, he gave a tour of the vacant space, a former mini-mall, to city officials and members of Advantage Watertown, a group of business and civic leaders.
Depending on what kinds of businesses lease the space, several former retail stores and seven classrooms once leased by Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services that made up a mini-mall could be carved up into one or 20 tenants, Mr. Murray said.
The space sits underneath the Stream International call center. A strip plaza visible from both Court and Arsenal streets contains a Family Dollar store, Carthage Savings & Loan, a Papa Johns Pizza shop, a BeyondNerd electronics store and a New York Fashions clothing store.
Walking through the former mini-mall, the group mapped out the locations of shops that were there until moving out to Salmon Run Mall or closing. They included a hobby shop, a music and record store, a Thom McAn shoe store, a Barbara Moss womens shop, a jewelry store and the Candy Kitchen, a kiosk that sold candy.
It was the first mall, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said.
Kenneth A. Mix, the citys planning and community development coordinator, recalled shopping for jeans and vinyl records at stores that were inside the mini-mall.
It was very, very busy, he said.
The top story and the parking lots are owned by the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. The agency leases space to Stream. When Stream moved there in 2002, the building and property were subdivided.
Mr. Murray credited JCIDA officials for helping him with his plans to make the improvements to the entrances.