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Salina 1st project targets 2024 completion

By Eric Reinhardt (


Emanuel Henderson, of JHP Industrial Supply Co., is a partner in the Salina 1st project at 1081 S. Salina St. in Syracuse. Henderson addressed the gathering at the June 2 event. (Eric Reinhardt/CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — More than three years after its groundbreaking event, construction work on the Salina 1st project at 1081 S. Salina St. in Syracuse is underway.

The construction site — just south of downtown Syracuse — is located across from the 5G manufacturing facility of JMA Wireless.

Project partners Emanuel Henderson, Eli Smith, and Gail Montplaisir describe Salina 1st as a “catalytic,” mixed-use, community-development project. The 52,000-square-foot facility will include residential, retail, light industrial, and incubator/shared-office space, per a project news release.

E. Smith Contractors of Syracuse and Taurus Renovation & Construction are overseeing the construction effort, Montplaisir tells CNYBJ in an email. Construction on the Salina 1st project is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

All three partners spoke during a June 2 event to announce the start of construction on the project for which they broke ground in 2019. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh; Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens, who served as master of ceremonies for the event; Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon; Robert Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState CEO; and Me’Shae Brooks-Rolling, executive director of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance were among the local dignitaries who also spoke during the event.

Salina 1st is the first all-minority-led commercial development in the history of Syracuse, per the release. 

The partners involved in the Salina 1st project at 1081 S. Salina St. in Syracuse say that construction is underway. It’s a 52,000-square-foot mixed-use, community-development project that is expected to be complete by 2024. (Eric Reinhardt/CNYBJ)

With an estimated investment of more than $10 million, the Salina 1st project seeks to “embrace, not displace” neighborhood residents and aims to “hire within the community.” 

Spearheading the Salina 1st project are Emanuel Henderson of JHP Industrial Supply Co.; Eli Smith of E. Smith Contractors; and Gail Montplasir, a real-estate developer from Washington, D.C., working with Taurus Development Group. 

It’s been “a long time coming,” Henderson said to begin his remarks. 

“My vision for this project and why I invested in this project … it was simple. We needed to give back to this community,” he said.

Montplaisir and Smith graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small-businesses program together. In her remarks, Montplaisir said Smith invited her to Syracuse and during her initial visit, she met Henderson.

“But now, I feel like I’m really part of a community that is strong, is visionary, and is doing things that Syracuse has needed for a long time but didn’t have the overall support to do,” Montplaisir said. “Both of my partners have always worked for racial, financial, environmental, and energy equality and equity, and Salina 1st is the first step for all of us.” 

Salina 1st will create renewable energy and is considered a net-zero energy project, meaning the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable-energy sources is equal or equivalent to the amount of energy used. 

NYSERDA supported the Salina 1st project with a $1 million grant award through the Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program.

Black Economic Development Fund

New York City–based LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) oversees the Black Economic Development Fund, a $250 million fund to help combat economic-development challenges in the Black community. The fund is providing the project more than $2.5 million, Montplaisir tells CNYBJ.

“It’s probably the largest institutional fund in the country with the word Black in the actual legal documents,” George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management, said is his remarks at the June 2 event. 

Empire State Development is assisting the project through a $1.3 million Capital Grant recommended by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (CNYREDC), per a May 22, 2019 ESD news release that followed the project’s groundbreaking event.

This long-term investment in the community has the potential to impact a number of areas, Me’Shae Brooks-Rolling, executive director of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, said in her June 2 remarks. 

“[That includes] revitalizing the south side; stimulating economic growth in the local and regional Central New York economies; building workforce development and minority commerce,” Brooks-Rolling said. 

Commercial tenants planning to move in upon completion include JHP Industrial Supply Company, Inc.; SGTR, a minority-owned construction company specializing in federal contracting; and E. Smith Contractors.   

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