Appeals Court Decision Allows Demolition of Loos Building
Renovating the Building, at 836
is not cost effective, owner says
August 11, 2001
Brian Mannion, Contributing writer
The owner of a historic building on Syracuse's North
Side has permission to demolish it, after months of legal battles to
preserve the structure.
The Loos Building, built in 1895 at Butternut and Park
streets, was designed by local architect Archimedes Russell. The building's
owner, Tino Marcoccia, has been in a long-running dispute with the
Preservation Association of Central New York over whether he can tear it
down and redevelop the property. Last month, the Appellate Division of the
state Supreme Court in Rochester upheld a local judge's decision in favor of
Marcoccia, saying the city's historic-designation statute allows the
demolition of a historic site. With the appeals court decision, Marcoccia
can go ahead with the demolition, said his lawyer, Robert Tisdell.
Ryan Janowski, Marcoccia's son-in-law, is handling the
lease of the building for Pyramid Brokerage Co.
"(Marcoccia) is looking to redevelop it. That building
needs to be torn down," Janowski said.
Marcoccia said it's not economically feasible to
renovate the fire-damaged building at 836 Butternut St., the former location
of Kacey's and Kress drugstores. The first floor of the brick building has
been vacant since 1996; the top two floors, which contained apartments, have
been vacant since the 1960s.
Marcoccia said he wants to bring in a company that will
serve the community but said he has no definite plans for the property.
"We could have had it all done if it weren't for the
Preservation Association," he said.
The association says it has few options left for saving
"We're concerned that (the ruling) gives carte blanche
to people who look at property as a clean slate and don't consider the
importance of historic resources," association board member Joanne Arany
In 1999, the Common Council designated the building as
a protected historic site under the city's historic-preservation ordinance.
Marcoccia bought the building after the designation and then sought a
demolition permit, saying that renovating it would be an economic hardship.
The city Planning Commission granted permission for the demolition in March
The preservation group went to court to challenge the
city's decision, saying Marcoccia knew that the property was designated as a
protected site before he bought it. Last year, state Supreme Court Justice
James McCarthy decided in favor of Marcoccia, the decision that was upheld
on appeal in Rochester.
Association President J.A. Evangelisti said there were
not many services available to encourage private owners to renovate historic
properties. Bringing a building into compliance with current city codes is
difficult and "prohibitively expensive," Evangelisti said.
One of the association's goals is to simplify the
city's property codes and provide better incentives for property owners who
want to redevelop a historic site.
"The current solutions (for code compliance) are very
expensive. We do not want to sacrifice public safety by simplifying the
codes, but we do want to open the door for more creative ways to meet those
codes' requirements," Arany said.
Copyright (c) 2000 The Herald Company