SYRACUSE — The construction effort continues on the upcoming Salt City Market, a $24 million project at 484 S. Salina St. in downtown Syracuse.
It is a design-build project for Syracuse–based VIP Structures, says Maarten Jacobs, the project’s executive director who spoke with CNYBJ on June 1.
Jacobs also serves as director of community prosperity with the Allyn Family Foundation, which has offices in Syracuse and Skaneateles.
The work started in September 2019 with removal of soil and site preparation on the property that was previously used as a parking lot.
The Salt City Market is targeting an opening date in mid-November, according to Jacobs.
Besides VIP, subcontractors on the project include Raulli & Sons, Inc., which is handling the steel work and Century Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., which is doing the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning work on the project.
The Salt City Market construction effort has continued through state’s pandemic restrictions. The project qualified as an essential construction project, because it includes affordable housing, according to Jacobs.
VIP Structures also partnered with Environmental Design & Research, Landscape Architecture, Engineering, & Environmental Services, D.P.C. of Syracuse; along with New York City–based iCRAVE and Minneapolis, Minnesota–based Snow Kreilich to design the interior food hall as well as the exterior shell, respectively.
The Allyn Family Foundation is financing the effort, using a line of credit against the foundation’s endowment, according to Jacobs. Once the project is complete, the foundation will shift to permanent financing, he adds.
“We created a separate nonprofit called the Syracuse Urban Partnership to do the project and manage it and to own the building,” says Jacobs.
About the project
The Allyn Family Foundation wanted to take an “underutilized or blighted” corner of the downtown area and “revitalize it,” Jacobs tells CNYBJ.
The organization saw progress happening in downtown and wanted to be a “connector” between the revitalization of downtown and some of the neighborhoods that “could be poised for revitalization but haven’t been to date,” referencing some neighborhoods along South Salina Street and West Onondaga Street.
“That’s really why we selected that location,” says Jacobs.
Salt City Market will be a mixed use and mixed income project that will include food-serving tenants, 26 apartments, and space for the Allyn Family Foundation.
“With our apartments, we’ve been really intentional to make sure that there’s affordable unit that will always be affordable to lower-income individuals and we’ll also have market-rate apartments as well,” says Jacobs.
The main part of the building is the first floor and the food hall, which is intended to “create wealth-building opportunities primarily for entrepreneurs of color.”
The Salt City Market allows entrepreneurs to start in a small space, test out their business, build it, decide if that’s what they want to do.
“That’s really the focus of the first floor and just creating a space where people can come together and eat and have a new space in Syracuse,” says Jacobs.
The two anchor tenants are the Syracuse Cooperative Market and Salt City Coffee. Other tenants include food entrepreneurs like Sley, specializing in southern cuisine; Hein, concentrating on Burmese cuisine; Sara, focusing on Thai cuisine; Fiona, who makes “sweet & savory pies;” Duyen, who makes cakes, cupcakes, and teas from South Asia; Latoya & Gloria, who cook Jamaican cuisine; Ngoc, who makes Vietnamese cuisine; and Dreamer, American Soul, per the market’s website.
“There’s still spaces for two more [tenants],” says Jacobs. “We intentionally left two stalls empty for what we call second steppers, so we’re looking for restaurants or small businesses that already exist in Syracuse that might be looking for a second location.”
In addition to the food merchants, the first floor will include a 2,100-square-foot grocery store as well as a coffee shop that transitions to a bar in the afternoon/evenings.
The Salt City Market is based on a model built by the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The nonprofit NDC has helped start over 400 businesses in the Twin Cities region. Many of those business launched in the Midtown Global Market, a large public market owned and managed by NDC.
NDC has “long had a connection to Syracuse” through its partnership with the Upstart program, which CenterState CEO operates. Through that existing relationship, the Allyn Family Foundation teamed up with CenterState CEO and NDC to develop a “similar concept” for the food hall that under construction in Syracuse.