On the corner of South Onondaga Street and South Avenue sits a 120-year-old historic mansion that has been vacant for years. Pathfinder Bank purchased the property in November 2018 and plans to restore the mansion into a fully functional retail bank branch, making this their second location within downtown Syracuse and twelfth throughout the CNY region.

Pathfinder asked VIP to explore initial design concepts for the renovation. In order to make the design happen, VIP’s architects and engineers needed to document the existing building. With 3D laser scanning and drone mapping equipment, the team utilized Scan-to-BIM technology and was able to transform their scanned data into a 3D model and working drawings.

Shortly after the project got started, it was discovered that the property is historically recognized; meaning each aspect of the renovation must comply with historic renovation guidelines. Our team will work through the Historic Tax Credit process to help the owner identify any potential tax breaks or financial assistance for the project.

Substantial work will be done to the entire site and structure. A complete exterior rehabilitation will celebrate the mansion’s historic fabric and interior elements will be preserved including fireplaces, wainscoting and stained-glass windows. VIP’s team will salvage as many original features as possible while ensuring the code compliance of a modern banking building today.

Pathfinder not only chose this location for the mansion’s beauty, but because they are committed to serving customers with a diverse range of financial backgrounds. Situated in a low-income section of downtown, a mission of the Onondaga Street branch will be to assist and educate Syracuse’s underserved population – including educating the community through free classes and helping people to better understand their finances.

Pathfinder chose to make this an “inclusive community project,” meaning a minority workforce from the surrounding areas will play a “boots on the ground” role in the construction. Pathfinder and VIP will locate and hire these workers who may not otherwise get the opportunity to earn work. Oftentimes it is only through publicly funded jobs where hiring minority workers is a requirement.

The project is still in the early stages of design, and the construction schedule is yet to be determined. VIP worked with Pathfinder on their first downtown Syracuse project in 2014 when they moved into the Pike Block.

Delivery Method: Design-Build
Owner: Pathfinder Bank
Total Size: 4,800 SF
Construction: VIP Structures, Inc.
Architecture: VIP Architectural Associates, PLLC
Engineering: IPD Engineering
Architecture Project Manager: Ed Barry
Client Representative:  Vince Raymond