Rich & Gardner’s Conversion of the Smith’s Restaurant

In 1883, a warehouse style building was constructed at 500 Erie Boulevard East, in Downtown Syracuse. For most of the building’s life, it was occupied by Smith Restaurant Supply, a local family-owned business selling professional kitchen equipment and houseware. After nearly 80 years of housing Smith Restaurant Supply, the historic building has gone through a conversion and have transformed into affordable luxury lofts. 

This iconic transformation will bring new life to Syracuse’s Erie Boulevard East and is predicated to make the area an up-and-coming real estate hotspot. In collaboration with Matthew Paulus, of Paulus Development, Rich & Gardner has helped in the conversion of the historic Smith Restaurant Supply building into what are now The Smith Supply Warehouse Apartments.

The Rich History Behind the Building

When the three-story building was first built in 1883, it was used to help transfer manufactured goods and raw materials between canal boats and warehouses in Downtown Syracuse. The building was used as a transfer facilitator until the Erie Canal was filled in in the 1920s. After this, 500 Erie Boulevard East became home to two machinery manufacturers, Porter Cable and the H.A. Smith Machinery Company. 

While all of this was going on at 500 Erie Boulevard East, another business was making a name for themselves in Syracuse. Smith Restaurant Supply was becoming an up-and-coming houseware and restaurant supply distributor in the early 20th century.

Smith Restaurant Supply was founded by Polish immigrant Hyman Smith in 1894. The business originally began with Smith selling crockery on the sidewalk in front of his home. As the business gained traction, it became clear that Smith Restaurant Supply needed to relocate to a warehouse. This is how 500 Erie Boulevard East became home to Smith Restaurant Supply.

Smith Restaurant Supply took occupancy over 500 Erie Boulevard East in 1944. The business became so big, that in 1967 they purchased and expanded into the neighboring building. The neighboring building, 506 Erie Boulevard East, was located directly east of 500 Erie Boulevard East and had been constructed in 1897. Since 1967, the two buildings have been connected internally to create one. 

While Smith Restaurant Supply was expanding, so were Syracuse’s highway systems. Interstate 81 was constructed right through the Erie Boulevard East Neighborhood. Most industrial era buildings in the neighborhood were demolished to make room for the interstate, but not Smith Restaurant Supply. In fact, as the decades passed, Smith Restaurant Supply was one of the few Erie Canal and industrial era buildings to remain standing. The building became a tangible reminder of the city’s rich history.

A Rich Past and an Encouraging Future

As technology has advanced, Smith Restaurant Supply has seen a faster turnover with their product. Technology has allowed the business to make quicker sales and use less storage space. As a result, Smith’s great-grandson, John Kuppermann, decided to put the building up for sale in 2014. The company simply no longer needed the two-building space.

Developer, Matthew Paulus, stepped in and devised a plan to transform the historic warehouse into affordable luxury apartments. Paulus joined forces with Rich & Gardner to bring this plan to life.

The rehabilitated building consists of 38 loft-style apartments. The lofts were renovated by Rich & Gardner to provide a luxurious modern feel, while keeping historic elements of the architecture intact.

Rich & Gardner provided a full-service Construction Manager for successful completion of the project. Rich & Gardner also used the Design-Build Method to collaborate with Paulus to create a luxury loft building that emulated his vision.

Construction has been completed and The Smith Supply Warehouse lofts are now available to the public for rent.

The Smith Supply Warehouse Lofts

Each of these 38 loft style apartments are unique and feature authentic elements from the original building such as exposed brick and beams. 

Some of the luxury amenities and architectural features in the newly constructed lofts include: 

  • Original Hardwood Flooring in Some Lofts
  • Original Concrete Flooring in Some Lofts
  • Exposed Beams
  • Exposed Bricks
  • Custom Oversized Windows with Shades
  • Open Floor Plans
  • Gourmet Kitchen
  • Granite Countertops
  • Stainless Steel Appliances
  • Dishwasher
  • Custom Bathrooms, with Walk-In Showers
  • Private In-Loft Laundry for All Residents
  • Resident Controlled Climates
  • Custom California Closets®

Additionally, all of the apartments are available for affordable prices. Rent averages about $1,050 a month and the apartments are only available for people with incomes no greater than 80% of the area’s average median income.

Rich & Gardner is proud to be a part of such a historic project and to collaborate with a growing local company like Paulus Development. The construction services provided by Rich & Gardner are an ode to the city’s rich industrial history. By renovating the warehouse into affordable luxury lofts, the architectural history of the building has been captured and will be able to be enjoyed by all residents of the new Smith Supply Warehouse. 

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