Syracuse Rising

A visual tour of a city's downtown renaissance

A snowy Armory Square on Nov. 14, 2014. Once filled with crumbling abandoned warehouses, the area has been transformed into a thriving downtown cultural center.

Over the past five years, the oft-repeated narrative of the struggling rust belt city center has eroded away. Stories of vacant buildings, rising crime, and gritty perseverance have been replaced by those of gentrification, investment, and prosperity. Syracuse, once a city afraid of change, has begun to embrace luxury apartments, coffee shops, and other symbols of progressive reinvention that have characterized the growth of other more liveable cities.

According to a Syracuse.com article on the trend, "Downtown's population has increased 47 percent in the last decade and 21 percent in the last three years alone." Since 2012, more than 900 new housing units downtown have been constructed or are currently being planned.

The Syracuse Downtown Committee in 2014 released a report outlining nearly $2.6 billion (actual numbers now are over to $3 billion) of capital that has recently been or soon will be invested in Syracuse-area construction projects. These new developments, centered around University Hill, Armory Square, the Inner Harbor, and Loguen Crossing, reflect greater demand for housing within the city.

New Development Projects in Syracuse

New building projects within Syracuse since 2010, including those currently under construction and planned for the future. See all data ›

Where is the $3.06 billion going?

Despite the enormous housing boom in downtown Syracuse, only a small share of investments are going to dedicated residential properties. Instead, more focus has been placed on mixed-use development.

The Lakefront neighborhood is home to both the Destiny USA regional shopping center and the Inner Harbor mixed-use development, which combine to over $1 billion in investment from private developers. University Hill and Downtown are characterized by many smaller building projects on the SU, ESF and Upstate campuses.

University Hill has seen the greatest interest in developers, characterized by many large construction projects by Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, and Upstate Medical University. The neighborhood is also home to Loguen Crossing, a $350 million planned development on land owned by Upstate.

The Lakefront neighborhood is composed of two major investments totalling nearly $1 billion, the Destiny USA shopping center and the mixed-use Inner Harbor project.

University Hill is home to Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, Upstate Medical University, Crouse Hospital, and the future Loguen Crossing development. SU has spent over $450 million on new construction since 2005.

Which projects have the highest average cost?

How does Syracuse compare?

While capital investments are difficult to compare amongst different regions, the economic stability of Syracuse can be viewed through the proxy of its poverty levels. Compared to most of the Northeast and Midwest, Onondaga's poverty level of 9.6% is is about average, if not slightly high.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 5-year estimates, American Community Survey

The Brennan Buildings are among many vacant buildings downtown that city officials hope to see revitalized in the coming years.

All Projects

The Connective Corridor aims to bridge the gap between Syracuse University and Downtown Syracuse, opening up opportunities for development along a new bus route and bicycle track.

About this Project

Chris Voll is a student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse, NY. This is a data visualization project for NEW 300. As a living document, it will continue to be updated as new development projects throughout the city are announced, and at this stage is only a draft.

The full data set is available on Google Drive. Much of the data, including projects, costs, and approximate locations, is from the Syracuse Downtown Committee.

Please note that the building locations are approximate, based on the best available public information found from the Syracuse Downtown Committee, on Google Maps, on Syracuse.com, or on the respective websites for the buildings, developers, and tenants. To report inaccuracies, please email chris+syr@chrisvoll.com.

Last updated on December 9, 2014.

Downtown Syracuse, viewed from University Hill in 2012 sitting beyond the I-81 viaduct that divides the two neighborhoods.