Boom town: Downtown Watertown on verge of a renaissance
Kenneth A. Mix, Watertowns planning and community development coordinator, recalled how an expansion of Fort Drum sparked a building boom in and around the city during the mid- to late 1980s.
Some 600 rental units were added citywide. Several fast-food restaurants and other national retailers sprang up along Arsenal Street. The Salmon Run Mall was built outside of the city.
The development in the late 1980s was a very big deal because the local economy was depressed, and that amount of development hadnt been seen in decades, if ever, said Mr. Mix, who began working for the city as assistant planner in 1986.
Nearly 30 years later, Watertown is on the verge of another construction boom, this time in the central business district.
■ The former mall underneath the Stream Global Services call center on Arsenal Street was brought back to life this fall with an extensive renovation and a series of businesses filling its once-idle storefronts. The mini-mall project was the first major downtown development to be completed. The mini-mall, a connected strip mall and a smaller adjacent plaza all are now known as the Top of the Square.
Austin tech firm Mozido lands $30 million for growth
Dec. 06 -- Austin -based Mozido said it has received the first $30 million of a committed $70 million round of financing to launch its mobile services around the world. The company, which moved its headquarters from Dallas to Austin in January, plans to offer mobile commerce and payment services to the millions of consumers who don't have established banking relationships. Mozido said the $70 million round of financing was led by a Boston -based investment adviser with more than $500 billion in assets under management. It did not name the firm. Founded in 2007, Mozido aims to become a "white label," cloud-computing-based enabler of mobile commerce for consumers in Latin America , the Caribbean , the Middle East and Southeast Asia . By "white label," the company means it will provide the system for mobile payments and mobile commerce and let it partners and customers provide branded service to consumers. "We have built the systems and tested them and now we're ready to break into a lot of different countries," said Mike Love , Mozido chief operating officer. The market Mozido is targeting is enormous, but still in its infancy. Mozido estimates the world has more than 2 billion cellphone users who don't have bank accounts. It contends that countries such as Mexico , India and Russia have hundreds of millions of phone users who could be attracted to mobile payments and services. Last month, Mozido announced an investment of an undisclosed amount by businessman Adolfo Salume to implement its mobile payment system in El Salvador . Offerings will include a payment system that lets small merchants make mobile payments to suppliers and banking services for consumers. Mozido chose Austin for its headquarters because the talent base here that is familiar with software for cloud computing and with mobile payments, Love said. The company has 125 employees and is hiring engineers here, Love said. Mozido said the new investment brings the company's total funding to more than $100 million . Other investors include Brentwood Investments, TomorrowVentures and Atlanticus Corp. The company's largest private investor is Michael Liberty , a Maine -based real estate developer and entrepreneur who founded the company. ___ (c)2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com Distributed by MCT Information Services