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New Salt City Market will help diverse food entrepreneurs grow their businesses

A new four-story building featuring a public food hall, grocery store, office space and mixed-income apartments, broke ground on construction last week in downtown Syracuse. Part of the project will help food entrepreneurs expand their businesses. 

At the corner of W. Onondaga St. and S. Salina St., a vacant parking lot is going to turn into the Salt City Market. Maarten Jacobs with the Allyn Family Foundation, the nonprofit behind the $25 million project, said it’s a fascinating property, sitting on the edge of downtown, bridging the west and south sides, adjacent to the Marriott Syracuse Downtown and Centro bus hub.

“You have people from every walk of life intersecting in that location," Jacobs said. "While people intersect there, they don’t interact. For us, we saw this as an opportunity. What brings people together is food. Sharing that kind of culture, let’s create a first floor experience where those very diverse populations come together.”

Credit Allyn Family Foundation
Allyn Family Foundation
Exterior rendering of the building.

The market will feature 10 food stalls by entrepreneurs from different backgrounds, who want to open a restaurant but lack the financing to do so.

“We’re trying to remove as many barriers to success as possible in those spaces," Jacobs said. "And make it affordable and offer technical assistance along the way.”

There will also be a small grocery store and a coffee shop that turns into a bar at night. The goal is to have it open by November of next year.

Ed Riley, the developer of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, which sits across the street, said the Salt City Market will be a great asset.

“It’s going to give entrepreneurs a tremendous stage to showcase themselves and showcase the food, the different types of ethnic food, that comes into town," Riley said. "But also, to teach them how to grow a business and be part of our economy. I think that’s a great idea all the way around.”

Riley said while his plan to turn a 15-story building next to the Marriott into an extended-stay hotel is taking longer than he would like, that project is still moving forward, as well.  

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.