Revitalization of historic Ansco Camera Factory will create a mixed-use development, with 100 new market-rate lofts and 35,000 square feet of commercial space
Investment in Transformative Project Complements “Southern Tier Soaring” - The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Paulus Development, a Syracuse-based real estate development firm focused on sophisticated urban development, Hueber-Breuer Construction, and the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), a leading nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company, celebrated the groundbreaking of the Ansco Camera Factory, a historic property in Binghamton, New York that is being revitalized and transformed into a mixed-use development. Upon completion, the Ansco Camera Factory will create 100 new market-rate lofts and nearly 35,000 square feet of commercial space on the building’s ground floor.
The building was opened in 1928 by the General Cigar Company and purchased in 1937 by Ansco Camera Works. Ansco operated out of the building until 1977 when the factory shut its doors. Since that time, the building has been rented to commercial tenants before it was acquired by Broome County through tax foreclosure. The Ansco Camera Factory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
The development team plans to preserve historic features of the property including a 40,000-gallon water tank on the roof, considered a prominent feature on the West Binghamton skyline, and a Power House building located on site, adjacent to the main structure. Both distinguishing features contribute to the property’s historic fabric and will be retained as part of the project.
“We believe the investment into this underutilized urban property will be a catalyst for change in this community and the local economy,” said Matthew Paulus, President of Paulus Development. “This historic rehabilitation of the last remaining Ansco Camera Factory building in Binghamton demonstrates our commitment to cultivating neighborhood and environmental resiliency through private development. “
“This development will rehabilitate a historic landmark and create a First Ward neighborhood anchor to support existing businesses and attract and retain young professionals,” said Mayor Richard C. David. “In Binghamton, we’re bringing new jobs and economic development by creating the environment for private investment and entrepreneurship to succeed.”
“Projects like the Ansco Camera Factory, that put our historic industrial buildings and factories back into use as resources of housing and economic opportunity are critical to the future of cities like Binghamton,” said Nicholas V. Petragnani, Jr., Senior Vice President and Regional Director at CPC. “At CPC we believe that investing in housing and mixed-use projects can help revitalize communities and act as a catalyst that drives additional private and public investment. My thanks to Comptroller DiNapoli and our partners at the State’s Common Retirement Fund, Empire State Development, Mayor David, and Broome County leadership for their collaboration and support.”
As a nonprofit housing finance company with a long history of serving communities throughout New York State, CPC works with their partners who understand the importance of investing in projects that help breathe new life into neighborhoods while connecting them with their past. Historic buildings, including former factories like Ansco, as well as industrial buildings like mills, factories, and warehouses, which were once hubs of activity throughout New York can be put back into use as new housing and retail space – again serving as anchors of activity and economic opportunity for neighborhoods large and small.
"We are pleased to partner with the Community Preservation Corporation to help revitalize and preserve the Ansco Camera Factory,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the New York state pension fund. "In addition to securing a sound investment return for the fund's more than one million members, retirees and their beneficiaries, this joint effort creates opportunities for community improvement and quality housing in Binghamton."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Turning a former camera factory into a vibrant mixed-use space that will become an anchor for revitalizing and connecting Binghamton’s central business district is an example of New York’s strategic approach to economic development, a lens through which we envision new uses for historic buildings in the Southern Tier and throughout Upstate.”
“The ANSCO Camera Factory joins the scores of historic buildings upstate that are taking advance of Historic Tax Credits,” said Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation at the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We have witnessed this program play a significant role in the revitalization of our legacy cities and we look forward to working with the project team, who are making a significant investment that will surely contribute to the city of Binghamton’s future.”
Building features will include exposed wood ceilings and custom oversized factory windows allowing abundant natural light as well as hardwood kitchen cabinetry, hard-surface countertops, contemporary stainless steel appliances and ceramic tile bathrooms. All floors will be served by two building elevators, three stair towers and a separate entrance for residential tenants. Onsite amenities will include underground and surface-level parking, a 24-hour fitness studio, a private community room, bike storage, state-of-the art security system and energy efficient appliances and design. Additionally, this will be a pet-friendly community.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “The revitalization of the historic ANSCO Camera Factory is a key component of the region’s Innovation District plan, connecting the Binghamton and Johnson City iDistricts. Redeveloping this snapshot from our past is the latest example of our community’s efforts to reimagine former industrial sites as new community anchors.”
Broome County Executive Garnar Jason Garnar said, “I cannot say thank you enough to Matthew Paulus and Paulus Development for making this major investment in Broome County. From day 1, Broome County has been proud to support the ANSCO Camera Factory project. Paulus Development is not only rehabilitating a historic building but giving it new life to attract professionals to this community and spur economic development.”
“Matthew came to us with a clear vision for this project and worked diligently with our office and multiple agencies to make it a reality. His tenacity and passion is impressive and we hope to work with him on more projects in Broome County,” said Broome County IDA/LDC Executive Director Kevin McLaughlin.
CPC is providing a nearly $20 million construction loan, as well as a $14.2 million SONYMA-insured permanent loan through its funding partnership with the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
Empire State Development is providing a $2 million Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant; and the project is receiving an equity investment from Chase Community Equity, as the project qualifies for Federal and State historic rehabilitation tax credits.
CPC has a long history of serving communities throughout New York State, providing construction financing for all multifamily housing types, including downtown revitalization, adaptive reuse, affordable and supportive housing, acquisition and rehabilitation of distressed properties and ground-up construction.
About Paulus Development
Paulus Development is a privately held real estate development firm based in Syracuse, NY. The Company has experience in commercial development, management, finance, marketing and sales, with a focus on sophisticated urban properties blending private and commercial spaces. In August 2017, the Company completed their $30 million historic rehabilitation of the former R.E. Dietz Lantern Factory (“The Dietz”) in Syracuse, NY. The Dietz located just outside of Downtown Syracuse in the city’s Park Avenue neighborhood, is home to 92 luxury lofts of various sizes and 50,000 sf of commercial space. Visit Paulus Development at paulusdevelopment.com.
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. The company provides a full suite of capital products through its construction lending, permanent lending, and equity investing platforms. Since inception, CPC has leveraged approximately $10 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 193,000 units of multifamily housing. CPC’s work with its partners has helped revitalize countless neighborhoods and provided quality housing for families, senior citizens, and individuals with disabilities. Visit CPC at communityp.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.