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City marks groundbreaking on minority-led development in Syracuse's South Side

Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens speaks to an audience at Salina 1st's groundbreaking event, June 3, 2022.
Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens speaks to an audience at Salina 1st's groundbreaking event, June 3, 2022.

A groundbreaking on Syracuse’s South Side will bring a new business venture to the under-served community. The upcoming mixed-used project is the city’s first commercial development fully led by a minority team.

The project, known as Salina 1st, will put both retail and residential space on an empty lot along Salina Street. Developer Emanuel Henderson said the project will revitalize the South Side because he hopes it’ll employ residents of the neighborhood and inspire more Black entrepreneurs.

“This is going to be a community project, a project where we can get our kids back dreaming again, saying we can do it," Henderson said.

Interstate 81 that looms through the neighborhood segregated the mostly minority community decades ago. But the recently approved renovation of the higway is bringing hope. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says it’s part of a series of restoration efforts in the community that is timed well with the upcoming Salina 1st project.

“We know there is so much about to happen in this community and in this neighborhood specifically with the removal of Interstate 81 and the redevelopment of the Syracuse housing authority properties,” Walsh said.

Salina 1st is looking not only to address the historic problems in the community but also to tackle modern challenges, such as climate change. Developers Henderson and Eli Smith plan to use net zero energy for both the construction process and the building’s functions. Salina 1st plans to incorporate an efficient, electric heating system in their building and representatives said that it will be a safer place for people with lung issues like asthma.

Smith and Henderson started the project in 2019. Complications due to the pandemic have delayed progress, but Southside Pastor Decarto Draper said he’s excited to finally see construction at the vacant lot.

“I believe in the blessing of bulldozers, whenever you see bulldozers that means growth is taking place. I can't wait for them to start digging holes," Draper said.

The construction should be completed in 2024.