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AmeriCU Credit Union eyes old Salvation Army building

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AmeriCU Credit Union is close to making a deal to purchase the 15,000-square-foot former Salvation Army Building at 913 Arsenal St. in the City Center Industrial Park, sources familiar with the project said.

The credit union plans to relocate its branch at 20991 Route 3 in front of Salmon Run Mall to the site.

Building owner Salvation Army of Syracuse, which moved the thrift store to outer Arsenal Street in 2007, has sought to sell the building ever since, said Maj. Kevin B. Schoch, administrator of the Salvation Army drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Syracuse.

“We’ve been trying to sell the building for four and a half years, and we’re currently working on a deal with” the credit union, Mr. Schoch said. “I’d like to see this deal done as soon as possible.”

Devin A. Dal Pos of Laker Development in Rochester, who has developed Rite Aid stores in the area, and architect Edward Keplinger, Syracuse, met last week with Kenneth A. Mix, the city’s planning and community development coordinator, about the project.

At this point, they have not submitted plans to the city, but Mr. Mix said he expects it will be on the agenda for next month’s city Planning Board meeting. It would have to obtain site plan approval.

“I think they’ll want to be in a hurry” to get the project going, he said.

The old Salvation Army building most likely would be demolished and a new one would be constructed, since the existing one would not accommodate a bank, Mr. Mix said.

A bank would make “a decent fit” for the property, since it’s on a corner and across from the Walgreens pharmacy, Mr. Mix said.

The nearly one-acre site has been on the market for a few years because it is more difficult to sell property the farther it is from Interstate 81, he said.

Although the building was vacated in 2007, the Syracuse Salvation Army has been paying taxes on the property since 2009 because it was tax-exempt for one year before it was added to the tax cycle, City Assessor Brian S. Phelps said. Because of its nonprofit status, the building was tax-exempt when it was occupied by the Salvation Army; it became taxable property again when it was vacated, Mr. Phelps said.

The property is assessed at $1,033,200. The Salvation Army also owns a 0.23-acre parcel next door at 919 Arsenal St., which is assessed at about $20,000.

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