2013 Downtown Living Tour Stops
Tour Headquarters & Tour Stop 1: Pike Block
Corner of Salina and Fayette Streets
This project embraces four historic buildings at the northwest corner of South Salina and Fayette Streets. The Witherill, Wilson and Bond buildings are contributing members of the South Salina Street Downtown Historic District. The Chamberlin Building is a contributing member of the adjacent Armory Square Historic District.
Located at 300-304 South Salina Street, the Witherill Building is a four-story, brick Italianate block designed by architect G.P. Randall for Henry Pike in 1855. The building housed a number of businesses at the street level with offices and classrooms above. The Syracuse High School occupied rooms on the upper floors from 1856-1861 and Bryant & Stratton Business College occupied the upper floors in the 1870's and 1880's. In 1905, Liston A. Witherill leased the block and began improvements on the stores at 300 and 304 South Salina Street. The building was modernized in the mid-20th century with major renovations in 1959, 1962 and 1964.
The five-story brick Chamberlin Building, at 113-117 West Fayette Street, was built in 1895 and named for W.H.H. Chamberlin who operated a stationery store and lithographing business in the building. The heavy timber frame building was constructed inside the load bearing brick party walls of an earlier three-story structure. The building was purchased by L.A. Witherill, Inc. in 1937 and incorporated into the expanding Witherill Department Store.
The Wilson Building at 306-312 South Salina Street was designed by Charles Erastus Colton, a prominent Syracuse architect, who also designed the Syracuse City Hall. Constructed in 1898 in the Beaux Arts style, it replaced an earlier building that was destroyed by fire in 1897. The seven-story brick building has a cast-stone façade. The storefronts were updated in the 1940's and again in the 1970's. A later remodeling involved the storefronts up to and including the second story sill course. The entry to the stair lobby, at the north end of the façade, retained its original configuration.
The Bond Building at 320-324 South Salina Street is the smallest of the four buildings. It is a three-story wood frame; double commercial building with a flat roof. The building suffered two devastating fires, one in 1892 and the other in 1897. The second fire caused the collapse of a portion of the third floor into the offices below necessitating the removal of the third floor and a portion of the second floor in the middle of the building. Today only the front third of the building is a full three stories above the basement. In 1920, architect Charles D. Wilsey was hired to renovate the building for the L. Vinney Company. The plans called for two stores to be opened to create one large commercial space and for an entirely new front with copper trimmings and plate glass. The first floor storefront has been modernized since the 1920's renovation.
The Pike Block project initially began in December 2005 when Adapt CNY, Inc. a non-profit entity spun out of the 40 Below organization, secured control of the Wilson Building from the City of Syracuse. Adapt CNY raised more than $1 million in grants and private donations and helped lay the groundwork for redevelopment on the 300 block. Recognizing the role strong urban cores play in producing economically vibrant regions, the former Metropolitan Development Association (MDA, now CenterState CEO), with the direction of the region's business leadership, identified the need to take on this transformative project. The MDA sought to reestablish Syracuse's main street by acquiring three of the Pike Block buildings in August 2007, packaging the properties, negotiating their redevelopment as one project, facilitating financing, and finding the strongest development team to move the project forward. VIP Structures was chosen through a competitive request for proposals process. A committee of community and business leaders, with backgrounds in finance, construction, and real estate, reviewed the proposals, selecting VIP in summer 2009. Since that time, VIP Structures has been dedicated to executing a vision for the project that will have a measurable impact on the transformation of their hometown.
VIP is at work on a mix of 78 residential units and 25,000 square feet of retail space in the four buildings, which are being integrated through selective demolition and renovation. Residents will have access to a secure ground level courtyard, as well as a rooftop deck. Units will feature hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and same-floor laundry facilities. Pike Block will contain a pedestrian walkthrough to create a connection between Armory Square and Salina Street that will be open for public use. Tim Horton's is the first retail tenant to announce plans to locate in the building. CenterState CEO and the Downtown Committee will also locate in the building later this year.
Tour Stop 2: Dey's Plaza
401 South Salina Street
The Dey Brothers Building is actually five interconnected buildings constructed and connected over a 76-year period to house the thriving Dey Brothers & Company Department Store. The original Dey Brothers Department Store building was constructed in 1893 on the southeast corner of South Salina and East Jefferson Streets. It was designed by Archimedes Russell in the Italian Renaissance Revival style using post and beam construction.
