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Annual Meeting Celebrates 40 Years of Transformation in Downtown Syracuse

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

annual meeting wainwrightSyracuse, NY – Wednesday afternoon, June 24, 350 members of the downtown community convened for the Annual Meeting of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc.. The Downtown Committee celebrated its 40th Anniversary year by reflecting on the forward-thinking that has transformed the landscape of Downtown Syracuse, and put the spotlight on the exciting projects currently underway – and on the horizon – in the center city.

The Downtown Committee was established in 1975 by community leaders who recognized the importance of creating a vibrant urban center and the need to establish a dedicated organization to support its revitalization. Community leaders laid the groundwork for progress in Downtown Syracuse and built a foundation for more than 160 similar districts across the state to follow suit.

The Downtown Committee welcomed the President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, Lynn Richards, as the keynote speaker. Richards, a Rochester native, spoke to the national demographics as the tipping point for cities and neighborhoods, the benefits of investing in places, and the importance of collaboration as Downtown Syracuse plans ahead for its exciting future.

From luxury housing birthed from what once were department stores, to the entrepreneurial spirit that has transformed historic buildings into modern office spaces, to public art projects, streetscape improvements and everything in between, the transformation seen in Downtown Syracuse in the last 40 years has catalyzed new energy across the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.   

In her State of Downtown Address, Downtown Committee Executive Director Merike Treier highlighted the commitment of retailers, entrepreneurs and people who have long believed in Downtown’s strength. She spoke about the renaissance underway on South Warren Street as the district re-invents itself as an innovator through the growth of tech-oriented companies, and the power in partnerships as Downtown continues to focus on creating welcoming public spaces.  

A sample of development highlights shared at the meeting:

  • Right now, there is more than $340 million invested in downtown redevelopment activities.
  • Residential redevelopment accounts for 46% of the projects underway, with more than 540 new residents expected to move into Downtown Syracuse in the next two years.  
  • 18 new businesses have opened in Downtown Syracuse in the past year, and four more are expected to open before the end of the summer.

Downtown Awards of Excellence: Accomplishments of the last year were recognized, as three downtown champions were honored for their commitment to growth, diversity and revitalization in Downtown Syracuse:

  • Entrepreneur Troy Evans (bottom left) received the Urban Innovation Award for transforming 201 East Jefferson Street into one of the coolest office spaces around, creating a home for independent workers, entrepreneurs and freelancers. 
  • Owner of Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant, David Hoyne (bottom center), received the Heart of Downtown Award for his on-going efforts and neighborly approach to all in the Downtown community.
  • NOexcuses Tours, Inc. founder Michael John Heagerty (bottom right) received the Perfect Partner Award for his contagious passion that has brought new attention and vibrancy to our city center through a series of tours.
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Throughout the Annual Meeting, attendees were encouraged to use the hashtag, #CelebrateDowntownSYR to celebrate the progress they’ve seen, and share the potential they see for Downtown Syracuse.

All year long, the Downtown Committee will continue to spotlight various monthly themes related to Downtown’s accomplishments and continued growth as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration.  The public is encouraged to join the conversation by following the Downtown Committee on Facebook (Downtown Syracuse), Twitter (@downtownSYR) and Instagram (downtownsyracuse).

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