Near Westside resident and developer Rick Destito will join us on Thursday, March 19th at 7 pm for the Strathmore Speaker Series’ “Near Westside – by Choice!” event.
Rick grew up in Central New York and studied construction management at SUNY Canton, graduating in 1998. After graduation, he spent several years traveling the country before relocating to Syracuse in 2001.
Rick initially focused his restoration on local homes, before purchasing the 65,000 sq. ft. Gear Factory building at the corner of Fayette and Geddes streets in 2005. The building, which was designed by famed industrial architect Albert Kahn, had once produced auto parts and mortar shells, but by 2005 was crumbling and abandoned.
Rick immediately set about out renovating the building and reopening it as a space for local artists, musicians, and makers. Today, some 70 people actively use the space including Syracuse’s hottest new business, Borough Furnace.
Future plans for the Factory include converting the basement into music studios, reinstalling the building’s windows, and transforming the upper floors into workspaces, including community spaces where tenants can share larger and more expensive equipment.
The Gear Factory. Photo from SUNY Canton.
In 2008, Rick purchased an 1876 Victorian house at 721 Otisco St. for $1. He spent the next two years and $60,000 transforming the house into a living space for his family. After numerous fires and years of neglect, the house has become a symbol of Rick’s commitment to the Near Westside neighborhood he calls home.
Destito home before and after. Photos from Syracuse.com.