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Communal living and working space coming to downtown Syracuse

Ryan Delaney
Ben Sio, Troy Evans and John Talarico in the new coworks space in downtown Syracuse.

Following a trend for downtown Syracuse real estate, an office building is being renovated to have residential space, but with a twist. 

The building at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets is transforming into a communal space, with room for both co-working and co-living, making it perhaps the most different addition to the neighborhood’s residential construction boom.

Troy Evans is converting two floors of empty office space into co-living space, where tenants will rent small rooms with individual bathrooms.

"Each unit will be created in the layout of a circle. So that the center spaces are common areas, so a shared commercial kitchen, with shared community dinners and things like that. And then shared living room and library," he said.

Evans is renaming the building Common Space. He says he’s trying to attract a different, more transient resident interested in living downtown.

"As I’ve been telling people about this, I’ve gotten interest from all kinds of groups. From younger people whom I originally thought would be interested, to older divorced men, to the Syracuse Crunch hockey team," Evans said. 

Rents will be a few hundred dollars cheaper than what a studio or one bedroom apartment downtown is going for. And leases will be month-to-month.

Below this college dorm-esque living space, will be Syracuse’s relocated and expanded co-working space. The communal office space used to be based at the Technology Garden, downtown’s startup business incubator. But organizers wanted to attract a broader demographic of office-less workers and small business owners.

"We wanted to increase the space so we can more tenants in co-working," said co-chair of the space, John Talarico. "And we also wanted to involve the community more. We didn’t want to be tech-centric so much, because co-working is not just about tech, it’s about anybody who’s an independent worker."

For a user fee, people can come and work in the open floor plan at their leisure. The larger co-working space will be able to host more events and programs.

The startup business mentoring program One Million Cups will launch later this month. Evans describes the program as big therapy session for startup business owners.

"Hopefully, both the entrepreneurs get a ton out of it because it helps them succeed," Evans said. "And then the community becomes more aware of the business as well, but not in a soliciting kind of way."

One Million Cups is different from other startup programs, which are more competition and funding based. 

Renovation of the co-living space is being funded largely through a state grant. Evans hopes to be ready for move in later this year. The work space is nearly ready to go.