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Vacated building begins process to join Syracuse's thriving urban community

The building was vacated in 1995 and has remained empty since.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. --- After NYNEX moved out in 1995, this building sat empty. A symbol in many ways of downtown Syracuse's economic struggles. Now as plans to redevelop it move forward - this building - right across the street from Syracuse City Hall, could be a symbol of downtown's resurgence and a city making a comeback.

After settling a back taxes dispute with the city, the NYNEX building owners now plan to turn downtown Syracuse's largest vacant building into stores and office space on the lower levels with apartments on the top floors. Last month they applied for building permits, a huge step forward that the city of Syracuse's office of neighborhood and business development has been hoping to see for years.

"Its nice to see Syracuse on the upswing and on trend with what has been happening around the rest of the country in terms of urban development" said Honora Spillane of Syracuse Business Development.

Inside the NYNEX building it is still 1995 with calender's, desks and punch card computers. The last time anyone worked inside here, Sam Palminsano was six years old. Now at 27, he likes the idea of more business and foot traffic downtown. The building owners are even considering a penthouse level apartments.

"We don't really have New York City style buildings around here. We have other big buildings but not like New York with shops and apartments above it" said Palminsano.

The city believes it will take a few years before the apartments are completed. Armory Square, Hanover Square and Franklin Square are thriving in Syracuse. Longtime Syracusan Davey Campbell hopes the this corner of downtown is next.

"Its bringing back people and once you bring back people you bring back the services to be able to take care of the needs of those people. It will go a long way towards restoring the economy of the central core of Syracuse" said Campbell.

The big question is that yes you can put in apartments, but where will people park? The NYNEX building has another big plus, a one hundred car underground parking garage.

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