Community Development Project Will Preserve the Historic Structure While Creating 92 Apartments and 37,000 Square-Feet of New Commercial Space
Syracuse, NY, December 13, 2016 – Developers Bradford & Euclid LLC, The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Chase Community Development, Pathfinder Bank, NBT Bank, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Onondaga County, and other partners announced today the closing of a $19.2 million deal to convert the historic 208,000-square-foot R.E. Dietz lantern factory building into 92 rental apartments and 37,500 square feet of commercial space. When complete, The Dietz will serve as a catalyst for the ongoing revitalization of the neighborhoods in and around Downtown Syracuse. Located in the Park Avenue neighborhood at 225-303 Wilkinson Street, directly across from Leavenworth Park, the project will serve as an anchor development for the community, connecting the Syracuse Lakefront, Near Westside’s SALT district, and the Syracuse central business district – all of which are within walking distance.
The rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the R.E. Dietz building was envisioned by the partners of Bradford & Euclid LLC, led by Paulus Development Company, a privately owned real estate company in Syracuse, New York. Hueber-Breuer Construction, the largest continuously operating, family-owned general construction/construction management company in Central New York, has been selected to carry out the construction of the project.
“The development of the R.E. Dietz building has been an enduring vision of Lawrence V. Losty, Jr., a partner of Bradford & Euclid, LLC. His commitment to the authenticity and heritage of the building and neighborhood has been instrumental,” said Matthew Paulus, President of Paulus Development Company. “The opportunity to preserve a sophisticated, historical building and create a sense of place in the community is one of the main objectives of Paulus Development.”
“The Dietz Building is going to be a transformative project for the Park Avenue community, and we’re excited to be working with Bradford & Euclid and Matthew Paulus to help make their vision a reality,” said Nicholas V. Petragnani, Jr., Senior Vice President and Central New York Regional Director, CPC. “This partnership not only helps transform a largely vacant site into a resource of housing and new economic opportunity; we believe that it will anchor the community and serve as a catalyst for future investment in the area. My thanks to Bradford & Euclid, Comptroller DiNapoli, Pathfinder Bank, NBT Bank, and the City of Syracuse for their commitment to the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Syracuse.”
“We're gratified that the state pension fund can assist in the revitalization of Downtown Syracuse and secure a healthy return on our investment,” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “Our partnership with the Community Preservation Corporation has helped rehabilitate abandoned or unused buildings into affordable housing. It's a win-win investment that benefits New York communities and creates returns that help provide retirement security for the members and beneficiaries of the New York State Retirement System.”
As a nonprofit housing finance company with a long history of serving Syracuse and cities throughout Central New York, CPC understood the history of the community and the importance of investing in the Dietz Building’s rehabilitation. CPC has a track record of working with neighborhood stakeholders to make strategic investments in housing that focus on downtown and community revitalization. Throughout the Downtown Syracuse area, CPC has financed 25 multifamily housing projects, investing over $125 million in approximately 800 units of residential housing to date.
“Chase is proud to support the redevelopment of the R.E. Dietz building through our Historic Tax Credit equity investment. We look forward to seeing the ongoing impact that this vibrant mixed-use development will have on the community and surrounding neighborhood for years to come,” said Timothy Karp, Vice President of Chase Community Development Tax Credit Group.
Added Ronald Tascarella, E.V.P. and Chief Credit Officer of Pathfinder Bank, “Pathfinder Bank values deeply our relationship with the community and Community Preservation Corp. The continued revitalization of the Central New York area is something we should all take great pride in.”
“Our bank is proud to be involved in financing the renovation of the R.E. Dietz Building,” said NBT Bank Regional President Richard Shirtz. “The building is located in an area of the city that has not seen significant investment in many years, and we hope this project helps to spur further development in the future. NBT Bank has financed a number of similar projects in the downtown area, and we look forward to continuing our support of the renovation of underutilized properties in the City of Syracuse.”
