Tax breaks OK’d for apartments at historic Smith Restaurant supply building

Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency today approved nearly $1.2 million in tax breaks for the redevelopment of the historic Smith Restaurant Supply property into 37 apartments.

The agency voted 5-0 to grant $684,911 in property tax exemptions over 15 years, as well as $440,000 in exemptions from sales taxes on construction materials and $39,577 in exemptions from the state mortgage recording tax.

Developer Matthew Paulus plans to build 37 apartments on the upper floors of the two buildings on the property at 500 Erie Blvd. E. and 2,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

The apartments will be restricted to tenants with incomes no greater than 80% of the area’s median income. Rents will average about $1,050 a month, not including utilities, according to Paulus.

The $6.6 million project is expected to take a year to complete.

Smith Restaurant Supply is staying in business but will move to smaller quarters because it no longer needs the site’s 32,000 square feet of space.

Polish immigrant Hyman Smith started the houseware and restaurant supply business nearby in 1894 on what is now South Townsend Street. The business moved to its current location in 1946.

Owner John Kuppermann, Smith’s great-great-grandson, said he is considering three locations, all within about two miles of the business’s current home, and plans to be complete a move to one of them by the middle of March.

“My intent is not to close for a moment,” he said.

The property contains a three-story building erected around 1853 as a warehouse along the Erie Canal and a six-story warehouse built in the early 1900s.

Paulus and his father-in-law, Larry Losty Jr., redeveloped the former R.E. Dietz Co. lantern factory in the city’s Park Avenue neighborhood into 92 upscale apartments two years ago.


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