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Historic Syracuse building undergoes new ownership, development

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The City of Syracuse has found a buyer for a historic building that’s housed several city departments in recent years.

Most people know it as City Hall Commons, the triangle-shaped building built in 1869, with an atrium off the side that’s about a block from City Hall. Mayor Ben Walsh has announced that Hanover Real Estate Development will purchase the property for $850,000 and spend $13.2 million to redevelop it.

"We are taking another major step in our effort to generate new income from city assets, and achieving higher and better uses for underutilized, and underappreciated, and underinvested in, city buildings," Walsh said.

It means the 150 city employees who work in departments like Neighborhood and Business Development, Code Enforcement and the central permit office will have to move to an office building a couple of blocks away, according to Eric Ennis, deputy commissioner of business development.

"We will occupy the 7th floor of One Park Place," Ennis said. "We will also have a ground-level place for our central permit office."

Hanover Real Estate Development partner Adam Fumarola said, from their end, the first thing to do is get a closer look at the more than 150-year-old building and begin construction and development plans. He notes Hanover has been involved in other property development in the historic Hanover Square area that’s full of older buildings that have been renewed in recent years.

"If as a community we can build off of what others have already done, particularly when it comes to preserving historic architecture, preserving the communal feel of this entire strip of Hanover Square, we want to be part of that," Fumarola said.

At this point, Fumarola said plans are for a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments on upper floors and commercial uses at the street level. He adds that prospects for more housing and commercial property are even more exciting in the wake of Micron’s plan to build a mega computer chip factory in the area.

"We were interested in this before Micron was announced," Fumarola said. "So this would have happened irrespective of Micron. But I think Micron adds a level of excitement and enthusiasm on top of our already exuberant approach to this property.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.