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National Park Service OKs façade restoration, historic tax credits for downtown Whitney Lofts project

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The National Park Service (NPS) has approved plans to restore the original window façade at 321 S. Salina St., which will house part of the upcoming Whitney Lofts project.

NPS also awarded the redevelopment “vital” historic tax credits, “further advancing the resurgence of downtown Syracuse,” the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) announced Tuesday.

The properties at 321 and 323 S. Salina St. in Syracuse that a local group plans to redevelop into the Whitney Lofts (321 is on the left with the beige-colored upper exterior). The National Park Service (NPS) has approved plans to restore the original window façade at 321 S. Salina St. NPS also awarded the redevelopment “vital” historic tax credits, the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) announced Tuesday. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

The Democrat had pushed the NPS for both outcomes, his office added.

Schumer’s announcement follows his visit to the property last September.

The Democrat joined local developers and owners of 321-323 S. Salina St. to unveil plans for the Whitney Lofts project that will completely renovate the properties.

Developers on the $4.2 million project include Ryan Benz, Leigh Ann Boatman-Benz, Steve Case, and Shashank Bhatt.

It targets “two of Syracuse’s oldest and most blighted buildings,” Ryan Benz said in his remarks outside 321 S. Salina St. on Sept. 20, 2017.

Rich & Gardner Construction Company of Syracuse is the contractor on the project, while Dalpos Architects & Integrators, also of Syracuse, is the designer.

The scope of the work will include 16 new apartments on the upper floors and a brand new 5,500 square foot restaurant space and speakeasy on the ground floor.

“Evidence of Downtown Syracuse’s renaissance is everywhere – from the restoration of Hotel Syracuse and the completion of the connective corridor to the rapid development of Armory, Hanover, and Franklin Squares. The rehab of 321-323 S. Salina St. will be another shot in the arm to the downtown boom,” Schumer said in the news release. “I am elated that the National Park Service heeded my calls and recognized the Salina Street properties potential and eligibility. With the feds approving historic tax credits for the site, work can finally begin on restoring the original façade that maintains the building’s historic character and represents a time when downtown was the commercial core of the city, much like it is today. I will work in lock-step with local officials and stakeholders to see this project, which will bring more progress to downtown Syracuse, to completion.”

The building at 321 S. Salina St. previously housed the Park Brannock Shoe Store, where the Brannock device, which is used to measure shoe size, was first invented and manufactured, Schumer’s office said.

 

Need for NPS approval

The building’s renovation work was eligible for historic tax credits because it is part of the South Salina Downtown Corridor, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Before it could award federal credits for the project, the NPS needed to decide whether the building’s original façade from the 1930s with windows “properly represented the building’s period of historic significance,” Schumer’s office said.

It was a “critical” step because historic preservation tax credits can only be awarded to projects that maintain a property’s “period of significance.”

Schumer argued that not only did the 1930s facade maintain the historic character of the building, but it was also “vital” to the developers’ plans for rehabilitating the property. NPS agreed with its approval of the plan and the tax credits.

 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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