The historic Smith Restaurant Supply building will be transformed into affordable apartments

Syracuse, NY — Developer Matthew Paulus announced plans on Tuesday to redevelop the historic Smith Restaurant Supply property on Erie Boulevard East into 37 affordable apartments.

Paulus, who remodeled the former RE Dietz Co. lantern factory in the Park Avenue neighborhood of Syracuse into 92 upscale apartments two years ago, said he hopes to begin work on the two buildings that make up the Smith Restaurant Supply property in the summer of 2020.

The $6.6 million project will take about a year to complete, he said.

He said the upper floors of the buildings will contain 37 apartments for people whose incomes do not exceed 80% of the region’s average median income. Rents will average about $1,050 a month, not including utilities, he said.

The buildings – a three-story structure built as a warehouse along the Erie Canal in the 1800s and a six-story warehouse built in the early 1900s – will also contain approximately 2,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. pavement, Paulus said.

“Ideally it will be a commercial use that really brings this part of the commercial district to life,” he said.

Smith Restaurant Supply has operated in the town since Polish immigrant Hyman Smith started the housewares and restaurant supply business in 1894, selling tableware on the sidewalk outside his home on Grape Street, which is now South Townsend Street. He moved to his current home in 1946. Paulus said the company planned to move when he remodeled the building.

John Kuppermann, Smith’s great-grandson, put the property up for sale in 2014. At the time, he said the business only used 12,000 square feet of the 32,000 square feet of space buildings. Technology has allowed the store to order and sell supplies quickly, reducing the need for inventory space, he said.

A view of the Smith Restaurant Supply Building at the southeast corner of Erie Boulevard East and Townsend Street in Syracuse circa 1940s. Photo provided

Located on the southeast corner of Erie Boulevard East and South Townsend Street, the property is literally yards from the elevated section of Interstate 81 that runs through downtown Syracuse.

The state Department of Transportation recommended in April that the elevated freeway be demolished and replaced with a grade-level boulevard.

Paulus said the planned boulevard, known as the Community Network, provides an ideal real estate investment opportunity as it will connect downtown to the city’s educational and medical centers on University Hill.

“The network is the main reason we invest in it,” Paulus said. “With the community network, the area can become one of the most desirable areas in the city with additional investment.”

Paulus applied to the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for tax exemptions. The relief would consist of $440,000 in sales tax exemptions on building materials and a $39,577 exemption from state mortgage registration tax.

In addition, he is seeking to obtain from the agency a priority agreement for payment in lieu of commercial and residential tax.

Under the agreement, the property would receive full exemption from project-related tax assessment increases for 10 years. The exemption would be phased out over the next four years. The value of property tax exemptions has not yet been calculated by the agency.

Rick Moriarty covers economic news and consumer issues. Do you have a topical question or advice? Contact him at any time: E-mail | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148

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