The Downtown Committee of Syracuse says more than $650 million has been pumped into downtown over the past decade, and the number of residents living in the city center is up a whopping 77 percent.
The committee held a “Progress Breakfast Series” Thursday to discuss how downtown activities affect Syracuse. Spokesperson Merike Treier says that just like the foresight of saving the Hotel Syracuse and developing Armory Square, everyone needs to focus next on what replaces Interstate 81 through Syracuse.
“Connect our neighborhoods by improving accessibility. Provide the least disruptive construction schedule to our businesses, employees, residents and visitors. And, be the most fiscally sustainable solution for our community, fostering a vibrant urban center. To achieve our best future, we all need to be engaged.”
Treier suggests the Community Grid option. On Friday, the organization plans to announce the winners of more than $450,000 in grant funds for further development. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is eager to see more projects, but also says his administration will be looking closely at market conditions.
“We want to make sure we have mixed uses, so we’re not overly dependent on one particular use. We also want to make sure, as it relates to the residential, that it’s accessible. So, we have a lot of market rate apartments. We don’t have as many that are affordable. So mixed income, mixed use are really the priority going forward.”
Businesses also continue to relocate to Downtown Syracuse. O’Brien and Gere CEO Jim Fox says the company was preparing a new office and then the recession hit.
“There was some risk associated with the move, and to see what has evolved and what has changed since 2010 to now is fantastic. I mean, it’s just been tremendous. The city is making great progress, and it’s gotten stronger and stronger every year that we’ve been downtown."
The Red House Arts Center is also transforming the old Sibley’s department store building that closed in the 1980s on Salina Street. They’ve already noticed new foot traffic outside and people wanting to take a peek inside of a building they may have never entered.