5:09pm

Thu June 28, 2012
Regional Coverage

More improvement predicted for downtown Syracuse

Downtown Syracuse is benefiting from an increase in investments and an uptick in young people wanting to live in urban settings, according to the Downtown Committee.

The Downtown Committee, a booster organization for the city's urban core, held its annual meeting Thursday to highlight several recent and about-to-begin projects in the city.

The committee says downtown Syracuse is in the midst of $265 million worth of development, including a new Armory Square hotel and the Pike Block project on the corner of Fayette and Salina Streets.

"I think 'transforming' is really the word," says Lisa Romeo, spokeswoman for the Downtown Committee. "When people come to downtown Syracuse, it literally looks different every time they’re here. There are new buildings being built, it’s more vibrant."

Urban fabric

There are also several projects underway to better link the University Hill neighborhood with downtown, and that has Bill Fulton excited.

Fulton is the vice president of Smart Growth America and was the keynote speaker at the Downtown Committee's meeting.

Projects like the Connective Corridor and the renovation of Presidential Towers by Upstate University Hospital, he says, are helping with that connectivity.

"The urban fabric of downtown Syracuse has always been very strong," says Fulton, a central New York native. "It’s been sometimes difficult to fill in the gaps between downtown and University Hill. So when you begin to see the new Upstate residential tower, it helps to fill in the gaps in that urban fabric."

Nationwide, cities are currently growing faster than their suburban surroundings, according to Fulton. He says improved cultural attractions in Syracuse will help bring even more people in.

But he does warn big changes will take time to come to fruition.

"If you expect all this to magically transform everything tomorrow, it's not going to do it," Fulton says. "It should help to set the table for more private development to take advantage of the demographic change [of cities]."