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      CenterState CEOâ??s move to Pike Block signals downtown transformation

      Pike Block

      After years of talk, the transformation of South Salina Street in the heart of downtown Syracuse is starting to take shape.

      CenterState CEO will move into the Pike Block as its anchor tenant. The company has signed a commercial office lease for approximately 12,000 square feet of space on the second floor of the Witherill Building and the first floor of the Chamberlin building, according to VIP Development Associates (VIPDA).

      The Witherill building is located at the corner of Salina and Fayette Streets in downtown Syracuse. It is being transformed into a mixed-use building including residential and retail tenants. VIP says the Chamberlin building will provide CenterState with street-level access and the necessary space for an enhanced visitors' center along the Connective Corridor on Fayette Street. "CenterState CEO brings an exciting dynamic to arguably the most important 'business' corner in Central New York," says Charlie Wallace, VIPDA president. "Pike Block is transforming downtown Syracuse into a vibrant residential and commercial hub the likes of which the city has never experienced. We are pleased to have CenterState CEO anchoring Pike Block."

      Rob Simpson, president of Centerstate CEO, says the move will allow the company to better serve its members and the community. "The Pike Block provides this organization with a central location in the heart of our business district," Simpson said. "We are proud to be a part of this exciting project and to help advance the growth and development that is taking place here."

      Benefit Specialists of New York, the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, and The Downtown Committee of Syracuse will move their operations late this summer. In a letter to its members, CenterState CEO said, "This move speaks to the culture of our organization. In everything we do, we strive to be at the heart of this region's renaissance, engaging in the nitty-gritty work of helping to build business and strengthen our communities. This move is a way to celebrate the evolution of downtown Syracuse, which includes new life for these four historic buildings that have sat vacant and abandoned for years."

      CenterState CEO's current building, at 572 South Salina Street, is under contract for sale. It has 21,000 square feet of space.

      VIP Development Associates Inc. is investing about $27 million into rehabilitating four buildings on the 300 block of South Salina Street that had been in severe disrepair for decades. Initially, VIP is offering 8 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments in the Chamberlain Building on West Fayette Street, with many more to follow in the Witherill, Wilson and Bond buildings.

      The project is also tapping into an ancient salt water aquifer 90 feet below the street level to provide the buildings with a constant supply of geo-thermal energy for heating and cooling.

      The Pike Block, along with similar projects, is expected to turn the downtown section of Syracuse into an upscale urban neighborhood similar to Armory Square, which is adjacent to the site. In addition to residential apartments, the projects will offer retail and restaurants on the street level.

      The Pike Block project is named after architect Henry Pike who helped design some of these buildings in the late 1800's.