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      Downtown Syracuse transformation underway as Pike Block prepares to accept tenants

      Rendering of Pike Block

      The transformation of downtown Syracuse into a residential neighborhood is taking another step forward as the developers of the Pike Block are accepting deposits for apartments now under construction.

      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 Chamberlain Building is expected to be ready for occupancy next month, with the others are slated for completion in May.

      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.

      "Probably the most important part of the project will be this new 20 foot wide connection where you'll walk right in on Salina Street, all the way through to the new courtyard we've created at the back of the Bond building, and then straight through to Armory Square from there," Dave Nutting, the CEO of VIP Structures, told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon in July.

      According to a news release, "Pike Block is transforming downtown Syracuse into a vibrant residential and commercial hub the likes of which the city has never experienced."

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