Goodbye, pink facade: the former Sibley’s department store in Syracuse will get a makeover for $ 37 million (photos)

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Syracuse, NY – A planned $ 37 million redevelopment will turn much of the long-vacant former Sibley’s department store in downtown Syracuse into a mix of commercial and retail space and apartments.

The project will breathe more life into a building that has attracted downtown buyers for two decades, but which has been largely vacant for 10 years.

In the future, the old department store will house apartment tenants and companies that manufacture defense systems and develop real estate. Potential additional tenants include a restaurant and a brasserie.

The entire exterior of the building will also be redone. This means that the faded pinkish facade of the 1980s will soon be history. Preliminary drawings show it replaced with an off-white exterior with light and dark gray accents and new windows.

“This will be a significant transformation,” said Jeremy Thurston, president of Hayner Hoyt Corp., the construction company that will be doing the work. “The building is going to be stripped to its bones. “

The render shows the former Sibley department store, now known as City Center, following a planned $ 37 million redevelopment into a commercial, commercial and residential building. The view is from West Jefferson Street. (Schopfer Architects)

The Redhouse Arts Center has occupied a 42,000 square foot portion of the building since 2018, but the remainder of the 280,000 square foot structure at 400 S. Salina St. has been vacant for a decade.

According to plans filed with the city, Hayner Hoyt will redevelop the rest of the building and become one of the building’s key tenants, occupying the third floor.

The Syracuse construction company was founded in 1966 and employs 170 people. It plans to move its head office from Érie Boulevard West to the old department store. It also plans to open a training center and a workshop in the establishment to promote the development of skilled trades among the local workforce.

Alion Science and Technology Corp., a defense contractor, plans to move its New York headquarters from Salina to the building, becoming the site’s other business anchor. Alion, which employs 70 people locally, will occupy the fourth floor and use it for product testing, manufacturing and assembly, and offices.

The second floor will contain 24 apartments, composed of:

  • 11 one-bedroom, one-bath units with lofts that would double as an extra bedroom or home office
  • Five apartments with one bedroom and one bathroom without a mezzanine
  • Eight two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments

Residential amenities will include adjacent adjacent parking, home theater, fitness area, outdoor community balcony, and private balconies.

Hayner Hoyt said he was in talks with a financial institution, brewery and restaurant for part of the space on the building’s first floor.

In addition, a courtyard will be cut into the building from Jefferson Street, giving the building, as well as the Redhouse, a new main entrance and more outdoor space. And an attached 750-space garage will be renovated and reopened, serving the needs of tenants in the building, Redhouse events and the surrounding downtown business district.

Northwest view of downtown

A view of the former Sibley department store, now known as Downtown, following a planned $ 37 million redevelopment into a commercial, commercial and residential building. The view is from West Jefferson Street and South Clinton Street. (Schopfer Architects)

Thurston said he expects to get approval for a $ 30 million mortgage for the project in a few weeks and hopes to close the financing in November. Tompkins Trust Co., Pathfinder Bank and Adirondack Bank are the lenders, he said.

He said he hoped to start construction in December, with completion 14 months later in early 2023.

Thurston filed a claim with the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for $ 1.6 million in sales tax exemptions on building materials and an exemption valued at $ 225,000 from construction tax. state mortgage registration.

The request also seeks a 15-year payment in lieu of tax agreement that would reduce property taxes on the building. The agency has not yet calculated the value of the property tax exemptions.

The Sibley, Lindsay & Curr department store, better known as Sibley’s, opened in October 1969 on the southwest corner of South Salina and West Jefferson streets, in a five-story building (including an under -sol) which cost $ 9 million to build. Two years earlier, the former occupant of the site, Keith’s Theater, described when it opened in 1920 as “vaudeville’s new million dollar temple”, was demolished to make way for the retailer.

The opening of Sibley

Customers await the opening of Sibley’s in downtown Syracuse on October 9, 1969 (Carl Single | The Post-Standard)

Back then, city centers were still the perfect place for department stores. But when malls began to draw retailers to American suburbs in the 1970s, that quickly changed.

With plans to renovate its store in Fayetteville Mall and open new ones in the Great Northern Mall in Clay and the soon-to-be-opened Carousel Center on Lake Syracuse, Sibley’s has closed its downtown store. in January 1989, thus completing the exodus of large retailers. downtown.

The building was then leased to call center operations and other office tenants. The last of these tenants moved in 2011.

The building, now called City Center, is owned by 400 South Salina Street LLC, a limited liability company wholly owned by the Redhouse Arts Center. Redhouse is a non-profit organization that invested $ 10 million in the building to create a performing arts and education center that includes a 300-seat theater and a 150-seat theater.

Thurston and his father, Gary, CEO of Hayner Hoyt, hold the right to acquire a 70% stake in the building after the renovation project is completed.

Sibley Syracuse Building

The old Sibley’s department store building in downtown Syracuse is slated for a $ 37 million redevelopment. (Rick Moriarty | [email protected])

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