There is currently over $147 million in residential development downtown. The biggest buzz among these developments – mixed-use residential. It doesn’t seem like an exciting thing, but trust me, this trend saves cities money, promotes good urban design and gets more people interested in downtowns. There is simply more to offer.
Often when I look in the newspaper, I see another building being converted into high-rise apartments, or a new site emerging to house students or young business people. We’ve already talked about the surge of millennials and even older people moving downtown these days. So what does life look like for these tenants? Well, they get a taste of everything.
Nice views, stylish living quarters, first floor retail and possibly restaurant space and access to all that’s happening in the immediate downtown community. Yes, rent might be higher but the benefits of living in an area experiencing a housing boom far outweighs the cost. Say hello to all your new neighbors! They’re so close to you and it’s just like college. Except we’re now technically grown ups…
I wish I had the opportunity to live in a place like this. But I guess you could say SU’s Campus West apartments is a mixed-use complex. I mean c’mon, we’ve got Starbucks and a market. Still, it’s no downtown.
So let’s break down some of the existing and future Syracuse mixed-use developments:
- Creekwalk Commons at 324 W. Water St. – 75 apartments and 143 tenants when full
- Merchants Commons at 120 East Washington St. – 66 apartments, first floor commercial space (Otro Cinco), Syracuse.com
- Dey’s Plaza at 401 S. Salina St. – 61 apartments, first floor retail (Kubal) and office space (Bank of New York Mellon)
- The Excellus Building at 344 S. Warren St. – 73 apartments, two floors of office space
- Syracuse City Center at 400 S. Salina St – 19 apartments, 2 floors of office space, first floor retail (grocery store, please), Redhouse Arts Center
Check out 208 Butternut St. on the Northside. Butternut Commons will be a new, mixed-use complex anchoring residential development in the community. With St. Joseph Hospital’s new expansion, more employees will be looking to live closer to work. Nearly 150 new jobs are projected to be created for the expansion. The building will be home to Kinney Drugs, which leaves room for 11,000 more square feet of retail space on the first floor.
We can hope that the contemporary building will add style and movement to the area, increasing foot traffic to the hospital and spurring other projects along the adjacent streets. While this is a completely new construction and some of the other places mentioned above were redevelopment and renovations, it’s still exciting to see so much housing sprout up in and around downtown.
Syracuse Inner Harbor is planning a mixed-use site as well at 720 Van Rensselaer St. One-hundred and seven apartments and first floor retail will make up the complex. *I include this project because as the Inner Harbor’s design comes to life, more people will likely be attracted to connecting to the Harbor via downtown and vice versa.
It’s vital that developers keep seeking ways to attract people to live near or in downtown, whether it’s through design, location or cost of living. If people move downtown, they’ll want to work downtown and they’ll want to play downtown. This adds to the health, vibrancy and cohesion of the downtown, Northside, Near Westside and University Hill areas.
In this, walkability and safety will be what drive people to stay. How can we create a better flow from each Syracuse neighborhood? Is it through these mixed-use projects? I definitely think it’s one way to solve the problem.
Oh and by the way… in case you developers ever have issues coming up with a name for your new mixed-use building, just add “commons” to the end and it will feel more grounded.