October 2015: Spotlight on Development
With more than $340 million currently invested in downtown redevelopment activities, the sun is rising symbolically over Downtown Syracuse.
On Thursday morning, October 22, approximately 150 people joined the Downtown Committee 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 at the helm of the transformative action. Following the presentations, attendees had a unique opportunity to interact with the presenters.
If you bring the art, the people will follow...
Restoring Connections Through Public Art:
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 Ms. Higgins shared, as soon as this spring, we can expect to see beautiful painted signs installed along the Connective Corridor.
#FunFact: All artists selected to design pieces along the Connective Corridor incorporate light into their work.
A Cultural Reawakening:
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 (map) 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.
#FunFact: The Redhouse Arts Center's move will enhance the theater presence in Downtown Syracuse. The Redhouse Arts Center's plans calls for three new theaters to be built at the corner of Salina and Jefferson Streets, one of which community organizations will be able to use for professional development.
Hotel Syracuse Rebirth:
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.
#FunFact: The hotel is working with the Onondaga Historical Association for the artwork inside of the rooms. The artwork inside the rooms will tell the story of Syracuse. Meanwhile, the artwork displayed in the corridors will tell the story of the hotel.