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United States : Schumer reveals: Before even a single hammer can get to work on major downtown Syracuse project, Feds must act & nail down locals' plan to restore Salina Street building's original window & brick facade.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today joined developers of 321 South Salina Street to unveil new plans to redevelop the property in Downtown Syracuse. The buildings rehab is 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. Schumer said that before the project can be awarded vital historic tax credits, the National Park Service (NPS) must decide whether the buildings original faade from the 1930s with windows properly represents the buildings period of historic significance. This is critical because historic preservation tax credits can only be awarded to projects that maintain a propertys period of significance. Schumer argued that not only does the 1930s facade maintain historic character of the building, but it is also vital to the developers plans for rehabilitating the property. Therefore, Schumer called on NPS to support the original facade and subsequently award historic tax credits to this important project.

Evidence of Downtown Syracuses resurgence is everywhere from the restoration Hotel Syracuse and the completion of Connective Corridor to the rapid development of Armory, Hanover and Franklin Squares. The rehab of 321 South Salina Street will be another shot in the arm to the Downtown boom. said Senator Schumer. But the feds must act and approve the redevelopment plans or else the window might close on this opportunity. Not only is the project unfeasible without the windows, but the original faade undoubtedly maintains the buildings historic character and represents a time when Downtown was the commercial core of the city, much like today. That is why I am calling on the feds to swiftly approve this local plan and award tax credits that will bring more progress to Downtown Syracuse.

Being someone from Syracuse, the revitalization Downtown has experienced over the last ten plus years has inspired me and all of my partners, into seeing a glimpse of the brighter future Syracuse has in store, and has reminded us of what kind of economic anchor the Downtown market was for Central New York as a whole during its prime of the early 20th century. We believe that for Syracuse to be successful in the future, we, as a community, need to create a Syracuse that people can be prideful of and are excited to visit. And we hope that through this project, well be contributing to that new fabric of what the Syracuse of tomorrow, will be, said Ryan Benz, co-developer of 321 South Salina Street.

Schumer was joined by local developers and owners of 321 South Salina Street Ryan Benz, Leigh Ann Boatman-Benz, Steve Case and Dr. Shashank Bhatt. The group unveiled plans for their project, called The Whitney Lofts that will completely renovate both 321-323 South Salina Street in Downtowns central corridor. 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. The apartment lobby will be along Bank Alley and will also include a separate entrance on South Salina. The total cost of the rehabilitation is $4.2M and the project team includes Dalpos Architecture and Rich & Garnder (GC).

Schumer explained that 321 South Salina Street is in the existing South Salina Street Downtown Historic District, which was added to The National Register of Historic Places in 2009, and enlarged in 2014. The South Salina corridor represented the commercial development of Syracuses central business core from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. Specifically, 321 South Salina Street originated as part of a group of five buildings constructed in 1855 and known as Washington Stores, serving various retailers and manufacturers that contributed Downtown Syracuses commercial core for decades. Most notably, the building housed the Park Brannock Shoe Store where the Brannock Device used to measure shoe size was first invented and manufactured. The original faade was of Italianate Style containing large windows with exterior sills and brick frontage. As Downtowns commercial district began to decline, the buildings original Italianate Style faade with brick and windows was parged over with solid concrete in the 1960s, altering its original historic character.

Since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, its rehabilitation qualifies for a 20% income historic tax credit that is awarded by the Department of Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service. Before that credit can be awarded, the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) and the National Park Service review the rehabilitation work to ensure that it will maintain characteristics that existed during the structures period of significance. This requires the SHPO and NPS determine whether the buildings original faade from the 1930s with windows or current faade since the 1960s without windows represent the buildings period of significance.

Schumer argued that restoring the buildings original faade is the ideal choice, both for the purposes of the restoration plan and maintaining the structures historical character. First, the project plans to construct residential units on the top floors. Without windows, these units would be uninhabitable and the entire project could become unfeasible. Furthermore, the original Italianate faade represents a period when South Salina Street was the citys commercial hub and center of economic activity, one of the main reasons why the corridor was added to the National Register. For these reasons, Schumer called on NPS to swiftly approve the developers plans to reestablish the original brick and window faade and subsequently award the project historic tax credits designated for structures such as these.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Sep 21, 2017
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