Could Senator Schumer Help Bring a Grocery Store to Downtown Syracuse?

Jul 2, 2014

Senator Chuck Schumer plans to put some pressure on supermarket CEOs to consider a supermarket location in downtown Syracuse to cater to the growing residential population there.
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

  Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of a renaissance. The number of people living downtown continues to grow by double digits each year. But the city is still missing one thing… a full service supermarket. 

Senator Chuck Schumer paid a visit to Syracuse Wednesday announcing his plan to join the city’s effort to bring a supermarket downtown.

“An area that was once a place to clock in and clock out is now home to thousands of people and has a vibrant neighborhood scene. But even with all this exciting residential growth downtown, particularly in Armory Square, residents when you ask them what’s missing here, they would almost universally say a supermarket.”

Schumer hopes to convince the C-E-O’s of major supermarket chains to take a closer look. Three potential candidates are Whole Foods, Tops and The Fresh Market. Syracuse downtown committee director Merike Treier says there is about $40 million-a-year in untapped retail from downtown. Two and a half million dollars could come from supermarket shoppers. She says the city has ongoing conversations with organizations to let them know coming downtown is a profitable move.

“We’ve got more people moving downtown and 99 percent occupancy, 340 new people coming this year. Next year we know of a whole slew of other projects in the pipelines. As we continue to evolve and downtown undergoes this transformation from a nine to five commercial district to a 24 hour neighborhood, there’s an opportunity for someone to step into this role.”

Senator Schumer holds a checklist as a visual aid of things downtown Syracuse has...and doesn't.
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

Senator Schumer was also joined by Mayor Stephanie Miner and Armory Square Developer Bob Doucette. They say with Senator Schumer’s help they can finally put the last piece of the puzzle in place.  Miner notes any viable locations still have to have some dedicated parking, even though the majority of customers might prefer walking to the market.  The Syracuse Real Food Cooperative has also investigated the possibility of opening a satellite location downtown, in addition to its store on Syracuse's east side.