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Downtown Auburn block's renovation to begin soon, one tenant signed

Downtown Auburn block's renovation to begin soon, one tenant signed


After going through "every inch" of the buildings, KyleCroft Development is ready to begin renovating the Nolan block.

Asbestos abatement at the downtown Auburn buildings — 41, 43-51, and 53 Genesee St. — will take place April 18 through the end of May.

KyleCroft President Grant Kyle said the renovation will cost between $2 million and $2.5 million, and continue for 12 to 18 months. The result will be five storefronts and 14 apartments. 

However, KyleCroft's only current storefront tenant will open this fall, before the rest of the block is finished: Octane Social House. Owned by Rob and Joni Otterstatter, the 2,500-square-foot coffeehouse will also feature 28 self-serve taps of craft beer, a piano lounge, live music, a used book library, two classrooms, a vinyl record lounge, yoga lessons and more. One entrance will be located at 53 Genesee St., next to the Pawn King, but Octane Social House will also occupy the two-story addition to the rear of the building, facing Loop Road. Its opening is scheduled for Oct. 6.

The block's other storefronts will be 1,340, 1,000, 830 and 630 square feet, Kyle said. He hopes to fill them with retailers, eateries and other tenants that could benefit the residents of the Nolan block's apartments, as four of the storefronts can be accessed from a hallway in the building. The hallway will be linked to an elevator KyleCroft is installing to make the building more accessible. The elevator will have entrances on Loop Road and Genesee Street, Kyle said. However, in order to preserve the block's historic character, storefront tenants will have limited signage options, he added.

Eight of the 14 apartments will be 900 to 1,200 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bath, Kyle said. The other six will be 600 to 900 square feet, with one bedroom and one bath. Rent is projected to be $850-$1,500 a month. Amenities will include 33 off-street parking spaces, a 500-square-foot furnished community room with a home theater, and decks for two of the apartments. Kyle also highlighted the block's proximity to downtown businesses, such as the Play Space, whose child-friendly activities could make his apartments attractive to young parents, he said.

Along with Lyons National Bank and Aflac, the Play Space is located in another KyleCroft building: the former HSBC bank next door. KyleCroft completed that project in spring 2017. KyleCroft purchased the two properties within months of each other the year prior. Though renovating the concrete bank pushed back the Nolan block project, Kyle said, the bigger delay was due diligence: floor plans, permits, an asbestos survey and more. The only financial support KyleCroft has received for the project is about $122,000 in tax relief from the Auburn Industrial Development Authority.

"The dollar amount (of the project) warrants that we move carefully with what we're getting into," Kyle said. "We went through every inch of the building getting everything quoted out."

The block takes its name from the Nolan's Shoes store located there until 2004, next to the Nolan's Sporting Goods store where the Pawn King and Year of the Dragon Tattoo are now located. Its storefronts then housed various businesses until the buildings were condemned in 2014. KyleCroft's Nolan Block LLC bought the block for $255,000, according to Cayuga County property records.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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