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Judge orders sale of Skyline and two other Green National properties

A large red brick apartment building with numerous windows
Geoffrey Goose
The 12-story Skyline Apartments complex includes 363 units at its James Street location in Syracuse, N.Y.

Tenants of the Skyline and other apartment buildings owned by Green National are cautiously optimistic after a judge ordered their neglected properties be sold to a Chicago-based firm. Residents made their way to the county courthouse in downtown Syracuse Friday to hear what's next for their homes that the current landlord failed to care for.

Onondaga County Supreme Court Justice Danielle Fogel ordered Skyline Apartments, along with two other James Street properties, to be sold to Clear Investment Group.

Susan Katzoff, corporation counsel for the city of Syracuse, which filed suit again Green National for the unfit conditions at its apartments, said she’s optimistic about the new owner's ability to fix lingering problems.

“I think that the manager has presented credentials that indicate this is what they do for a living, and that they have the wherewithal to correct the code violations, and that’s what they’re going to be mandated to do," Katzoff.

Katzoff said if Clear Investment does not follow through, the city has the option to place the properties in the hands of a receiver. The new company takes over March 31.

Juanita Nanowsky, a resident of Green National's Chestnut Crossing on James Street, said she is encouraged by what a new owner might bring.

“The new owners are sharp. They said they had a plan," Nanowsky said. "The examined all the apartments. They have some knowledge.”

JoAnn Smith, who lives down the street at Skyline, said she hopes things improve.

JoAnn Smith holds up a letter she received from Lifestyle Apartments. She says it's not clear who they're affiliated with.
Scott Willis
JoAnn Smith holds up a letter she received from Lifestyle Apartments. She says it's not clear who they're affiliated with.

“All I want them to do is fix s***. I mean, just fix it. I’m paying my rent," Smith said. "And better communication. If I have a problem, I should be able to call the office and get a response.”

Right now, Smith said that isn’t the case. She said she has a disability, and needs to use unreliable elevators to make a personal visit to the office to request service.

Fellow Skyline tenant Larry Fuller said he hopes renovation plans under the tentative owner aren’t too disruptive.

“I’m worried things aren’t going to be repaired the way they should be," Fuller said. "I’m worried that we’re all going to be told that we have to move so they can do the renovations. Where are you supposed to move in the city? There isn’t that many places that are safe.”

The judge also placed the Vincent, locatedin the city’s Outer Comstock neighborhood, in receivership through June, but it isn't clear where funding will come from to cover the estimated $1.5 million cost to begin cleaning up the property and making improvements. Clear Investment Group is also interested in purchasing that property.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at