December 19, 2016
By Laura Calugar
Syracuse, N.Y.—The historic 208,000-square-foot R.E. Dietz lantern factory building will be converted into 92 rental apartments and 37,500 square feet of office space thanks to a $19 million deal closed by a public-private partnership collaboration. The partners include developers Bradford & Euclid LLC, the Community Preservation Corp. (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 others.
Located in the Park Avenue neighborhood at 225-303 Wilkinson St., right across from Leavenworth Park, the new community project will be within walking distance from the Syracuse Lakefront, the near Westside’s SALT district and the Syracuse central business district.
Residents and office tenants will benefit from the site’s proximity to downtown Syracuse and its easy access to Interstates 690 and 81. The new development will be known as The Dietz and will feature 68 one-, 21 two- and three three-bedroom units, with monthly rents ranging from $1,000 to $2,300. Apartments will include large windows, high ceilings, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and in-unit washers and dryers. In addition, the building will have a fitness center and a conference room, as well as 108 indoor and 98 outdoor parking spaces. The project includes an underground cistern system and added green space, which will capture over 2 million gallons of rain water runoff annually.
Work on the new project began this fall. Apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy by August 2017. Developers plan to keep the asset’s brick walls, its wooden ceiling beams and support posts exposed as a reminder of the building’s past. The Steam Gauge and Lantern Co. operated on the site from 1888 to 1897. Prior to that, it was home to a cabinet maker’s shop. The Dietz company took it over in 1897 and built a large addition in 1904, when it obtained a major contract to supply lanterns for the construction of the Panama Canal. The building was expanded again in 1913, 1915 and in the 1930s. Dietz shut the building down in 1992 and sold it to Lawrence Losty, a partner of Bradford & Euclid, for $35,000. Losty invested $500,000 in remodeling the asset.
The state has agreed to provide a $900,000 grant through its Regional Economic Development Council initiative. In addition, Onondaga County is providing a $517,000 grant through its Save the Rain program. The project is also eligible for state and federal historic preservation tax credits.