Lifestyle

Old Factory Space has ‘Peaceful, Calming Vibe’

Brick walls and wood ceilings.

One of Solon Quinn’s favorite things about his Nettleton Commons apartment is the light.

“You get the light from all different directions here,” he said.

That includes the late afternoon light that warms the brick walls and wood ceilings.

Quinn, managing partner, writer, editor and director at Solon Quinn Studios, has lived in the former shoe factory for two years, he said. About a year ago, he moved from a smaller apartment in the building into his space on the third floor.

“I like that the building has a familial environment,” he said. “It’s not cold. It’s not corporate.”

Apartments at Nettleton Commons, a former shoe factory, have exposed brick walls and wood ceilings. Gloria Wright Photo | Syracuse New Times

Apartments at Nettleton Commons, a former shoe factory, have exposed brick walls and wood ceilings.
Gloria Wright Photo | Syracuse New Times

Nettleton Commons, 313 E. Willow St., was once a shoe factory bounded by Pearl and State streets. Built around 1882, the building housed the A.E. Nettleton Shoe Co. until 1984. In 1988, the building was renovated by architects Holmes King Kallquist & Associates into commercial space on the lower floors with apartments above.

The renovation kept as much of the original building as possible. Each apartment has exposed brick walls and wood beams or ceilings. There are 61 apartments in the building, “and 60 of them are all different from each other,” said building manager Steven West.

“This building was the epitome of style at that time. … Now, it’s a little dated,” he said.

Some apartment floors, including Quinn’s, have been updated, with wood laminate replacing carpet.

“We haven’t gotten to the kitchen or bathrooms,” West said.

But Quinn is not concerned whether the kitchen has granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

“I don’t think it’s dated,” he said. “I think it has a peaceful, calming vibe to it.”

Nettleton Commons is also a “straight shot” to Quinn’s business in The Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St. Quinn and two partners have a film and video production company whose clients include the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Destiny USA, CenterState CEO, Say Yes to Education Syracuse and Syracuse University, among others. The videos are edited in Quinn’s apartment in a work space dominated by multiple computer screens.

Quinn, 30, a graduate of Nottingham High School, returned to Syracuse after graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His parents live in DeWitt, an environment their son isn’t interested in.

A three-quarters wall divides the living area from the bedroom in an apartment at Nettleton Commons. Gloria Wright Photo | Syracuse New Times

A three-quarters wall divides the living area from the bedroom in an apartment at Nettleton Commons.
Gloria Wright Photo | Syracuse New Times

“I prefer to be down here. There’s more character here,” he said. “I like being in the middle of downtown.”

Rents range from $700 a month for a studio to $1,350 for a two-bedroom apartment, including heat and air conditioning, West said.

“It depends on the size and the finishes,” he said.

Each apartment comes with one space in the gated parking lot.

“This building is its own neighborhood,” West said.

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