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New affordable housing in Syracuse looks to inspire others

Ellen Abbott

A former carriage factory on Syracuse’s Northside has been transformed into affordable housing. The new Moyer Carriage Lofts is an example of turning historic, abandoned buildings into housing for a population that needs it.

Most central New Yorkers will recognize the huge brick building near Interstate 81, as the one with a red house on top.

"The home itself was built as an architectural gimmick where the architect said: 'Well, what can I do to hide the original elevator machine room?' That's all it is."

Developer Ryan Benz, of Redev CNY, said that house is now a beacon for low-income families and individuals, who call the Moyer Carriage Lofts, home. Redev renovated the 130-year-old building into 128 affordable one and two-bedroom apartments, with on-site laundry and a community room, as well as ground-floor commerce. Housing Visions CEO Ben Lockwood said there were more than 500 applications for the 128 apartments.

"There's tremendous need here in our community, especially on the lower income side," Lockwood said. "It's everywhere, but the lower income side is doubly burdened. So to be able to have, you know, safe, energy-efficient, affordable housing is a key to trying to really build your life around."

New York state was among the patchwork of funding sources that made revamping the crumbling, former carriage and car factory possible. State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas hopes this project can spur others like it across the state.

"There are so many localities across the state that have incredible old infrastructure, old buildings, old manufacturing warehouses that can be converted not only to market-rate housing but also to affordable housing," Visnauskas said. "So we think projects like this really everyone should come and see them, and see what the opportunity is all across the state."

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.