Auburn family ready to start work that will ‘transform’ John Street, Arterial

More than six years after securing a tax break from the city to rehabilitate 20 downtown properties, an Auburn developer is close to embarking on the final stage of an expanded overall project.

JBJ Real Property, run by the Bartolotta family, is planning a $5 million project to renovate seven houses on John Street and build a number of new dwellings along Arterial East to develop one big apartment complex on the outskirts of the city’s downtown district. The family’s redevelopment project was included in the city of Auburn’s winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative application and is vying for part of the $10 million grant from the state. The project requested $1.1 million in the original application, but how much funding the project will receive — if it is chosen to be funded at all — will ultimately be decided by the Department of State in the spring.

During an interview with The Citizen in late September, Joe Bartolotta of JBJ said the project will be completed in two phases and the first phase — the rehabilitation of preexisting homes on John Street — will move forward with or without DRI funding and will hopefully begin before the end of the year.

“We’ve wrestled with the way that entry point to the downtown business district looks and it’s kind of old and in need of an update,” Joe Bartolotta said. “We feel that the more residential occupancy in downtown, the more support that will lend to the businesses downtown and that will help to continue to spur the momentum of economic development that’s recently been enjoyed downtown.”

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