Wednesday, August 31, 2004
City rejects only offer for Wilson Building
It came from company linked to Eli Hadad, who owes back taxes to
By Frederic Pierce, Staff writer
Last October, the city of Syracuse took possession of downtown's troubled
Wilson Building, partly to thwart Miami investor Eli Hadad's efforts to buy
the building from its bankruptcy trustee.
Tuesday, after months of searching for potential developers and asking
several seemingly interest parties to submit proposals, city officials
opened their only purchase offer for the century-old building.
It was from Hadad.
Actually, the proposal came from Paramount Development, the company
created by former city business consultant Charlie Vinal that manages many
of Hadad's downtown buildings, city Economic Development Director David
Since Hadad owes more than $300,000 in delinquent taxes on his city
properties, a long-standing city policy would prohibit the building's sale
to a company connected to Hadad, Michel said. Because of that, city
officials Tuesday decided not to review the proposal.
"It's very disappointing," Michel said. "We'll continue to review where
we are with the building; at some time we'll probably seek bids again."
Meanwhile, the seven-story, ornately designed structure at 305 S. Salina
St. stands almost completely vacant and in dire need of repair.
"By no means is this over," Vinal said Tuesday. "I've asked for their
decision in writing, and the time the decision was made, and I'm going to
take it to my lawyer."
The reason nobody else bid on the structure is that it needs to be
combined with the adjacent Witherill Building for any redevelopment into
apartments to make economic sense, Vinal said. Hadad owns the Witherill,
which cannot be feasibly reconfigured without the Wilson Building.
Hadad had offered $200,000 to buy the building out of bankruptcy court
last year. The city vetoed that and took the building in exchange for
$736,000 in taxes owed by its previous owner.
This summer, the city asked for development proposals that would use the
first floor for commercial tenants and renovate the upper floors into
offices and residential units.
The city also required developers to come up with a pedestrian walkway
through the structure that would connect South Salina Street to an alley in
the back of the Wilson Building that leads to Armory Square.
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