Watkins Glen, a small village at the southern tip of Seneca Lake in upstate New York, is best known for its NASCAR motor speedway, pristine waterfalls and 40+ wineries. Recently, Watkins Glen attracted the attention of the development community, prompting major redevelopment of its lakefront, including infrastructure upgrades, new apartment and condominium projects and other improvements of several local public spaces. The plan is to use about $200 million of publicly funded projects to leverage private investment of $1 billion over a 10-year span.
Nestled in the center of the village, the former Watkins Glen Middle School has become a first-class example of redevelopment endeavors. A stately brick façade with large windows and a grand entryway, the building was constructed in 1930 and retains many original historic details, such as expansive hallways and solid wood doors. Each classroom and office differs slightly from the others with a unique floorplan and millwork; many of the original lockers still line the hallways. During the last 10 years, the town has been consolidating school buildings, making this architectural treasure available for redevelopment, a perfect fit with the overall development efforts underway in the village.