When the department store opened on May 2, 1894, the first four stories contained the sales floors and company offices. The fifth floor was the stock room serving the entire store. Much of the sixth floor housed the factory of the Deys Patents Company, which manufactured timekeeping equipment. As the department store outgrew its confines of the original building, the firm of Archimedes Russell was again retained to design an addition to the building. A residential parcel on Warren Street, at the rear of the store, was purchased and the house was demolished to make room for an eight story addition to the department store.
Since then, the building has undergone extensive alterations, including the addition of the final, fifth building of the amalgamation, called the Caget Building, constructed in 1968 on the southwest corner of East Jefferson and Warren Streets and abutting both the original Dey Brothers Building and the Warren Street addition. The interiors of the buildings have undergone numerous renovations as they were joined to become one large department store. Further renovations were made in 1994-1995, after the store's demise, when the building was converted into a modern office building, known as Dey's Centennial Plaza.
In October 2010, Paramount Realty Group began construction to turn the upper floors of the building into high-end residential units and to renovate the ground floor retail space. Renovation was completed in March 2011, resulting in 45 one- and two-bedroom units and new ground floor tenants including Cafe Kubal, BTI The Travel Consultants, Holt Architects and, soon, Gannon's Isle Ice Cream. The apartments range in size from 660 square feet to 2,350 square feet and rent between $800 to $1,800 per month plus electric (the cost of gas is included in the rent). The apartments are luxuriously appointed with Brazilian hardwoods, granite countertops in kitchens along with white Carrara marble tiles and countertops in the baths. Each apartment has a washer/dryer and a full complement of kitchen appliances including a wine cooler in the majority of the apartments. There is security personnel located in the lobby twenty-four hours a day and parking is available in the lower level of the building for an additional charge.
Unit 513 is a 1,140 square feet, one bedroom, one-and-a-half bath apartment and features Brazilian hardwood floors, Italian marble and granite countertops.
Tour Stop 3: White Memorial Building
100 East Washington Street
Located on the southeast corner of Salina and Washington Streets, the White Memorial Building occupies one of the most prominent sites in Downtown Syracuse. It was built in 1876 and designed by Joseph Lyman Silsbee (who also designed the Syracuse Savings Building located in Clinton Square). The five-story High Victorian Gothic style building was constructed by the sons of Hamilton and Horace White. The building is particularly noteworthy for its elaborately sculpted entry, complete with gargoyles; the iron cresting atop its slate roof; the pointed arches over the third story windows; and the decorative bands of black and sand colored brick contrasting with the dark red brick background. The interior is elaborately finished, with a grand vestibule on the first floor, covered with English tile. The White Memorial Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1877, a granite plaque was installed over the Washington Street (north) entrance. This tablet has an inscription which reads: "AS A MEMORIAL OF/HORACE AND HAMILTON WHITE/THIS BULDING/REPLACING ONE IN WHICH THEY WERE ENGAGED IN BUSINESS FOR MANY YEARS/IS ERECTED BY THEIR CHILDREN." This plaque weighs over 1,600 pounds.
For almost a century, H. J. Howe Jewelers occupied the front corner of the building. Today, retail tenants include Wise Guys Comedy Club + Bistro and Roji Tea Lounge.
The fourth and fifth floors of the building are currently being renovated into 12 luxury apartments by JF Real Estate. One- and two-bedroom units will range in size from 600 to 1,300 square feet. Each unit will feature exposed brick, hardwood floors, granite countertops, cherry cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and a washer and dryer in each unit. Some units will also feature fireplaces. The apartments are locally owned and managed by Salina White Associates, LLC and Partnership Properties, respectfullly. The project is scheduled for completion in early summer 2013.
