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The Upstate Economy

Theater hopes new arts center gives a boost to downtown Syracuse

Ellen Abbott

Construction has started on a project that’s hoping to transform downtown Syracuse and the arts in central New York. 

The former Sibley’s department store in the 400 block of South Salina Street in Syracuse, will be the new home to the Redhouse Arts Center by this time next year. Executive artistic director Stephen Svoboda says beyond construction of theaters and rehearsal space, the arts can breathe life into an area that needs it.

"I think when you see this side of town, this particular block, you think, oh, God, Syracuse is going downhill. We need to capture people’s imaginations and transform them and see life and activity,” he said.

The $9.8 million project will be the main attraction of City Center, a redevelopment project in the former department store. It will include a 400-seat flexible space theatre, a 99-seat theatre, rehearsal rooms, classrooms and two small foreign and independent movie theater, as well as a parking garage.

The new Redhouse facility will also be available for community groups to use.