The Benefits of Adaptive Reuse

The rise of Covid-19 has accelerated the growth and interest in adaptive reuse real estate. Many brick and mortar retail businesses have taken advantage of ecommerce, office tenants have moved their employees to work-from-home, and restaurants have downsized their spaces to focus their efforts on to-go meals. Now, communities are finding themselves with many vacant properties.

The term ‘reuse’ can be thought of as ‘repurposed’ real estate. For example, if a large retail store decides to move their business online, the property can be converted into something the area needs, like warehouse space for medical supplies. Maybe an old factory building hasn’t been used for years. A real estate company can buy the structure and convert it into apartments. It takes a trained economic trend-spotter to predict tomorrow’s business demands. Sutton has over 45 years of adaptive reuse development experience in the Syracuse and surrounding area, making our company a leader in the industry.

New development will always have a place, but being able to reuse infrastructure that is already in place can help support a community’s green initiative, maintain local character, and enhance culture through preserving important history. As developers, it’s our responsibility to protect and enhance the qualities that make Syracuse real estate so special.

Sutton’s history with adaptive reuse properties spans over 45 years and is most apparent when visiting our main office. 525 Plum Street is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last preserved manufacturing buildings in Franklin Square. Franklin Properties, the Developer earned State and Federal Tax credits to preserve many of the features and characteristics of the early twentieth century industrial plant while transforming the building in to needed housing and office space in the neighborhood.

Many adaptive reuse projects preserve and transform older properties such as Harbor Street Lofts, a former knitting factory that was converted to 40 mixed income apartments and Seaway Lofts, a former brewery in Oswego, NY that was converted to 26 affordable apartments. Both properties were placed on the Federal Historic Register prior to being developed by Sutton. But not all properties have to be historic to be a good candidate for an adaptive reuse project. For example, in the 1980’s, 550 Harrison Center was a failed shopping center at the foot of University Hill. In partnership with several physicians from Upstate Medical Center, the property was converted to a full service medical building occupied by a medical specialists and an ambulatory surgery center.

Adaptive reuse provides owners with an option to repurpose their buildings to maximize their value and help maintain characteristics of our community’s history. As our lifestyles change in a Post Covid world, so too should our buildings.


For the month of April, we sat down with Real Estate Salesperson Ken Tyminski to learn about his work in the industry and to discuss the CRE market.


SUTTON: What sector of CRE do you mainly focus on? What is your favorite?  

KT: I have been doing commercial real estate  for almost 20 years.  I have great experience in industrial, retail, and office, doing both leases and sales. As of recent, I have been doing more investment property work.

SUTTON: How/why have you come to work more on investment properties? What do you enjoy about this? 

KT: Investment properties always came naturally to me. In my opinion, a true master of this craft does not simply fill in a generic numbers sheet. Getting the real expenses up front saves a lot of time. I’ll find that more deals actually close because there are no surprises that pop up during closing. I’m grateful that I learned this no-nonsense approach to getting a deal done. 

SUTTON: What changes have been most difficult for you as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

KT: I prefer conference calls over Zoom. Zoom can be distracting and I find it better to be face to face with people.

SUTTON: How do you expect the market to look six months from now?

KT: In my opinion, the commercial real estate office and retail market will fluctuate. The pandemic has made some companies realize that people can do things from home and prefer to do things from home, which can save companies a lot of money.

SUTTON: How do you create/keep up your client base?

KT: If you do a good job, clients call you back and you will build up your list over time The key is to be honest with clients and other brokers.

SUTTON: What do you like about working in the Syracuse area?

KT: I have lived in many places, but Upstate NY has some great things going for it. Syracuse is a central distribution for the entire state as it is located directly in the center. And the finger lakes are beautiful in any season.

Sutton Closes Three Deals

Real Estate Associate Broker Stephen Saleski and Director of Brokerage Bart Feinberg represented the seller Skaneateles Properties, LLC in the sale of three properties; Skaneateles Suites, 4114 East Genesee Street, Cottage House, 4102 East Genesee Street, and Boutique Hotel, 12 Fennell Street, Skaneateles. All three buildings are lodging facilities consisting of a total of 20 suites with a sale price of $1.8 million. The buyer, Norman E. Swanson, was represented by Martin McDermott from JF Real Estate.

Bart Feinberg and Real Estate Salesperson Karen Cannata-LaRocca represented the seller in the sale of 5655 East Taft Road in North Syracuse. The 1,512 s/f building sits on a one-acre lot. Mark Rupprecht from CBRE representedGary Gasparini, the buyer.

Stephen Saleski represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the purchase of 50 W. Kendrick St. in Hamilton for $220,000. The seller, St. Mary’s Church, was represented by Joyce Mawhinney-MacKnight and James Furney of Pyramid Brokerage/Cushman Wakefield.


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The Sutton Report: March

For the month of March, we sat down with real estate salesperson Karen Cannata- LaRocca to learn about her work in the industry and to discuss the CRE market.


SUTTON: What sector of CRE do you mainly focus on and what is your favorite? 

KCL: I work in multiple sectors but my favorite is the medical field.

SUTTON: What changes have been most difficult for you as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

KCL: I’ve found that trying to show properties while staying within COVID – 19 protocols has been the toughest. Also, learning how to handle the uncertainty of our office tenants on what their sector will look like post COVID-19 has been a challenge as well.

SUTTON: What is one goal of yours for 2021 here at Sutton? 

KCL: To continue to work with buyers and sellers to meet their real estate needs.

SUTTON: How is Sutton encouraging teamwork? 

KCL: Sutton always supports the sales and leasing agents with sharing their vast knowledge and expertise in all areas of real estate. Although the sales team are independent contractors, Sutton always makes us feel like part of the family.

SUTTON: How do you expect the market to look six months from now?

KCL: Things are looking up now and six months from now, while we still may have a bit of uncertainty, I believe the market will bounce back close to pre-covid-19 levels.

Holiday Inn Sale and More

Holiday Inn Rochester

Acting on behalf of the seller, Kevin Valente and Stephen Saleski were responsible for the $3.6 million sale of the Rochester Downtown Holiday Inn, located at 70 State Street. The seven story building is a 250,712 s/f full service hotel with 217 rooms, two restaurants and 15,000 s/f of meeting space overlooking the beautiful Genesee River in downtown Rochester.

Bart Feinberg handled two leases at 99 Harris St. in Fulton. After Hour Trades signed a two-year lease of 40,000 s/f and Syracuse Pallets signed a five-year lease of 12,000 s/f. Feinberg also acted on behalf of the landlord, International Bakery.

The Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church sold its 11,522 s/f property at 3027 James St. in Syracuse to Liberty Christian Worship Center. Kristen Nave and Karen Cannata-LaRocca represented both the buyer and seller.

Kristen Nave represented Nave Law Firm in a long-term lease of 6,500 s/f at 231 Walton St. in Downtown Syracuse. Nave Law Firm decided to relocate due to the need of addition space.

Kristen Nave, Matt Buroni, and Karen Cannata-LaRocca also closed the restaurant lease of popular San Miguel Mexican Bar & Grill. The 4,820 s/f eatery sits on the Seneca River at 2 Oswego St. in Baldwinsville.


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