Tour Stop 4a: Merchants Commons
220 South Warren Street
Merchants Commons is made up of two buildings: the former Merchants Bank Building and the Snow Building. The Snow Building on Warren Street is an eight-story romanesque revival building, one hundred-two feet high, which was designed by Archimedes Russell in 1888. It was Syracuse's first skyscraper, built for C.W. Snow, a wholesale druggist. Besides being the tallest building, the Snow Building was also to be the best fireproof structure in the city. Having served as Fire Commissioner from 1884-85 and as President of the Board of Fire Commissioners for one year, Russell was now able to give practical expression to his concern for safer buildings. In 1911, Archimedes Russell and Melvin King added two stories to the existing eight of the Snow Building in order to conform to the height of the adjoining University Block, which had replaced the old Remington Block in 1898.
Washington Street Partners took control of the building in 2011 and is now at work on Merchants Commons, a modern, urban mixed-use project featuring 66 residential apartment units, more than 25,000 square feet of commercial space and on-site, secured, covered parking for tenants. The building is in the process of being completely renovated and upgraded with modern, high-end finishes while still maintaining much of the character of the original structures. Merchants Commons includes several unique amenities that the developers call "Merchants Commons Club Level Living," which are similar to club-level amenities offered at hotels in other cities. The amenities include a fitness center, a private club/entertainment room, a rooftop deck and secure, covered parking. Additionally, units will be designed with high-end appliances and finishes in an effort to complement a more upscale lifestyle. The project is scheduled to be completed in summer 2013.
Tour Stop 4b: Syracuse Media Group
Within Merchants Commons
Syracuse Media Group was formed earlier this year to take over news reporting, advertising and marketing for Syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Merchants Commons will house the company's new headquarters, centrally located in Downtown Syracuse. Syracuse Media Group will move about 150 news reporters, advertising salespeople and other employees into the two-story, 28,000-square-foot office in Spring 2013.
The new office is part of a restructuring of The Post-Standard into a 24-hour digital news operation that will also print a newspaper. The glass-lined, street level space was designed to be inviting to visitors. Inside, the office will have an open appearance, with a variety of work areas but no assigned desks or cubicles and no place to store documents or display personal belongings. Employees will carry their smart phones and laptop computers with them and post news stories, videos and photographs to syracuse.com on-the-go. Syracuse Media Group's goal is to reform its work environment from a cubicle culture into a mobile culture. Its new business model embraces a forward-thinking news production with a digital focus.
A sister company, Advance Central Services, will remain in The Post-Standard building at Clinton Square to run the press and provide support services such as accounting, customer service and human resources.
Get a sneak preview of the bold, new Merchants Commons offices of Syracuse Media Group and its flagship brands, Syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. The still-evolving space promises to be innovative and state of the art - an apt reflection of Central New York's newest and largest news, information and advertising company. When you visit, be sure to enter a drawing to win an iPad, and another to win a downtown experience package.
Tour Stop 5: Vengeance Lofts
201 West Willow Street
The Halloran Building is a three-story brick building built in 1894. The building began its life as a horse and buggy carriage sales and repair shop. The upper floors of the building originally served as a repair area for carriages. The brick facade and windows were covered in corrugated steel in the 1970's.
In 2006, Vengeance Lofts LLC purchased the building and began renovations to both the exterior and interior of the building. The corrugated steel was removed from the facade, the windows were replaced to match the historic detail of the building and the brick was repointed and painted. The vacant second and third floors were renovated into two loft-style apartments that were completed in 2007. Each unit is approximately 2,200 square feet with exposed brick in the living areas, exposed ductwork throughout and 13-foot ceilings. Each unit also has two indoor parking spaces and access to a rooftop deck. Apartment 1 is the official unit for this Downtown Living Tour stop and features two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
Tour Stop 6: Inns At Armory Square
300 West Fayette Street
Conveniently located in the Armory Square neighborhood of Downtown Syracuse, the Inns at Armory Square is a uniquely designed hotel that combines two superb Marriott brands, Courtyard and Residence Inn. The hotel offers 180 guestrooms and suites with shared amenities including professional meeting and recreational facilities, services and amenities intended to help guests be productive and feel at home. Guests can enjoy onsite dining at The Bistro restaurant and two full service bars, serving breakfast, dinner and beverage options including Starbucks coffee. Guests can walk to dozens of restaurants, shops and the popular arts and entertainment district.
The Inns at Armory Square continues the wave of development in Downtown Syracuse and is being developed by RHS Holdings, LLC/Inns at Armory Square, LLC.
