Announcing the 2018 Excellence Award Winners
Former factories with a new lease on life. A historic hotel re-energizing a walkable downtown. “America’s Garden,” recognized for more than a century of leadership in preservation. These are just a few of the Award-winning projects and organizations we are honoring later this month at our annual Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards.
Many of the 2018 award winners took advantage of New York State and Federal Historic Tax Credits to ensure the success of their projects. Tax credits have been instrumental in attracting investment to long-vacant historic properties, from schools to mills and factories. That’s why the League worked so hard this year to extend the New York State Historic Tax Credits beyond their scheduled sunset date of December, 2019.
Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory | Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Co.
League staff visited this 1874 building around the time that Hudson River Housing acquired it, and appreciates the efforts made to retain and restore the salvageable elements. At 21,000 square feet, many felt that project was too small to make use of Historic Tax Credits, but a mixed-use approach has delivered 15 units of green and energy-efficient affordable housing as well as a commercial community hub. In addition, the project has provided much-needed open space and access to Fall Kill Creek. The project has illustrated the role that preservation plays in community development, economic vitality and Main Street revitalization.
Richardson Olmsted Campus | Buffalo, Erie Co.
The towers of the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane are visible from many vantage points around the city, and for more than 40 years, were symbolic of deterioration and abandonment. Now, thanks to the visionary leadership of the Richardson Campus Corporation, this National Historic Landmark is the touchstone of Buffalo’s bright future. One of the largest historic preservation projects in the nation, the Richardson Olmsted Campus Core Project addressed the complexities and challenges of a 145-year old collection of buildings and grounds with professional preservation planning and a dream team of funders, advisors and practitioners. If this first phase of the 3-step plan to restore the entire campus is any indication, the potential is nearly limitless.
Hotel Saranac | Saranac Lake, Franklin Co.
Built in 1927 as a modern hotel for a growing, motoring middle class, the Hotel Saranac towers over the village’s commercial district. In recent years, however, the hotel fell into disrepair and threatened to negate years of efforts to preserve the unique architecture and history of this walkable North Country downtown. The Roedel family, with deep roots in the community, took on this project with an unwavering commitment to historic preservation, beginning with the nomination of the hotel to the National Register. With a combination of Historic Tax Credits, an Empire State Development grant and private investment, Hotel Saranac once again provides first-class accommodations and warm and welcoming event spaces in a historic setting.
Sibley Square | Rochester, Monroe Co.
Opened in 1906, Sibley’s was once the largest department store between New York City and Chicago. Generations of Rochester residents and visitors have fond memories of the store’s holiday window displays which attracted crowds to this center city location. The store closed in 1989. In 2013, WinnCompanies began its largest preservation and reuse project to date, revitalizing 1.1 million square feet of space as a mixed-income, mixed-use development, incorporating commercial, residential, educational and recreational elements in a historic setting. Sibley Square demonstrates the power of partnership among government, educational institutions and the private-sector development community.
R.E. Dietz Lantern Factory | Syracuse, Onondaga Co.
This project used State and Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to breathe new life into a 200,000+ square foot building that once housed the R.E. Dietz Company, a manufacturer of lanterns and other lighting products sold around the world. Once a thriving anchor of the Park Avenue neighborhood, the company closed the factory in 1992 and the building and its surroundings began to decline. After extensive renovation, the building offers 92 modern luxury lofts and 50,000 square feet of commercial space. From lanterns to lofts, the R.E. Dietz Lantern Factory has already proven to be a catalyst, attracting new residents and businesses while greening the neighborhood and the adjacent Leavenworth Park.
John Jermain Memorial Library | Sag Harbor, Suffolk Co.
We applaud the board and community’s decision to restore and expand this historic and monumental library, repairing its eroded neo-classical façade, crumbling bricks, leaking Guastavino dome and stained glass laylight, and health and safety code concerns. Despite the lengthy fundraising and rehabilitation process, project leaders forged ahead. Now, a new fully-accessible glass addition embraces the building on its tightly constrained site, while the original building’s historic fabric – including bookshelves, furniture and hardware – have been restored to their late-Gilded Age glory.
Tapestry on the Hudson | Troy, Rensselaer Co.
It gives us great pride to see one of the Preservation League’s 2014 Industrial Heritage Reuse Project study sites live up to – and exceed – expectations. This exemplary project provides 67 desirable one-and two-bedroom apartments and sets a high bar for sustainability, all while preserving and highlighting the building’s history. Coordinated public-private funding and state and local tax credits have breathed new life into a long-darkened building, which now serves as a catalyst and draws investment to the neighborhood. This former shirt collar factory now embraces the future of Troy, providing quality housing, access to fresh local food, and a restored seawall on the Hudson River.
The New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY
The New York Botanical Garden is an iconic living museum, a major educational institution, and a renowned plant research and conservation organization. Founded in 1891 and now a National Historic Landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world and the largest in any city in the United States. It is also a leader in historic preservation, with a peerless commitment to its iconic buildings and grounds. Four key efforts illustrate the Garden’s dedication to preservation: the restoration of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in 1997; the expansion and restoration of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library in 2002; the restoration of the Lillian and Amy Goldman Stone Mill and historic landscape in 2010; and the restoration of more than 150 acres of historic landscapes and living collections over some three decades
Our annual statewide awards celebrate the completion of outstanding restoration projects; validate the work of organizations; encourage advocates to continue their pursuits; and elevate the visibility of projects that serve as inspiration to others.