December 20, 2014

Polaris To Bid On Historic Carnegie Library

syracuselib5 Polaris To Bid On Historic Carnegie LibraryILS provider Polaris is hoping to make the former home of the Syracuse Public Library its new headquarters, the Central New York Post-Standard reported. The 107 year old building is a former Carnegie Library adjacent to Columbus Circle in downtown Syracuse, an area surrounded by several other historic buildings, including the Onondaga County Court House and two nineteenth-century English Gothic Revival cathedrals. The move would also put the company minutes away from Syracuse University and its School of Information Studies.

Polaris will be part of a competitive bid process, so the deal is uncertain at this point, Polaris President and CEO Bill Schickling told LJ. But he added that the company is excited about the possibility, and hoping that its role as a local, library-focused business will give it an edge.

The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council has taken a positive view as well, requesting a $150,000 state grant and recommending that Polaris qualify for $850,000 in state tax credits for the move and expansion, according to the Post-Standard‘s report.

The three-story, 53,000 square foot structure is significantly larger than the company’s current headquarters in nearby Liverpool, NY. But, as Schickling noted during a presentation at last week’s annual Polaris Users Group conference, they’ve been growing rapidly in recent years. The company has added 14 new staff members since 2011, and now has almost 100 employees.

Built in 1905, with a $200,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie, the library served as the main branch of the Syracuse Library System and later the Onondaga County Library system until 1988, when Onondaga opened a larger central library nearby, according to the Post-Standard. The building was vacant through 1996, when it was acquired by a local development corporation and underwent a $3.6 million renovation before being leased to the city’s school district, which used it for a business education program and later a program for students with behavioral problems. The school district’s lease expired last year, and the building, with ownership reverted to the county, is once again vacant. The city recently assessed its value at $2.6 million.

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (menis@mediasourceinc.com; @matthewenis on Twitter) is Associate Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

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