2018 Series Presented by:
Downtown Syracuse is the center of our city, and is recognized as a place where communities converge and new connections are established.
On Thursday morning, November 1, nearly 300 members of the Downtown community joined the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc. and Mower for breakfast to learn about Downtown Syracuse as a place where communities converge, conversations are catalyzed and new connections are established. Margaret “Meg” O’Connell, Executive Director of the Allyn Family Foundation, Rickey Brown, Executive Director of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (UMEA), and David Nutting, Chairman and CEO of VIP Structures, discussed how they work together to break down barriers and position the center of the city for future growth. Salina Street, often referred to as Downtown’s “Main Street,” also held a starring role in the dialogue.
Fun Fact: Right now, 40% of the development planned to take place in Downtown Syracuse over the next few years is slated for Salina Street! Since 2010, just over $200 million has been invested in Downtown's "Main Street."
On the southern end of Downtown Syracuse, the Allyn Family Foundation’s plans for a public market, food hall and mixed-income housing will catalyze development not only in Downtown Syracuse, but on the city’s near-west side and near-southside as well. Through Meg O’Connell, Executive Director of the Allyn Family Foundation, Progress Breakfast attendees were treated to an exclusive glimpse into the forward-thinking plans underway for the space at 484 South Salina Street, and learned why the Allyn Family Foundation chose Downtown Syracuse. O'Connell said the pop-up food hall event held during the Downtown Committee's Employee Appreciation Week reached into neighborhoods that feel like they may not have a say in what happens in Downtown Syracuse. She stressed the importance of intentionality in building places where people want to go, and places people want to be a part of.
Intentionality was a theme Rickey Brown, Executive Director of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (UMEA), expanded upon in his presentation. Founded in 2015, UMEA is the only Minority Chamber of Commerce in Central New York and is focused on harnessing the economic power of the minority community. Brown discussed opportunities for Downtown businesses and developers to partner with UMEA to enhance productivity and build greater connections across our region. Brown says he has never felt the kind of energy that we're experiencing in our city today. Increasing awareness about opportunities for minority-owned businesses has helped, but also, minorities are able to envision themselves working on the exciting projects Downtown, thanks to developers and companies like VIP Structures. As the "dot connectors," UMEA pulls the thread of synergy to foster connections.
David Nutting, Chairman and CEO of VIP Structures, previewed VIP Structure’s exciting plans for the former Post-Standard Building in Clinton Square, which will bring new apartments, office and commercial space to Downtown’s northern-most neighborhood. Nutting spoke to the value of building connections across the community, and carried the theme of synergy through to explain why VIP chose to invest in The Post-Standard Building. Its proximity to Clinton Square - and VIP's current headquarters at One Webster Landing - was enticing. VIP was also intrigued by the building's history as the first sub-divided parcel of land. The company has a history of tackling adaptive reuse projects, including The Pike Block in Downtown Syracuse.
For the first time in the history of the event, a new format was introduced. With Merike Treier, Executive Director of the Downtown Committee serving as emcee, a 15-minute panel discussion was held following each presentation. Uniquely, all three organizations have worked closely together, and holding the panel allowed event attendees to get a better sense of how the three entities interact, beyond what they may have read about in news headlines. Keeping with what attendees have come to expect from the Progress Breakfast Series, presenters were available for a more personalized networking session following the panel.
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
Spectrum News, March 29, 2018