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Walsh outlines economic-development projects in State of the City speech

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Plans for the vacant Syracuse Developmental Center property, an update on the Salina First project and Tech Garden expansion, and a new public housing project were all included in the 2022 State of the City address.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh delivered the first State of the City address of his second term — and his fifth overall — on Thursday evening. He gave the speech at the new 5G manufacturing campus of JMA Wireless Technology location at 1054 S. Clinton St. near W. Taylor St. in Syracuse, just south of downtown.

Walsh described the JMA Wireless facility as a “critical component” of the city’s Syracuse Surge plan.


The Syracuse Surge is the city’s strategy for “inclusive growth in the New Economy,” per a transcript of Walsh’s speech posted at the City of Syracuse website.

SDC project

The City of Syracuse has plans for the sprawling Syracuse Developmental Center (SDC) property, which it says has been “wallowing in emptiness and decay for two decades.”

“We seized the west side property for back taxes in 2019 to protect the site and bring it back to productive use,” Walsh said.

Under the Syracuse Surge strategy, the city is working with CenterState CEO to attract a high-tech company and build an advanced-manufacturing facility at the SDC site. Syracuse will demolish the abandoned and vandalized structure and replace it with a “modern, job creating” manufacturing, research and technology campus, Walsh contended.

Syracuse has also signed a letter of intent with CenterState CEO and the Albanese Organization — a Garden City, New York–based development firm that wants to invest in Syracuse — to bring a mixed-income housing development to the SDC property.

Salina First; SUNY EOC expansion

Across South Salina Street from the new JMA campus, Walsh said the $6.8 million Salina First project has secured its financing and will be getting underway this year. The upcoming facility will add light manufacturing, office, retail, and mixed-income residential units to that part of the city.

In addition, just a few blocks away from the JMA Wireless facility, the SUNY Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC) is proceeding with two projects. Crews will renovate and expand the EOC complex to become an adult education and career center.

EOC will also transform a vacant property adjacent to its campus to create a new applied trade and technology manufacturing center. It’ll provide “more people with the skills they need to get good jobs and careers in growing industry sectors and trades,” Walsh said.

Tech Garden expansion

Final design and engineering work is set to get started soon on a $16.5 million project to add two more floors to the Syracuse Tech Garden.

It will more than double the square footage available for the incubation and acceleration of regional startup companies. Construction bids will go out this fall, setting the stage for work to begin next year, Walsh said.

“As you can see, the Syracuse Surge is very real. Since 2019, the Surge strategy has directly generated more than $200 million in commitments for infrastructure, economic development, and workforce programs within the City of Syracuse to create opportunity for all,” he said.

Walsh used the speech to announce programs and proposals to improve public safety; invest in housing, neighborhoods and parks; and expand economic development. The mayor contended that Syracuse is “resilient and ready” to reach higher for greater progress and opportunity for all.

Old 15th Ward housing

Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens is working with the Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA) in pursuit of the city’s “largest federal housing grant in recent history” for the East Adams Street corridor adjacent to Interstate 81. It’s an area known as the Old 15th Ward.

In a few weeks, the city will submit a proposal to U.S. Department of House and Urban Development (HUD) for $50 million in federal money to invest in the neighborhood. The result will be an $800 million investment that will bring all of the SHA housing in the neighborhood — more than 1,000 units — up to “modern standards.”

It is the next step toward realizing the resident-driven transformation of the neighborhood being planned by the Syracuse Housing Authority and Blueprint 15 in association with the nationally-proven Purpose Built Communities model,” Walsh said.