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Downtown Syracuse
Alternative Name: (none)

Location in Syracuse
Annexed -
Population (2000) 2,444
Median age 31.5
Median household income $9,940
Owner-occupied housing 1.4%
ZIP codes 13202, 13206
Downtown Syracuse is the economic center of Syracuse, New Yorkmarker, and Central New York, employing over 30,000 people, and housing over 2,000. It is also one of the 26 officially recognized neighborhoods of Syracuse.

History

Downtown Syracuse, as the rest of the city, grew as a result of the city's salt industry and its location on the Erie Canal. For over a century it was also the retail and entertainment center of Central New York with large department stores such as Chappell's, The Addis Co., Flah's, E.W. Edwards, Woolworth's, Grant's, Lincoln Stores, The Mohican, David's, Kresgee's, Clark Music Co., Dey Brothers, and Sibley's. This attribute began to fade with development of large suburban malls, with the final blow coming in 1992 when the combined Addis & Dey's department store became the last major store to leave downtown. Today Downtown Syracuse is an economic center, with many insurance companies, banks, and law firms having a large presence there.

Since the late 1980s Downtown Syracuse has also increasingly become a nightlife center, with many bar, clubs, restaurants, and pubs being located in the Armory Squaremarker area. Most of Syracuse's cultural festivals, such as Oktoberfest and Festa Italiana also take place downtown. The Downtown Committee of Syracuse has also taken a great deal of effort to revitalize the area, and most sidewalks and streetlights have been restored in the past 15 years, with maps and other information posted on many street corners. Today downtown is lively on weekdays, but, with the exception of the three main Squares: Armory, Hanover, and Clinton, it is very dormant on weeknights and weekends.

Future

The Hotel Syracuse Project

In 2004 Downtown Syracuse suffered a major blow when the potentially 790-room Hotel Syracuse closed. It had been operating in bankruptcy, renting a limited number of rooms and had been open continuously since 1922. Its closing leaves only two hotels downtown, both newly renovated, plus one more, opened in October 2005. Onondaga Countymarker plans to have a new 16-floor hotel built for its Oncenter Complexmarker. This had originally been planned in the late 1980s when the convention center was built.

Also in December 2004 the city announced that a million-dollar payment by the chief creditor of the Hotel Syracuse would settle the unpaid property taxes dispute, thereby emerging the hotel from bankruptcy. In August 2005 an Israeli firm named GMUL, agreed to buy and renovate both the Hotel Syracuse and its garage into a new four star hotel and condos. More detailed plans became public that December, listing the following plans for the complex:

  • 54 condominiums (including four penthouses) with a price range of $360,000 to $450,000
  • 155-room business hotel
  • 150 Apartments
  • Restoration of banquet facilities and street-level store-fronts
  • Rehabilitation of the complexes parking garage
  • Pool and gym


In May 2006, the Hotel Syracuse project was sold to another Israeli company called AMERIS Holdings Ltd as part of a larger package deal which included this and other assets acquired from GMUL. AMERIS Holdings Ltd, controlled by the Levi Kushnir and his son Elad, has a large portfolio of development across the globe and specifically in the USA.

The owners have recently stated that they have reconfigured some of the previous plans. Rather than selling condominiums in the tower, the condo portion of the project will be shifted into the historic building. The overall programming has not changed.

Since the change of ownership in 2006, Ameris Holdings ltd. has reopened the banqueting facilities which have been closed for several years. This is considered a big step in the community as these banqueting facilities have a nostalgic value going back many years. More so, work has begun on the tower (now being programed into luxury rental apartments), the garage has been fully renovated (Opened Sep 1 2007), and the complex has hosted some large scale events including the Syracuse Film Festival in April 2007.

In July of this year (07), work has begun on the tower portion of the project. The developer has announced that they expect 75 units to be available on the market by the third quarter of 2008. The building (yet to be formerly named) will include a mix of luxury one and two bedroom apartments and will feature services like a full time doorman, parking, washer dryer in each apartment, stainless steel aplliances and other amenities which the developer believes will draw in the clientele.

Mayor Matt Driscol has publicly committed to turn Onondoga St near the hotel complex into a park as part of the city's efforts to push the development along. The city has sent out a press release in Sep of 07 stating that they plan on finishing the Onondoga St Park in the spring of 08 in order for the completion to coincide with the opening of the tower apartments.

Other projects

A new, large retail/apartment complex was announced in August 2003, but construction on that has not begun either, and was officially put on hold due to lack of funding in December 2004. A scaled-back plan was presented in 2005. It involves replacing six narrow buildings on Salina Street with a new mixed retail/office/residential complex.

The Amos Building at Clinton Square is being renovated to house 19 upscale apartments and an upscale supermarket.

Syracuse University involvement

In December 2005, Syracuse Universitymarker announced it had purchased eleven buildings downtown, and leased another. Hundreds of faculty, staff, and students will begin to use these buildings beginning spring 2006. SU's chancellor, Nancy Cantor's motto is "Exploring the Soul of Syracuse." The university and the city are working on a project called the "Connective Corridor," a special path from SU to Armory Squaremarker. The main building of SU downtown is The Warehouse.

References

  1. Knauss, Tim (Dec. 16, 2005). "Condos, ballrooms for Hotel Syracuse". The Post-Standard, p. A1.
  2. Moriarty, Rick (Nov. 23, 2005). "Downtown grocery store set to open in 3 months". The Post-Standard, p. A1.


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