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The Upstate Economy

Downtown Committee of Syracuse marks 40 years

Ellen Abbott
South Clinton Street in Syracuse.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is celebrating its 40th birthday. The group that was created in 1975 is watching over a neighborhood that’s dramatically changed.

Downtown Syracuse today doesn’t have much in common with the downtown of 40 decades ago. Downtown Committee Executive Director MerikeTreier says instead of busy shoppers hustling from store to store, residents who live downtown and are walking their dogs dot the streets in a revitalized Syracuse that now boasts apartments, coffee shops, bistros and modern office spaces inside historical buildings.  

"I think many people that grew up here remember the downtown of 40 years ago. At that time, Syracuse had only one indoor shopping mall. We had eight department stores that were still downtown," says Treier.

And while many people see the success of Armory Square defining downtown, that doesn’t tell the whole tale.

"Warren street for example was historically our financial district. Now we’ve got all these tech oriented companies that are organically growing through the Warren Street corridor, filling those vacancies. So you’re seeing a transition in our downtown neighborhood, certainly a rebirth of entrepreneurs,” she said.

Treier says going forward, the focus will continue to be on attracting residents to live downtown.  Residential development has accounted for almost half of the current projects underway downtown, with more than 540 new residents expected to call that neighborhood their home in the next two years.

Treier says the city is working to prevent any new crime that comes with that activity, noting that new police cameras will be up and running later this year.

“They’ll be running down Jefferson Street to the Armory. They’ll be coming down Walton Street. They’ll be going on Warren, Salina and Clinton Streets as well. So we’re working with the police department and looking at our downtown development map where we have high population concentrations. That really drove where we have our security cameras.”

In a yearly review of the state of downtown,  Treier also notes that 18 new business have opened in downtown Syracuse in the last year, with four more expected to open before the end of summer.