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SWBR Architects plans for Syracuse office expansion

Matthew Lupiani
Matthew Lupiani, branch manager of SWBR Architects’ Central New York office, with some of the firm’s design work displayed on the monitors. The architecture firm is gearing up for an expansion and renovation of the office located at 309 S. Franklin St. in Syracuse. Photo credit: Adam Rombel, BJNN

SYRACUSE — SWBR Architects, a Rochester–based firm, is gearing up for an expansion and renovation of its growing Central New York office.

The architecture firm expects to renew its office lease at 309 S. Franklin St. in Syracuse — on the second floor of the Labor Temple Building, above Pastabilities Restaurant — in May and embark on a renovation/expansion starting this fall, says Matthew Lupiani, branch manager of SWBR’s CNY office.

SWBR expects to add about 450-500 square feet of space to its 1,500-square-foot office and completely renovate the current space, as well as get some improvements to its common space, heating system, and signage. This will give the architecture firm more room for growth and will boost its collaboration space, he says.


The project is expected to cost $50,000 to $70,000 and take about six months to complete, Lupiani says. SWBR will fund most of the costs, with the building owner — My Grain, LLC — covering a portion of the improvements that involve common space.

SWBR plans to extend its lease another three years, with options to extend beyond that.

The architecture firm just added its sixth employee in the Central New York office. It had just two employees when Lupiani became branch manager about a year ago.

It’s also the most staff members that SWBR has ever had in its CNY office since opening it in Camillus in 2004. The firm moved the office to Armory Square in 2011. Its local full-time employee count has fluctuated between one and five over the years.

Lupiani says the office operates as if it has five to seven more staff members because of the support it gets from the Rochester headquarters. SWBR’s leadership team makes regular visits to Syracuse for design meetings with clients.

The three-year plan is to grow the Syracuse office to eight full-time employees and the 10-year plan calls for a staff of 12, he says.

So, the upcoming expansion and renovation are the “building blocks of a long-term expansion plan,” says Lupiani, who has worked for SWBR since 2011.

He says the goal is to get the Syracuse office to be “self-sustaining and have our own experts in all of the fields the firm covers.” That includes the K-12, college & university, housing, corporate/industrial/retail, and civic market segments. The firm would like to provide area clients with a “deeper bench of service.”

Recent projects that SWBR’s Central New York office has worked on include renovations of the Flint and Haven residence halls on the Syracuse University campus, as well as a project at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, says Lupiani.

Other past projects SWBR has tackled have included the Syracuse Rescue Mission’s Alice C. Barber Day Center, Loretto Health & Rehabilitation Center, the Freedom Commons Apartments for the Syracuse Housing Authority, and Cornell’s Comstock Hall and Bradfield Hall, per the firm’s website.

SWBR Architects was founded in 1969 and today employs nearly 90 people companywide. It has added about 15 employees in just the last year, according to Lisa Fingar, marketing manager.

The firm says it specializes in sustainability, education, housing, health, science and technology, corporate/industrial, and municipal design.

The architecture firm’s headquarters office is located at 387 E. Main St. in Rochester.

Lupiani says he is a Rochester native who has an associate degree from Alfred State College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tulane University. He landed in Syracuse partly because his wife, whom he met while attending Tulane, is a Syracuse native.



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