Upper Floor Reuse - A Guidebook

Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council in partnership with the Preservation League of New York State (PLNYS) recently produced Upper Floor Reuse: A Guidebook for Revitalizing Downtown Buildings. The project was developed for the New York State Department of State with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund.

Click here to view the document.

The Guidebook targets the issue of upper floor vacancy in the higher density “downtown” areas of villages, towns, and cities in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region. While these vacant and underutilized upper floors create a number of challenges for communities, they also present tremendous potential for redevelopment and downtown revitalization.

A wide range of topics are presented in the Guidebook associated with upper floor revitalization, including: opportunities for reuse and associated benefits; barriers to redevelopment; revitalization methods; community, downtown and waterfront development; planning processes; zoning and historic preservation law; New York State Building Code; design considerations; and funding. Case studies were also developed to highlight success stories and examples of revitalization techniques.

The intent of the Guidebook is to introduce and simplify a variety of complex issues and concepts related to upper floor revitalization to a wide audience of stakeholders. This audience could include: mayors; supervisors; municipal boards; code enforcement and zoning enforcement officers; other government officials; building owners; business owners; developers; investors; downtown stakeholders; community leaders; advocates; and other professionals.

The Upper Floor Reuse project also included two training sessions at G/FLRPC’s Local Government Workshop, which were held in order to explain upper floor issues and strategies and encourage the use of the Guidebook. Presentation topics included: Sources and Strategies: Funding for Downtown Conversion Projects in Historic Buildings; Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again; Preservation and the 2010 Code for Existing Buildings; The Guidebook for Regional Upper Floor Revitalization; NYS Model Local Preservation Law: Serving Your Community Development Goals; Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits: What They Are and How and Where They Work; Look At The Building Codes Before You Leap Into Renovating An Upper Floor; Living on Main Street; Main Street LLC: Community Entrepreneurism and the Case for Private Sector Rehab; and R.H. Newell Building Case Study, Medina, New York.

G/FLRPC and PLNYS would like that thank everyone who contributed to this project, including: the Village of Palmyra, who was the grant recipient; all of the presenters at the Local Government Workshop training sessions; and the Project Advisory Committee.