January 31, 2019

The Update Desk: One Corner at a Time

Last June, I did a Grains of Salt post about changes coming to a highly visible corner in downtown Syracuse, where a new non-profit corporation had proposed putting up a city market/office/residential structure that would offer a number of opportunities:
  • a 'food hall', along the lines of what we see in other cities like Philadelphia; here, there'll be spots for local chefs who were unable or not yet ready to open their own restaurants;
  • office space for non-profit organizations, allowing for greater learning and collaboration between them, and
  • housing for a mix of incomes, instead of everything being in the $2K/month range, as seems to be the case lately with our new downtown units. 
Last fall, the Allyn Family Foundation (AFF), which is running this project announced that things had been moving along and they'd come up with a couple of names for the market, and they asked for a community vote.

That's where things got interesting - and today we have an update.

It seems the names the people behind the project came up with were not ones that made the rest of us happy: Five Points Market, or 484 Market (the intersection or the address).

I vaguely remember the social media post where we could vote, and the overwhelming number of comments asking why it didn't mention Syracuse or the Salt City; I might have even given a 'like' to a suggestion with one of those in the name, if I remember correctly.

And it turns out, the AFF listened to what people wanted, and the name has been chosen: the Salt City Market. It's perfect, and it's a perfect example of ensuring the kind of community buy-in that the organization is looking for. Maarten Jacobs, one of the AFF folks, said
We want this to be a space that people feel they have ownership of the minute it opens.
This was a real good start for upping the ownership quotient.

They've done some additional hiring, including bringing Adam Sudmann, the man behind the "With Love" restaurant project, who will be planning and then running the market, among other things.  Applications to get one of the kitchen stalls are being accepted at SaltCityMarket.com.

The selected vendors will have plenty of opportunities to get their food in front of folks before the market officially opens, through both large events and food popups, as well as to work on recipes, scaling them up for their stalls, and more.

In addition to the food court, there'll be a grocery store on the first floor - something that's still needed downtown - and there'll be 37 apartments, mostly geared towards people in the $48K and less income bucket, and even some for low-income tenants, too, when the building opens in 2020.

I'm looking forward to construction getting started and watching progress on this corner. I think it's the kind of creative thinking that not only fills a gap, but one that can really continue the transformation at the south end of downtown.

If you're interested, follow the project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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