John Berry / The Post-Standard
Scott Jones (left), of Cazenovia, and Tim Yousey work on the windows of the building at 401 First St. in Liverpool, which is being converted into office space and apartments.
Liverpool, NY -- A historic building in the village of Liverpool is undergoing $1.8 million worth of renovations and will soon house nine $1,000-a-month luxury apartments and commercial space. JGB Properties LLC, which purchased the site in 2007, recently began work on the building at 401-403 First St., said Christine Stevens, project manager.
“The village has a strong desire to restore our historical buildings and we’re really excited about this project,” said Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor Nick Kochan. As part of Liverpool’s revitalization plan, the village was able to help secure an $883,302 grant from the state to help finance the project.
The grant was part of the Restore New York Communities Initiative program, which awarded $14.9 million to Central New York projects in September 2009. Restore New York provides municipalities with financial assistance for revitalization of commercial and residential properties. Without this grant, the renovations would not have happened, Stevens said.
“We consider this building to be an icon of the old historic village, so everyone wanted to see the building saved, but the finances were too challenging.” Stevens said. “We were overjoyed when we were awarded the grant money.”
Stevens, who grew up in Liverpool, said she is personally connected to the project. “When JGB bought the building they ran an ad that they were going to put apartments in the building,” she said. “I called the number because I wanted to know more about the project.”
The conversation led to a job offer and Stevens, who had lived away from CNY for 20 years, moved to Syracuse and took the job. “I just wanted to know more about the project,” she said. “I didn’t expect a job offer. I guess I’m just very lucky. I love my job.”
Stevens, who has worked with JGB for two years, said she always thought the building should be restored. “I remember shopping here when I was a child,” Stevens said. “There weren’t that many historic buildings and as a child I thought it was old and beautiful.”
Several businesses, including clothing stores, antiques shops and an automotive dealership, have operated out of the building. The building, which was built in two phases between 1863 and 1872, is one of the few remaining structures from Liverpool’s original business district that grew to serve the salt industry and the traffic on the Oswego Canal.
When Jay Bernhardt, the owner of JGB, purchased the building, it was in poor condition. The second and third floors had been neglected for decades. The village changed zoning to mixed-use, which allows residential and commercial use.
The project should be completed by July or August, Stevens said. JGB is already looking for tenants for the one-bedroom apartments and two commercial spaces, which will be available for lease. Each space is about 760 square feet and can be built to suit. Stevens said the rent for the apartments will be about $1,000 a month.
JGB has rehabilitated several other historic properties in Central New York, including the Red Mill Inn in Baldwinsville, the Hotel Clarence in Seneca Falls and an old fire station in Syracuse.
John Berry / The Post-Standard
The building at 401 First St. in Liverpool is being converted into office space and apartments. It's one of the few remaining structures from Liverpool’s original business district that grew to serve the salt industry and the traffic on the Oswego Canal.