SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: FOLLOWING HIS PUSH, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HAS APPROVED PLANS TO RESTORE HISTORIC SALINA STREET BUILDING’S ORIGINAL WINDOW FACADE & GRANTED CRITICAL FED TAX CREDITS TO DO SO; SENATOR SAYS WORK CAN NOW BEGIN ON PROJECT THAT WILL FURTHER RE-ENERGIZE DOWNTOWN ‘CUSE
321 South Salina Street Is On National Register Of Historic Places, Making It Eligible for Key Fed Tax Credits; But Planned Restoration Project Needed Federal Approval To Uncover Windows & Restore Brick Facade In Order For the Project To Move Forward
Schumer Led The Charge On A Two-Pronged Push: First Urging NPS To Approve Plans To Restore Original 1930’s Era Façade With Windows & Then Ensuring The Project Received Federal Historic Tax Credits;
Schumer: With Approvals & Credits Secured, Salina Street Project Will See The Light Of Day
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, today announced that following his push, the National Park Service (NPS) has both approved plans to restore historic 321 Salina Street’s original window façade and awarded the redevelopment vital historic tax credits, further advancing the resurgence of Downtown Syracuse. The building’s rehab was 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. But before the project could be awarded the federal credits, the National Park Service (NPS) needed to decide whether the building’s original façade from the 1930’s with windows properly represented the building’s ‘period of historic significance.’ This was critical because historic preservation tax credits can only be awarded to projects that maintain a property’s ‘period of significance.’ Schumer argued that not only did the 1930’s facade maintain the historic character of the building, but it was also vital to the developers’ plans for rehabilitating the property. Ultimately, NPS agreed by approving plans and awarding the tax credits.
“Evidence of Downtown Syracuse’s renaissance is everywhere – from the restoration of Hotel Syracuse and the completion of the Connective Corridor to the rapid development of Armory, Hanover, and Franklin Squares. The rehab of 321-323 South Salina Street will be another shot in the arm to the Downtown boom,” said Senator Schumer. “I am elated that the National Park Service heeded my calls and recognized the Salina Street properties potential and eligibility. With the feds approving Historic Tax Credits for the site, work can finally begin on restoring the original façade that maintains the building’s historic character and represents a time when Downtown was the commercial core of the city, much like it is today. I will work in lock-step with local officials and stakeholders to see this project, which will bring more progress to Downtown Syracuse, to completion.”
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 Syracuse’s 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 to Downtown Syracuse’s 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 façade was of Italianate Style, containing large windows with exterior sills and brick frontage. As Downtown’s commercial district began to decline, the building’s original Italianate Style façade with brick and windows was parged over with solid concrete in the 1960s, altering its original historic character.
Schumer said now work can begin to restore the building’s original façade, which Schumer has long argued is the ideal choice, both for the purposes of the restoration plan and maintaining the structure’s 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 façade represents a period when South Salina Street was the city’s commercial hub and center of economic activity, one of the main reasons why the corridor was added to the National Register.
Schumer’s announcement comes on the heels of his visit to 321 South Salina Street last September. Schumer joined local developers and owners of 32-323 South Salina Street to unveil plans for their project, called The Whitney Lofts, that will completely renovate both 321-323 South Salina Street in Downtown’s central corridor. Schumer said 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.
A copy of the initial letter Schumer sent to the heads of the National Park Service and the New York State Historic Preservation Office appears below:
Dear Acting Director Reynolds:
I write to urge the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the National Park Service (NPS) to support and accept the 1930’s era façade as the ‘period of significance’ as it relates to the redevelopment of 321 South Salina Street in Downtown Syracuse, New York, and not the current façade installed in the late 1950’s/early 1960’s. Such approval will allow the building to continue to contribute to Downtown Syracuse’s resurgence while also maintaining its historic character.
As you know, 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 represents the commercial development of Syracuse’s 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 Syracuse’s commercial core for decades. As Downtown’s commercial district began to decline, the building’s original Italianate Style façade with brick and windows was parged over with solid concrete, altering its original historic character. When the district was expanded in 2014, the following was requested by the applicant and approved by both NYSHPO and NPS:
Several historic buildings in the South Salina Street Downtown Historic District
have been successfully rehabilitated, with original details
that had been sheathed by unsympathetic alterations becoming visible again.
The blocks of South Salina Street and South Warren Street included
in the Downtown Syracuse Commercial Historic District include numerous
historic structures that may have suffered some loss of integrity through alteration,
but retain the potential for rehabilitation that has been experienced
by the historic fabric of the commercial core of the city.
National Register of Historic Places Enlargement Application, Sec. 8, Pg. 5
I concur that Downtown Syracuse’s historic district on South Salina Street includes “historic structures that may have suffered some loss of integrity through alteration, but retain the potential for rehabilitation,” including 321 South Salina Street. Allowing developers to utilize historic tax credits to help restore the original Italianate façade will bring the building closer to its period of historical significance and allow the building to join other structures that “have been successfully rehabilitated, with original details that had been sheathed by unsympathetic alterations becoming visible again.” I hope that this request meets your approval and that the project is swiftly awarded Historic Preservation Tax Incentives to aid in the building’s restoration.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.
Charles E. Schumer