While yesterday’s entry presented national evidence of the downtown movement, what about local evidence? Syracuse, New York is one of many small cities investing in downtowns as they transition from a manufacturing economy to an information-based one.
Syracuse’s success story simplified:
Step One: Designate a depressed warehouse (ie manufacturing) district, Armory Square as a historic (and very affordable) neighborhood, thus encouraging artists and entrepreneurs to settle there. Sound familiar?
Step Two: Identify key historic buildings for public-private investment, and target them toward the creative class with the help of economists like Richard Florida, who coined the term.
Step Three: Enjoy the results: 2500 residents and counting call downtown Syracuse home. The occupancy rate for downtown apartments is at 99%. Syracuse University moved 600 students to a building in Armory Square. The projected investment in 2006 exceeds $180 million, including 180 market-rate apartments and condos; 550 hotel rooms; 750,000 s.f. of renovated space and 265,000 s.f. of new construction.