© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What are potential uses for an abandoned 47-acre property seized by Syracuse?

City of Syracuse Facebook
The former Syracuse Developmental Center site on the city's west side.

The City of Syracuse is seizing the former Syracuse Developmental Center on the city’s west side for back taxes. The city has no clear plans yet for the property that’s been vacant for more than two decades.

The 47-acre property and site of a three-story complex, was developed in the 70s as a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities. Since the state abandoned it, the property has cycled through several owners, but has remained abandoned. In recent years, it’s become a magnet for illegal dumping and trespassing. But the property on a hill next to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo has potential. It has sweeping views of the city and Mayor Ben Walsh said there are plenty of potential opportunities.

"I’ve thought about potential municipal uses,” Walsh said. “And I don’t think that is a likely end use, but we could use that space. We know the zoo is interested in at least some of the space. But there’s a lot of private development interest too, they’ve talked about residential development and an office park.”

Right now, contractors are securing the site and the next step is getting engineers inside the 585,000 square foot building which Walsh said is a mess, but well built.

“We haven’t had any engineers or structural folks in there to look at it closely,” Walsh said. “But it would cost a lot of money to demolish it. Our feeling is if you can reuse a building, it's the best way to go. But we’ll get in there, we’ll evaluate it and we’ll act accordingly.”

Walsh said the most important thing is restoring the property to productive use.

“If it’s on the tax rolls it’s great, if not that’s great too,” Walsh said. “We’re going to move quickly but strategically as well.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.