OSWEGO – The Port City celebrated the latest incarnation of the historic Cahill Building on Thursday afternoon.
The Cahill Building, 1 W. Seneca St., is the oldest commercial building in the Port City, Mayor Billy Barlow told the large crowd gathered outside the iconic stone landmark.
Built in 1828, it is now a luxurious residential apartment building in downtown Oswego after being completely rehabilitated by local developer Anthony Pauldine, he added.
A ribbon cutting was held to officially celebrate the rebirth of the Port City landmark.
The Cahill Landing project includes the restoration of the historic Cahill building into an upscale waterfront residential apartment building.
The project was completed in partnership with the city of Oswego, NYS Department of State, Empire State Development, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and local developer Pauldine.
The building had sat vacant and abandon since 2008 after Coleman’s Irish Pub abruptly closed and left the building to fall into disrepair.
Over the years, several grassroots organizations and citizens circulated petitions to save the historic building as its condition continued to deteriorate.
In 2015, Camelot Lodge, LLC, owned by Pauldine, purchased the building and began investing to repair and renovate it.
In 2016, the city of Oswego was one of 10 communities selected for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Round 1.
The Cahill Landing project was identified as one of the priority projects in the Strategic Investment Plan and during the summer of 2017, the project to restore the Cahill building received a $700,000 grant from the city of Oswego’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to fix the existing structure and build an additional building for commercial space on the property, the mayor said. It wasn’t a project that was added after the city won the money; it was one of the main projects in the city’s application, he explained.
The original building now restored consists of 7 upscale residential units, ranging from $2,000 to $2,400 per month. All but two have already been leased.
The additional commercial building is scheduled to open in May 2019.
Pauldine has invested $2.1 million in over three years to bring the deteriorated historic building back to life, Barlow said.
“The Cahill building is an important historic site in the city of Oswego and it is incredible we’ve been able to work with Mr. Anthony Pauldine, secure grant funding and assist with the complete rehabilitation of this important structure,” the mayor said. “This building is so important to so many people here in the city of Oswego, as we saw with the petitions to save the building and the significant amount of public concern over its future.”
“Thanks to Anthony Pauldine and the funding the city of Oswego and the State of New York have been able to provide, we all worked together to keep this building standing and offer quality residential living in one of the most historic and impressive buildings in downtown Oswego,” Barlow continued. “This is a true success story and I am excited to be here to watch the property enter a new chapter as an upscale waterfront residential apartment building.”
As happy and proud of the project, Barlow said he takes a back seat to other people – former Mayor William Cahill who owned the building for several years as a fish market and former Mayor John Sullivan, one of the first tenants in the building.
He praised the hard work Pauldine and his family and crew did to preserve and restore the building.
“We’re celebrating today. But, it took a long tome to get to today,” Barlow said, citing some of the trouble the site suffered before Pauldine took over.
“I just happen to be the mayor of Oswego at the time when everyone is working together,” Barlow said. “It’s a true partnership. When we all work together, projects like this is what happens.”
There were huge holes in the building’s roof on either side “that you could put a Volkswagen in,” Pauldine said. “A wall that is 24 inches thick was out of plumb 30 inches and gravity was doing its job,” he added.
This was his most challenging project of his career, he admitted.
He said he went through phases of “I might be able to do it,” to “I think we can do it,” to “We can do it. I know that we can do it.”
“Being that I was born and raised in Oswego, my heart and soul are here. The majority of our investment has been in the downtown. When the opportunity came up for the Cahill building, we felt our company was the only one that could save it and bring it back to its former glory,” Pauldine said. “It’s been a long three years. The project has truly been a labor of love and I am pleased and honored to have been able to be a part of it. This incredible transformation would not have been possible if not for the continued vision and partnership of Mayor Barlow and other community officials.”
190 years ago this year, the building was erected. The amount of public support was overwhelming, mostly due to the Save the Cahill Building group, the developer said.
“It was the people of Oswego that said, ‘we want to save the building,’” he said, adding that he was grateful for the backing of Pathfinder Bank. His voice cracked with emotion as he cited his family for their support and hard work on the project.
A Brief History
The Walton Willett Stone Store building was constructed in 1828 and is known throughout the region as the former Cahill’s Fish Market (and for a few years, Coleman’s Restaurant).
It was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 as the Walton Willett Stone Store/Cahill’s Fish Market. In 1983 it was added as a historic Oswego landmark by the Heritage Foundation,
The building originally built in 1828, located on block 12 of the intersection of West Seneca and Water streets, in the heart of, what was at the time, a booming commercial port on Lake Ontario.
Over the years, it has been home to a multitude of businesses including a ship chandlery, newspaper office, customs office, steamboat ticket office, warehouse, fish market, and tavern restaurant.
The Cahill family purchased the site in 1945. Theirs was the last commercial fishing venture on this side of the lake. The fish market closed when the Cahills retired.
In 1999, Peter Coleman renovated the building for the purpose of establishing a restaurant.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The reopening of the historic Cahill building is an example of what Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is all about. The restoration of this important building for residential and commercial uses will not only bring new residents and businesses to the city, it will also strengthen the downtown’s unique character and history. Oswego’s rich past is a catalyst for future economic vitality. I congratulate Mayor Barlow and the city of Oswego for this achievement, and we stand ready to continue to support redevelopment of downtowns across New York State.”
Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation at the NYS Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, said: “The NYS and National Registers listed Cahill Building joins hundreds of buildings upstate that have recently been adaptively reused with the assistance of Historic Tax Credits. The completion of this project demonstrates that the assets from our past can create pathways to our future.”