Local Developer Has Big Makeover Plan for Mitzpah
Abandoned building may be renovated into 100-room
by Renee Lucas
Syracuse City Eagle
With the review and approval of the city, the vacant Mitzpah Tower in
Columbus Circle may soon be renovated into a boutique hotel.
Project Manager Alan lsserlis is proposing to renovate the six-story
building at the intersection of Montgomery and East Jefferson streets
known as the Mitzpah Towers into a five-star hotel. The renovated
structure would have 100 rooms, facilities for conferences and a
business center. The existing symphony hall will be renovated into a
ballroom for weddings, corporate functions or dinner theater and an
on-premises gym would be contracted out to a known gym facility. A
four-star restaurant with an upscale lounge and billiard room would also
"We want to return the building to the way that it should look,"
Built in 1914, the Mitzpah Tower is modeled after the Canterbury
Cathedral in England, and was home to a Baptist church for many years.
Isserlis, a Syracuse University graduate, presented his plan at the
Common Council's Economic Development and Environmental Committee
meeting on March 29 to Third District Councilor Patricia Waelder,
Councilor-at-Large Beth Brownson and Commissioner of Economic
Development Bart Feinberg.
According to the Mitzpah Tower initial report, the project will
create over 225 full- and part-time jobs, most of which would be
"We want to be able to create jobs, and bring something here, bottom
line," Isserlis said.
Reinstating color and history to the area, most of the original
stained glass windows designed by Henry Keck are missing [some, not
most] and would be replaced by a local stained-glass restoration
professional, John Dobbs of Dobbs Glass Works. Mo-Jo Sturmer Associated,
P.C, of Greenvale, NY would design the project.
"We'll do something to mold the modern and the old together through
the stained-glass medium," Isserlis said.
Waelder was impressed by Isserlis's proposal and was surprised he did
not come to the council asking for money, or breaks from the city.
"I was particularly struck that he was not asking for any special
consideration and is ready to take advantage of the options that are
already in place/' Waelder said.
The building is in the Columbus Circle National Register District
which entitles it to a 20 percent preservation tax credit, along with
Empowerment and Empire Zone tax cuts.
According to Isserlis, if the city approves the project the hotel can
be completed within 15 months.
"We are lucky to have this building that is so unique to Syracuse,"
The hotel hopes to draw an upscale client base, and build a hotel in
the city that is walking distance from downtown attractions.
"This is certainly a beautiful building and the encouragement of
development downtown is a wonderful idea," Waelder said. "I would love
to see this happen. It is a viable, active part of downtown. The whole
idea of a choice of hotels in downtown is a very nice thing."
Waelder thinks that another hotel in Syracuse is a good idea,
regardless of the many hotels that have just undergone recent
restorations, like the Marx and the Genesee Inn.
"I think that this hotel has different market interests," Waelder
said. "Certainly with the lovely downtown churches, it would be a
perfect venue for wedding receptions and have other church related
connections. I would truly see it as a nice asset to downtown."