Auburn DRI Rudolph Building Ribbon Cutting
December 17, 2021


Mixed-Use Development at 99 Genesee Street in the Heart of Auburn Offers Commercial Space and Residential Apartments
Downtown Revitalization Initiative Funds Key Catalytic Projects to Revitalize Auburn

The New York State Department of State (DOS) today announced the completion of a $572,000 mixed-use building project in the heart of the City of Auburn. Funded in part through the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in 2018, the renovated Rudolph Building will bring new life to the downtown by re-activating its historic first floor retail space and creating upper-story housing.

“From vacancy to vibrancy, the Auburn Downtown Revitalization Initiative transformed a vacant, deteriorating building into a real community asset in the heart of downtown,” said Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “Historic buildings like the Rudolph have meaning beyond their bricks and mortar, and the revitalization of this legacy building with commercial and residential offerings will be key to the future prosperity of Auburn. This is the latest example of how the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is breathing new life into historic buildings to usher in new eras for downtowns throughout New York.”

The conversion of the Rudolph Building into a mixed-use development across from the Auburn Public Theater will help bring people to the downtown area and expand pedestrian traffic into the commercial area. The renovation project, which received a $172,800 DRI grant, included the restoration of the ground floor retail space, the installation of a sprinkler system and new electrical and plumbing, renovations to apartments and other interior upgrades and facade improvements. The retail shop houses Rudolph’s Sugar Shack, an ice cream and candy store that opened at the end of November.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "Reimagining the Rudolph Building in downtown Auburn adds a mixed-use space for businesses and housing at the city’s center. This project reflects how the DRI continues to transform New York State downtowns through strategic investments that both preserve history and look to the future."

Senator John W. Mannion said, "I'm thrilled to see the vision for Auburn's Downtown become a reality. The renovations at the Rudolph Building will bring new vibrancy to Auburn's already charming streetscape while supporting economic activity and quality of life. I'm looking forward to visiting Rudolph's Sugar Shack and I extend my congratulations to the city officials and stakeholders who developed and executed this winning plan. I've been to Auburn with Governor Kathy Hochul - she knows and cares about the city and I thank her for her commitment to Central New York."

Senator Pam Helming said, “Congratulations to Mayor Quill and the City of Auburn, and to Dawn and Marc Schulz, whose commitment and investment has given new life to an iconic downtown building. We know that rehabbing older buildings requires a lot of hard work and capital. Thank you to the Schulz family, the City, and all those involved in preserving the Rudolph Building, honoring its history, and transforming it into a place of pride on Genesee Street. Thank you to New York State for supporting the revitalization of our downtowns, which are the heart and soul of our communities.” 

Assemblymember John Lemondes said, “Seeing this project come to fruition after a truly challenging year for us all is a proud moment for the City of Auburn. I want to thank all who helped make this project a reality for their dedication to our community and for believing in the potential of Auburn and its residents.”

Auburn Mayor Michael D. Quill said, “Auburn has had great success with the Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant and we are excited to be celebrating our fourth DRI ribbon cutting of the year. The Rudolph’s Building has been completely restored from top to bottom and the DRI made the difference. We thank the Schulz’s for their investment in our downtown and thank Governor Hochul for her constant support of revitalization for upstate cities such as Auburn.”

Named a Round 3 winner in July 2018, Auburn is the second largest city in the Central New York region. Recent public and private investment, local planning efforts, and capital infrastructure projects have catalyzed the city's downtown redevelopment.

The Auburn Strategic Investment Plan is guiding revitalization projects to advance the community's vision for its downtown and to leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. The DRI investment area is focused along the City's riverfront, transportation corridors and arts district, which provide the greatest potential for vacant property revitalization and corridor enhancement. The City is seeking to keep the momentum of recent development going by mending a historic downtown damaged by urban renewal and revitalizing vacant brownfield and riverfront properties.

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative launched in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment. Led by the Department of State, the initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation, bringing with it an interagency team of state experts to support local government capacity in realizing their community's vision.

In the first four years of the program, the state committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. The fifth round of the DRI is completing an additional $200 million commitment in 2021. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Each community is awarded at least $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization and leverage additional private and public investments.

Downtown redevelopment plays a critical role in the State's nation-leading efforts to support sustainable economic development, reverse climate change, and promote climate justice by creating walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible communities that significantly reduce automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions. The DRI also supports the State's Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NY initiative by creating more opportunities for outside recreation and exercise; offering safe, accessible public spaces for social interaction, which improves mental health; and expanding access to fresh, nutritious food, particularly in underserved communities.   

The initiative is headed by New York State Department of State. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and Homes and Community Renewal.