downtown Syracuse

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The University Hill section of Syracuse is home to two colleges, three hospitals and several businesses that support them. It’s also a quarter of Syracuse’s economy.

There's $650 million worth of investment underway on the hill, according to Dave Mankiewitz, president of the University Hill Corporation.

The University Hill Corporation has been advised that Interstate 81 needs to be removed for the neighborhood to thrive. But the group is waiting to weigh in on the project.

Less than two weeks ago, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed to help attract a grocery store to Syracuse’s Armory Square neighborhood. Monday, he announced that the trendy organic grocer Whole Foods has returned his call.

“They are interested in Armory Square. And they are going to visit -- myself, the mayor and representatives of Whole Foods -- in the fall,” said the senator.

Schumer says one thing that has grabbed Whole Foods attention is that the only other store in upstate New York, in Albany, has exceeded its sales projections.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The City of Syracuse has used legal channels to take control of the Hotel Syracuse after several efforts to redevelop the historic downtown lodging site have failed.

Syracuse and its economic development arm, the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, transferred title of the property to the site's developer, Ed Riley.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As the number of people living downtown continues to grow, so does the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says he can help lure one to the central business district.

Schumer says the heads of major chains will listen to him. He's reaching out to a number of chains, like Tops and Whole Foods, to try to convince them to locate downtown.

Many officials and residents say that as the neighborhood become more residential, a place to buy groceries is needed.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of a multi-million dollar development boom. Much of this development is fueled by people who want to live downtown.

There are signs of construction all along the 300 block of South Salina Street in Syracuse. Downtown Committee executive director Merike Treier says today’s downtown has changed a lot in the last decade.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Downtown Syracuse could gain a grocery store in the near future, thanks to a market from a different part of town.

The Syracuse Real Food Co-op has been a fixture of the University area neighborhood for four decades. And business has been good.

"We do way higher, like four-times, the industry standard for sales-per-square feet. We are literally busting at the seams," said Syracuse Real Food Co-Op General Manager Jeremy DeChario.

Their small space makes growing any more nearly impossible, he said, but the grocery store has set its sights on downtown.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The sports stadium expert advising Syracuse University in the recent debate over building a new stadium on Syracuse’s east side, says the future of a stadium for Syracuse sports is still under discussion. The urgency of the plan now is nowhere near what it was earlier this year, when a potential pot of state money could have become available.

Irwin Raij, of Foley and Lardner, the law firm SU hired as a consultant, says the stadium study conducted late last year was worth it for a couple of reasons.

N.Y. Department of Transportation

A tunnel to replace Interstate 81's current elevated path through downtown Syracuse could take four possible routes through the city.

The New York Department of Transportation revealed tunnel options ahead of a meeting to explain all 16 possible variations of a new Interstate 81 in Syracuse. 

Interstate 81 runs from the Canadian border in the north to the Pennsylvania border in the south. The 50-year-old highway carries thousands of cars each day through Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Churches play a vital role in any community. A symposium was held on Saturday to raise awareness of the role church buildings play in downtown Syracuse, since both occupied and vacant properties impact the neighborhoods.

The Mission Restaurant in downtown Syracuse was built in the 1840s and used to be the Syracuse Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was part of the Underground Railroad. The Hotel Skyler on the Syracuse University campus was a synagogue before it was renovated with green energy and environmental design standards.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

For five years, central New Yorkers have been talking about what should be done with an interstate viaduct that is reaching the end of its lifespan. The discussion is now formal, with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration holding the first scoping session in Syracuse, meant to gather community input on the issue.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Department of Transportation to retrofit or phase out a specific type of railway car that carries crude oil and ethanol. The DOT-111 is the same kind of tank car as those that derailed and exploded in July in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying 40 buildings.

Schumer spoke in front of a rail bridge near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday, where he says around 200 cars of oil and 100 cars of ethanol pass by everyday due to an increase in domestic energy production in the U.S.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The large windows that now face out onto the 300 block of West Genesee Street in the early 1900's used to display expensive roadsters made by the Chalmers Motor Car Company in Syracuse. They now are part of the new offices of the Red Cross of Central New York.

That sense of history attracted the charity to the location when they needed a more practical office space than the former one at Herald Place.

Connective Corridor

Concerns over tax increases for businesses along the Connective Corridor in Syracuse have derailed plans to keep the new infrastructure maintained.

When it was time to vote on creating a new Special Assessment District for the businesses on the eastern end of the Connective Corridor, Councilor Lance Denno tabled the resolution, essentially blocking a vote at today's meeting. He says some businesses would see their city tax bill double if this new district is created.

elh70 / via Flickr

It looks like The Sound Garden, a popular new and used music and videogame store in downtown Syracuse, will be staying put after all.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Friday afternoon announced a deal has been reached on proposed legislation that would exempt games, videos and music from the provisions of the city's new secondhand dealer law.

Those provisions had forced the owner of the store to make plans to close down the Armory Square fixture. The Sound Garden has a second location in Baltimore, Md.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city isn't giving up on the latest proposal to renovate the Hotel Syracuse. A plan for the city to take over the tax delinquent property stalled last week when, Financitech, which holds the mortgage on the hotel, paid back taxes at the last minute.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

An ice cream icon in Syracuse has become the latest business to join in the revitalization of downtown Syracuse. Gannon's Isle has opened up a permanent store in the Dey's building, on the corner of South Salina and Jefferson Streets.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is bringing his influence to the latest plan to revive the Hotel Syracuse.  The Democrat senator believes a federal tax credit program would help draw investors that would be willing to spend the millions it would take to restore the Warren Street historic landmark.

Boston Public Library / via Flickr

Syracuse will formally commence the foreclosure process on a long vacant downtown church, aiming to turn the historic building into another part of a downtown residential boom.

CORRECTION March 4: Current Mizpah Tower owner Syracuse Bangkok, LLC. is $115,646.31 delinquent on taxes, according to the Onondaga County property tax database.

A potential new owner of the long-vacant Mizpah Tower in downtown Syracuse is hoping to satisfy a certain kind of rental market. 

Courtesy Connective Corridor

Red modern-looking street lamps, bright green bike lanes and smoothly paved roadways now stretch from Syracuse University to the edge of the city's downtown.

Boston Public Library / via Flickr

A long-closed historic downtown Syracuse building may have a new buyer, as someone has triggered the foreclosure process on the Mizpah Tower.

aidypoos / Flickr

Empty storefronts used to be a common site in downtown Syracuse, but now more are being leased out thanks in part to a growing demand from people to live in the city's urban center.

On September 4, the face of downtown Syracuse will change, as the long awaited CENTRO Transfer Center will open.

Interstate 81 runs through the heart of Syracuse, N.Y., where a 1.4-mile-long elevated stretch of the highway is known locally as "the viaduct." Like many road projects built in the middle of the last century, I-81 is bumping up against the end of its life span. While officials say it's still safe to drive on, the highway is crumbling in parts.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With the shove of a backhoe, work on a large downtown Syracuse renovation project took a step forward.

Construction crews yesterday began demolition work on part of the Bond Building on South Salina Street. The Bond Building is one of four being renovated by V.I.P. Structures for a project now being called the Pike Block, which encompasses the southwest corner of South Salina and Fayette Streets.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

Some seniors are optimistic that a new senior center will rise in downtown Syracuse to replace the Ida Benderson Center that closed last fall due to budget cuts.

They're taking time to thank those who have helped them so far. Specifically, by serenading Syracuse common councilors.