Mayro Building receives $4M for rehab
UTICA — The City of Utica and a development group have received a $4 million award to renovate and restore the historic Mayro Building — on the corner of Bank Place and Genesee Street — as a part of New York State’s Restore New York grant program.
Lahinch Group, a Syracuse-based development firm, received the grant from Empire State Development, and will gut the historical building and refurbish it into a mixed-use building, that will hold 47 market-rate apartments, office space and retail storefronts.
The Mayro Building, at 8 Bank Place, was built in 1915. It has held many stores and restaurants in Utica, but over the years it has become run down and is in need of significant reinvestment. In 2021, Lahinch bought the building, and all the businesses that were located in it had to vacate because of environmental issues.
Utica Mayor Robert M. Palmieri highlighted collaborations, which we said were essential to the project, with the Utica Common Council, Gov. Kathy Houchul’s office, state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, the Lahinch Group, Empire State Development and others.
“When you have the partnerships that we have, on both sides of the aisle, the support from [Empire State Development], the support from the governor’s office, I think factually, you’ve seen the positive things that have happened with the city. It’s a great city,” Palmieri said.
Allison Madmoune, deputy director at Empire State Development, said that this project has received a Special Project Designation because of the building’s high visibility and its depressing effect on the economic development of the community.
“Utica’s Mayro Building checks all of the boxes of the program and the Special Project Designation,” Madmoune said. “We’re removing blight, we’re reinvigorating the downtown, we’re generating economic opportunity and we’re leveraging private sector investment.”
Lahinch Group founder Joe Gehm said the demolition and abatement of the building will begin this year, in 60–75 days, with construction being finished in the spring of 2024. The total project will cost $20 million.
“We look forward to getting a shovel in the ground in spring, and welcome you all back next year to see the new Mayro building,” Gehm said.
“This building is going to get ripped down to the studs. It’s going to have all new mechanicals, electric, plumbing, a new roof. There’s over 250 windows that need to be replaced,” he added.
Gehm said the first floor of the building will hold commercial retail locations facing Genesee Street, and restaurants on Bank Place, and floors two through six will be the apartments. He said he’d like to be able to close Bank Place on weekends for the restaurants to offer outdoor seating and unique events.
The Lahinch Group has worked on two other projects in Utica; the Utica Travelers Building at 70 Genesee St. and the Utica Steam Cotton Mill at 600 State St.
Griffo also emphasized the importance of the collaborations that have allowed this project, along with other restoration projects in Utica, to take place. “That’s why you see some of the transformational projects you’re seeing right now. … Those that I think really have had a long-lasting impact and impression on those who live here, as well as those who will be visiting here and encourage more people to take advantage of the opportunity that’s being presented to them now,” Griffo said.
Palmieri said that projects like the Mayro Building and others that bring residential, retail and restaurants, are necessary for making people want to live in Utica, as opposed to a larger city.
“The difference between a big city and the City Utica is that we still have that community feel,” Palmieri said. “And you’re not going to get that in a huge city.”
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