The hotel will put Downtown Syracuse's revitalization center stage to incoming visitors who stay at the Inns at Armory Square, while having a positive impact on tourism in the area. According to the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, business and leisure travelers to Syracuse make a substantial economic contribution during their stay. Located within the vibrant Armory Square historic district, travelers will have numerous shopping, dining and cultural options within a short walk of the hotel. With an average of 90,000 guests staying at the hotel each year, it is estimated they will spend in excess of $18 million a year, locally.
The Inns at Armory Square is the first new construction cobranded Courtyard - Residence Inn Marriott hotel in the Northeast. The $30 million project will generate 200 local construction jobs and 125 new full and part-time jobs when the hotel opens in summer 2013.
Tour Stop 7: Jefferson Clinton Commons
500 South Clinton Street
Jefferson Clinton Commons is a mixed-use project completed in 2009 and is LEED-Certified, utilizing environmentally-responsible, "green" building methods and ideologies. Located in Armory Square, this project is perfectly positioned for both residents and businesses that wish to take advantage of the modern amenities of new construction (including the green initiatives) and also reside in the center of Syracuse's most interesting and progressive downtown district.
Jefferson Clinton Commons is comprised of two floors of office space; 18 residential condominium units on the third and fourth floors; and surface and garage parking for 280 cars. The property is located on the corner of West Jefferson and South Clinton Streets, across from the Jefferson Clinton Hotel, a property Washington St. Partners, Inc. redeveloped several years ago. Because of this unique partnership with the hotel, Jefferson Clinton Commons is able to offer a concierge package to both residents and commercial tenants that includes amenities such as cleaning services, dry cleaning, meal order and delivery, restaurant reservations, and more.
Most unique to the Jefferson Clinton Commons project is the savings it offers to both residents and businesses alike. As an environmentally-responsible, LEED-certified project, the building construction incorporates a super high-efficiency HVAC system, enhanced insulation, high efficiency fixtures and sustainable products, providing considerable energy savings for both homeowners and tenants. For condominium owners, the project's location in the NYS Empire Zone offers a 10-year real estate tax abatement-lowering the property taxes to just $300+/- annually.
Unit 406 is a 1,700 square foot condo. The floor plan features a central open space which includes a kitchen with a food-preparation island that looks out onto the adjoining dining and living rooms. The kitchen is professional-grade with Viking appliances, granite countertops and a two-inch tile backsplash in a three-dimensional pattern. The living room boasts a beautiful ‘wall of windows,' which overlooks Jefferson Street and leads out onto a full balcony that accommodates a breakfast set for four and large outdoor urns. The unit also includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms with Kohler fixtures and a utility room that houses the washer and dryer and contains a custom designed storage unit. The walls are varying neutral earth tones with exposed steel beams, while the floors are a combination of concrete, bamboo and tile.
Tour Stop 8: Loew's Landmark Suites
108 West Jefferson Street
The Loew's Landmark Building was designed by renowned architect Thomas Lamb as one of a series of "Beaux Art Entertainment Palaces" built by the Loews family, which coupled a prominent cinema theater with an office building. Completed in 1928, the office building consisted of eight stories with approximately 70,000 square feet, including 10,000 square feet of retail space wrapping around both the office building and the theater.
Eventually, the property was abandoned and scheduled for demolition. In 1977, however, the property was spared from the wrecking ball, and the office building and the theater were legally and mechanically separated.
The property was purchased in 2000 by Robert Doucette and Richard deVito with the intention of redeveloping a portion of the building into 15 residential units on the sixth and seventh floors. Their open design and high quality finishes and fixtures were a great success from the first day the units went on the rental market. The owners developed an additional nine units on the eighth floor in 2006 and all units are now offered as condominiums.
Each unit boasts hardwood floors in the living, dining, and kitchen areas, with carpeting in the bedrooms and enclosed dens. All the units have stainless steel kitchen appliances and washers and dryers. The units all have unique layouts and views of the city.
Unit 804 is a 950 square foot condominium located on the top floor. This is a one-bedroom, one-bath unit with a den/study. The condo is well-appointed with hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. There is also a washer and dryer in the unit. This condo is currently on the market, listed at $169,900. There's also a monthly HOA Fee of $250, which includes heat, hot water, building insurance, common area maintenance, trash removal, etc.