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March 2018: Downtown's Influence

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Presented by Mower & The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc.

On March 29, the largest crowd in the history of the Progress Breakfast – 298 guests! – listened as three presenters shared their stories, reflecting on their experiences in Downtown Syracuse thus far, while providing insight on what we as a community can collectively do to position ourselves for continued success.

Presented by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. and Eric Mower + Associates, the first Progress Breakfast of 2018 put a spotlight on how the activities and invevstments happening in Downtown Syracuse influence the entire region. 

First, Hon. Ben WalshMayor of the City of Syracuse, spoke to the ways that compassion, innovation and collaboration have shaped his career in public service, and continue to guide him as he leads the city. As former Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development, Mayor Walsh interacted with business owners and neighbors on a daily basis, demonstrating he understands the role each plays in building a strong community. He has been instrumental in several transformational projects that have propelled Downtown Syracuse forward, including the iconic rebirth of the Hotel Syracuse as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Now approaching 100 days in the Office of Mayor, Mayor Walsh is taking these lessons learned and applying them to ensure our city continues to prosper.

Then, Samara Hannah, Executive Director of the Redhouse Arts Center, shared how the Redhouse Arts Center’s new state-of-the-art theater has transformed City Center, and provided insight into the new opportunities for connections its move from the near-Westside to Downtown Syracuse creates. Fresh off a successful run of “On Golden Pond” – the first show on its main stage – Hannah provided a sneak peek about other productions waiting in the wings. Hannah has served as Executive Director for three years. In this post, she oversees all aspects of the Redhouse, including day-to-day operations and fundraising efforts. She even oversaw the entire construction team through the transformation process.

Finally, Jim Fox, CEO and Chairman of O’Brien & Gere, discussed the landmark 2010 move of OBG from Brittonfield to the then newly-constructed Washington Station in Downtown Syracuse. Fox demonstrated the forward-thinking the engineering firm is known for when he advocated for Downtown’s potential to offer a high-tech, open-office, collaborative work environment during  a time that presented a challenging financial climate, with other large-scale office users leaving Downtown for the suburbs. OBG’s move into Downtown Syracuse paved the way for future growth – raising Downtown Syracuse’s profile as a desirable destination for additional corporate office headquarters to follow suit.  

PS: Recognizing that downtown office employees give Downtown Syracuse its heartbeat, the Downtown Committee chose the first Progress Breakfast event of 2018 to make a special announcement designed to further enhance the Downtown Employee experience. Right now, the Downtown Committee is planning a week-long celebration (during the third week in September) in honor of the 28,000 people who work in Downtown Syracuse. Organizers will partner with downtown companies, retailers, restaurants, arts and cultural institutions and service businesses to plan a series of free events, designed especially with Downtown’s employees in mind. If you or your company is interested in getting involved, please reach out to the Downtown Committee at mail@downtownsyracuse.com with “Employee Appreciation” in the subject field.


Good Morning Downtown Syracuse Progress Breakfast
2018 Media Coverage

Preview of March 29 Progress Breakfast 

Laura Hand Interview with Downtown Committee Executive Director Merike Treier
NBC3, CBS5 & CW6; CNYCentral.com (March 24,2018)

Progress Breakfast Held at SKY Armory Thursday


Spectrum News, March 29, 2018