A groundbreaking was held Thursday for the Kennedy Square redevelopment project.
SUNY Upstate Medical University is partnering with COR Development to redevelop the 10 acre property. The plan is to rename the area Loguen's Crossing as a tribute to the Rev. Jermain Loguen, whose home was part of the Underground Railroad.
Upstate officials say the plans for Loguen's Crossing are still in the works, but they expect it to include a mix of residential, retail, office, and educational space. Upstate already has plans to build an office complex at the site.
"Upstate Medical University is on a postage stamp," says Upstate President Dr. David Smith. "Our vision is the size of the region, so we had to find a way to be able to transform that, and this is one of the breakout strategies that we have, so we'll be able to do that and create some private sector jobs as well."
A recent Columbia University study estimates that the Kennedy Square project is expected to create 7,000 temporary jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. Upstate officials say they are in discussions with a couple of high tech firms, which may be interested in the site.
The project will be supported through a mix of public and private funding. Upstate officials are hoping for $3.6 million that would be part of a $40 million package from the state.
Representatives from Central New York and nine other regions across the state each made a pitch on Tuesday. A state committee will choose four regions and give them $40 million for economic development.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy was at the Kennedy Square groundbreaking. He said he couldn't comment on Central New York's chances, but also said, "You can be very proud of what Chancellor Cantor and Rob Simpson did during their presentation this week."
Dr. Smith says he hopes the project will receive the $3.6 million, but in the meantime, the plans will get started now that the groundbreaking has taken place.
"In many ways it's a relief, but it's also a challenge," says Dr. Smith. "We're getting this sense of urgency that now we have to deliver."
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