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First-ever Good Morning Downtown Syracuse Progress Breakfast Highlights the Redevelopment Transforming Downtown’s Landscape

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Good Morning Downtown Logo for web3Syracuse, NY – With more than $340 million currently invested in downtown redevelopment activities, the sun is rising symbolically over Downtown Syracuse. This morning, approximately 150 people joined the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. for the first-ever Good Morning Downtown Syracuse Progress Breakfast at SKY Armory (map) to celebrate the forward-thinking and progress that has fueled recent redevelopment in the center of our city. Guests gained personal insight into three of the most exciting projects currently underway in Downtown Syracuse from the individuals who are at the helm of the transformative action:

First, Marilyn Higgins, vice president of community engagement and economic development at Syracuse University, spoke about the effort to restore connections through public art along the Connective Corridor, as the Connective Corridor Project enters Phase Three. Recently, $650,000 was allocated for the commission of public art along the Corridor, and a call to artists was sent out around the world. National and local artists were selected, including award-winning contemporary artist and Syracuse University professor, Sam Van Aken. Progress Breakfast attendees learned Van Aken, who is known for his Tree of 40 Fruit at Syracuse University, plans to bring a grove of trees to the Everson Art Museum. In addition, as soon as this spring, painted signs will be installed along the Connective Corridor.

Then, developer Bob Doucette, a principal partner in groundbreaking downtown development projects in Armory Square including the Labor Temple, Center Armory and Dey's Plaza, discussed the reawakening at the corner of Salina and Jefferson Streets through City Center. The $20 million mixed-use project will create new memories and enhance cultural experiences as the former Sibley’s Department Store building and adjacent parking garage building undergo a dramatic transformation, including the move of the Redhouse Arts Center from its current West Street location to Downtown Syracuse. Steven Svoboda, executive arts director of the Redhouse Arts Center, joined Doucette to talk about the incredible project.

Finally, guests were treated to a rare, insider's look at renovation progress at the former Hotel Syracuse.

Developer Ed Riley spoke about the hotel's rebirth as crews preserve history in their dedication to restore the new Marriott Downtown Syracuse to the grandeur the Hotel was known for. Right now, a company is digitally creating molds for the terra cotta along the Onondaga Street entrance of the building. On the inside, an artist is recreating 16 designs found on the ceiling in the mezzanine, among other exciting projects.


After the presentations, guests were given a unique opportunity to mingle with presenters in a more personal setting.

“The momentum in Downtown Syracuse has never been stronger,” said Merike Treier, executive director of the Downtown Committee. “The Connective Corridor, City Center and the Hotel Syracuse’s transition to the Marriott Downtown Syracuse are all tangible signs of progress. We look forward to sharing what’s next for our community as we continue to follow the progress storyline.”

Keeping with theme of this morning’s presentations, the Downtown Committee selected SKY Armory as the venue for the first-ever Progress Breakfast because the Syracuse landmark is also a symbol of progress. One year ago this month, the event venue joined a fleet of reimagined buildings when owners Nicole and Kevin Samolis opened space in the former Wells & Coverly Department Store.

The Progress Breakfast is the centerpiece of a month geared toward highlighting progress as the Downtown Committee continues to celebrate its 40th Anniversary year. Each month, look for a different theme related to Downtown’s growth, development and accomplishments on the Downtown Committee website and across its social media platforms. Everyone is encouraged to join the conversation by following the Downtown Committee on Facebook (Downtown Syracuse), Twitter (@downtownSYR) and Instagram (downtownsyracuse).

For a fun re-cap of some of the highlights from the Progress Breakfast presenters, click here.

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