University Hill Headed for 'Transformation' due to Multiple New Housing, Business, Research Projects

Dec 14, 2017

Numerous development projects in University Hill promise to transform the area, economically and in other ways as new housing, retail, research and other investments are made.
Credit University Hill Corporation

Development around Syracuse University and along the Genesee Street corridor is leading to ‘transformation.’  That was the message from the University Hill Corporation at its annual meeting today.  President David Mankiewicz draws attention to numerous housing and other projects underway right now. 

“The Marshall, a $40.5-million mixed-use complex, is being built at 727 S. Crouse Ave.  Pete Campus is constructing Theory Syracuse, a 604 bed, $66-million project.  The 505 on Walnut; it represents an investment of $46.4 million.”

Add to that multi-million dollar projects at Upstate Medical, Syracuse University, The V-A Medical Center, and SUNY E-S-F.  And he adds most of that is private investment, not taxpayer funding.   Mankiewicz says all the progress can have an impact on jobs and the economy.

“As of today, there are 1200 career opportunities open on the Hill. At the current average wage for higher education and health care institutions, an additional annual payroll of $60 million could be generated if all the jobs were filled.”

Another impact would be on transportation, with more people coming and going. 

Former Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll was keynote speaker at the University Hill Annual Meeting Wednesday
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

Acting Thruway Director and former State Transportation Commissioner Matt Driscoll addressed the “elephant-in-the- room” issue of Interstate 81.  He didn’t any hint about the plan for the viaduct portion, but says the state wants to support continued progress along the corridor.

“After all, this project is more than a bridge or a highway reconstruction project, and it should be viewed in my opinion, as a land-use planning effort as well.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine Syracuse and Central New York for the next 75 years”

Mankiewicz notes the New York Staste DOT is likely to make a decision on a preferred option for replacing the I-81 viaduct within a year, with construction betginning in two years.  He sahred the University Hill Coproration members have made some requests tpo be considered as the project goes forward. 

"Our members have expressed their expectations for what they want for I-81:"

  • Provide multiple access points to the highway system and provide high quality entrances to 
  • University Hill
  • Maintain east/west connections between University Hill and downtown
  • Provide for alternate transportation options
  • Be a sustainable solution meeting best environmental practices and creating inviting public 
  • spaces
  • Have a reasonable capital cost and a credible maintenance plan
  • Minimize property seizures, demolition and forced relocation
  • Minimize the impact of construction on our community


Driscoll says the state supports other transportation changes that could reduce pollution and congestion, such as clean mass transit and researching driverless cars.