“The redevelopment of the R.E. Dietz lantern factory into a mixed use project with new housing and commercial space aligns with our regional strategy to revitalize our urban cores and connect our many community assets,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO and co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council. “The CNY REDC’s strategic initiatives include supporting and advocating for projects like this because we know the transformational impact they can have on our community. It is rewarding to see the ongoing revival of our central business district expand out into adjacent neighborhoods, and we are thankful for the state’s investment and partnership in these efforts.”
“Onondaga County is pleased to be partnering on the rehabilitation of the Dietz Building by providing support through the Save the Rain Green Improvement Fund,” said County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “This project includes an underground cistern system and added green space, which will capture over 2 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually, helping to improve water quality in Onondaga Lake and its tributaries.” The Green Improvement Fund is a public-private partnership program to incentivize green infrastructure implementation on commercial, business, and nonprofit properties within the combined sewer system. A total of 88 projects have been completed to date, capturing over 40 million gallons of runoff annually.
Commissioner of New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Rose Harvey said, “The rehabilitation of the Dietz Building is yet another stellar example of an underutilized property in upstate New York that is being revitalized through the use of Historic Preservation Tax Credits. I am pleased to share that the use of credits in New York has made an enormous contribution to not only rehabilitating thousands of underused historic properties, but has emerged as one of the state’s key economic development tools. Historic Preservation and this stellar project provide the opportunity to revitalize a landmark, create local jobs, and to further the renaissance of Downtown Syracuse.”
Robert E. Dietz founded the lantern company Dietz, Brother and Company in Brooklyn in 1840. After a fire destroyed the R.E. Dietz factory in New York City in June 1897, the company purchased its only competition, the Steam Gauge and Lantern Company of Syracuse, and eventually moved the company's manufacturing center to Syracuse.
Dietz later won the contract to provide lanterns for the construction of the Panama Canal. To accommodate the increased demand, in 1904, the company built the first structure on the property, the Sunset Building, named so because it provided amazing views of the sunset. In 1913, Dietz again expanded, demolishing the small structures on site and building the Sunrise Building, named because of the views of the sunrise over Downtown Syracuse. Structures known as “the Bridge” were later built between the Sunset and Sunrise buildings, linking them and improving logistics. This is the building as it is recognized today.
In 1971, Dietz ceased making lanterns in Syracuse, moving all production to Hong Kong. The company closed its doors in Syracuse in 1992. For more information on the Dietz Building, its history and availability, please visit www.dietzlofts.com
To finance the project, CPC and its lending partners Pathfinder Bank and NBT Bank are providing a $19.2 million construction loan. CPC is also providing a SONYMA-insured $16.2 million permanent loan funded through its agreement with the New York State Common Retirement Fund. The project was recently awarded a $900,000 grant from Empire State Development through the last round of Regional Economic Development Council funding, and a $517,000 Save the Rain grant from Onondaga County. Additionally, the project has received its Part I and Part II approvals from the NYS Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Park Service to qualify for State and Federal historic tax credits.
True to its heritage as a manufacturing facility, the building features high ceilings and oversized windows allowing abundant natural light. The loft apartments will be fitted with natural hardwood kitchen cabinetry, granite countertops, contemporary stainless steel appliances, ceramic tile bathrooms with tiled walk-in showers, and original hardwood flooring. Each apartment will have a high-efficiency heating and central air conditioning package, and in-unit washers and dryers.
The project will also offer community amenities such as a social/party room, a business technology center, a game room, and a fitness room. Additionally, there will be an outdoor courtyard for residents and a dog wash area for grooming and cleaning.
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About The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)
Established in 1974, CPC is a nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company that believes housing is central to transforming underserved neighborhoods into thriving and vibrant communities. We provide innovative capital solutions, fresh thinking and a collaborative approach to the often complex challenges that owners and developers of multifamily housing face. To date, CPC has leveraged approximately $9.7 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 170,660 units of affordable housing. Our work with our partners has helped revitalize countless neighborhoods throughout New York, and provided quality housing for families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Follow us at communityp.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.