SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Construction is underway to transform the long-time home of Smith Restaurant Supply into luxury apartments inside the red brick building passed by more than 70,000 cars on I-690 daily.
Last year, Smith Restaurant Supply moved down Erie Boulevard to DeWitt so developer Matt Paulus could take over the Erie Canal-era building, restore it and transform it.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Paulus says, “You have an Erie Canal-vintage building that is the last building standing after the viaduct was built in the 60s. There’s so many stories that come along with this.”
The work is uncovering dirt possibly not exposed to sunlight since the Erie Canal was dug. Contractors have taken out the retro-fitted windows to restore the shape to the original cut.
The building will have commercial space on the ground floor and 38 apartments between the three-story original building and five-story structure added later.
It’s not a new concept to restore a historic building in Syracuse, but keeping the resulting apartments affordable is less common.
Paulus’ project will be one of the first to set rental rates based on each tenant’s income. A formula will be used to customize rent when a renter’s salary is compared to Onondaga County’s average income.
He hopes to start the rental process this summer, so tenants can move-in this fall. No commercial spaces have been leased, but Paulus says he’s talking with some interested businesses.
“When I purchased this building from the Smith Family,” Paulus says. “My one request from them was they allowed me to call this Smith Building, because no matter what I do with it, this is the Smith Building.”