Dey’s Plaza is a five building complex whose main structure was constructed in 1893 for Dey Brothers Department Store. It was designed by noted architect, Archimedes Russell in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, using post and beam construction.
Dey’s was the leading retail store in Syracuse at the time. The first four stories contained sales floors and company offices. The fifth floor was used to store stock. Much of the sixth floor housed the factory of the Dey’s Patents Company, which manufactured timekeeping equipment. Over a 76-year period, the store underwent periodic renovations to expand its footprint and stay contemporary. In 1969, a year-long renovation added 40,000 square feet by connecting the store to adjacent buildings on East Jefferson and South Warren streets.
Also at this time, the entire building façade, including windows, was covered with 66,000 square feet of sparkling white marble and embellished with a large-scale Dey Brothers logo in their signature blue. Store executives claimed, “We wanted a new Dey Brothers look for the 70s and 80s and a downtown store that would be as up-to-the-minute as our two branches.”
The blue logo on white marble was an attempt to move away from institutional colors to something more feminine. After the store’s demise in 1995, the building was converted into a modern office building and the original facade was restored. Today, after another renovation in 2010, the building features upscale residential apartments.
In 1893, Dey Brothers & Co. built their six story store on the corner of S. Salina and E. Jefferson St. It replaced the home of Milton S. Price, the “Merchant Prince.” Price ran his own store located across the street from 1853 until his death in 1889 when the store was taken over by E. W. Edwards and Co. Price’s mansion was characterized as “wedding cake” architecture surrounded by extensive gardens and statuary. The mansion was essentially an extension of its flamboyant owner. He was noted for his propensity to ride his horse through the store’s front doors to call attention to his merchandise.
Milton Price’s home where Dey’s Plaza is currently located
Robert and Donald Dey’s business location was questioned by many residents because of its distance from the city’s business center.
The owners invited the public to its 6th floor (where the Dey Patents Co., manufacturers of time registers was located) for the interesting birdseye view. They stayed to shop and the business flourished until 1992.