Tear it Down or Fix it Up? Building "with house on the roof" up for sale

Syracuse's Penfield Manufacturing building has gained wide recognition for its unique Victorian style house on the roof. In reality, the structure was built simply to house the 5 story factories elevator motor. (Brett Hall/CNYCentral)

An old factory known for having the "house on the roof" is again up for sale, looking for a committed owner now more than ever.

JF Real Estate is now marketing the half-dozen buildings, known collectively as the Penfield Building, for $1.6 million. The complex is 210,000 square feet of space off North Salina Street on the north side of Syracuse. The majority of the buildings were constructed in the 1890s and were used continuously up until late 2005. The last tenant manufactured mattresses and box springs.

"It's time to take this building to the next level," Martin McDermott, Senior Vice President of JF Real Estate said. "We've gotten some good reaction and we hope to have something positive here by the end of the year."

However, several within the community say time is of the essence.

"It's a great piece of local history," Kirt Spurchise said. As a local history buff, Spurchise contacted with concerns over the buildings current condition saying "it's in really bad shape."

Aside from countless broken windows and some graffiti, in 2014 a wall collapse on the Park Street side of the building sent bricks falling to the sidewalk below. The City of Syracuse closed off a section of the sidewalk and cited the structure.

"Its a concern," Ken Towsley, Director of Codes for the City of Syracuse, said. "We do monitor it every three to four weeks."

Towsley said violations issued by the city about the structural soundness and blight on the property were constructively received by building owner Yiorgos Kyriakopoulos. Kyriakopoulos had purchased the property for $200,000 in 2012 with hopes of remodeling the facility for apartments and retail stores.

"He did what he could to try to shore up the property," Towsley said. However, tragically Kyriakopoulos passed away over the summer in a car accident. "We send our deepest condolences to the family," Towsley said. "Now on the business side of thing, we are trying to figure out who he left it to, if anybody, and try to figure out the new owners, if there is, what they want to do with the property going forward."

Kyriakopoulos's daughter has control of the estate now according to McDermott. He does not think the building is in any jeopardy as a whole.

"Two small cracks in the wall that are falling is not indicative of the overall structure of the building that is really sound," Mcdermott said. "This is certainly a fix it up."

A caretaker has been hired to keep up the property and address all violations McDermott said.

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