New Syracuse apartments coming to Otisca site on North Side, 9 other sites

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By Tim Knauss

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Construction will begin this month on a new three-story, mixed-use building at the site of the former Otisca Building on Butternut Street, which wasdemolished three years ago. The new structure will be the largest of 10 scattered buildings to be constructed or renovated in a $15 million project that will add 49 units of affordable housing in Syracuse.

Politicians and other gathered at the Butternut Street site today to announce the launch of a project they are calling Salina Crossing.

The project includes four building renovations and six new buildings, in an area that extends four miles along the Salina Street corridor from North Townsend Street on the North Side past Colvin Street on the South Side. (See map below.) In addition to housing, the project will create 6,000 square feet of commercial space.

The developer, nonprofit group Housing Visions Unlimited, will begin construction this month and plans to finish within a year, officials said.

The $14.9 million budget includes $4.1 million in state funding through the HOME Fund and the Community Investment Fund, plus $8.5 million in private equity raised through the sale of tax credits for low-income housing and historic renovation. The city of Syracuse contributed $800,000 in federal funds, NYSERDA contributed $123,500, and Home HeadQuarters provided a $190,000 loan.

The anchor of the project is the mixed-use building to be constructed on the site of the former Otisca Building at the corner of Butternut and McBride streets. Ben Lockwood, vice president of Housing Visions, thanked Home HeadQuarters and St. Joseph’s Hospital for acquiring the site and paying $275,000 to demolish the crumbling Otisca Building long before there was any guarantee of state funding for new construction.

“It was a rather courageous bet that Home HeadQuarters and St. Joseph’s made,” he said.

The new three-story building will include 20 one-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors and 4,700 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. The apartments will rent for between $262 and $485 a month.

In addition to the Butternut Street building, Salina Crossing includes:

— Four building renovations on the North Side that will yield 15 new apartments, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms.

— Four new multi-family buildings on the South Side that will include a total of 10 apartments, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms.

— A new mixed-use building at 2223 S. Salina St. that will contain four one-bedroom apartments on the upper floor and 1,200 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

KeyBank is providing construction financing for the project.

Founded in 1990 in Syracuse, Housing Visions is a nonprofit organization that offers managed affordable housing in 11 cities across New York.

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