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Downtown Syracuse hot for business: Matt's Memo

Upstate Hospital workers move into downtown Syracuse offices. (CNYCentral)

Have you noticed the trend? More major Central New York employers moving hundreds of jobs into downtown Syracuse. Today Upstate University Hospital took its turn. 170 office workers for the hospital started moving into the space in the Galleries vacated by a consolidated Onondaga County Library. Upstate says the number will swell to 400 this fall as they move from the nearby suburb of Dewitt into the center city.

The hospital follows what is a developing trend of inverse migration. Jobs that were once moving out to suburban office parks are moving downtown. The main reason in several cases is the ability to recruit quality employees. That's especially true for younger workers who want to step out during a lunch break and walk a couple of blocks to grab a bite to eat from an interesting restaurant instead of getting into their car to hit fast food drive-thrus.

This concept also runs parallel to the hot rental market downtown. Every retro-fitted building that opens is quickly filled with tenants looking for an interesting urban experience. It's the work, live and play concept coming to life.

Aspen Dental announced it will relocate 600 workers downtown next year. O'Brien and Gere engineering erected a new building to accommodate its major move of hundreds of workers six years ago. Its CEO cited the company's desire to attract the best and the brightest workers as the reason for moving into the city.

The pace of change always requires patience. But, the growing weight of downtown jobs, downtown living and downtown culture may be reaching a tipping point. One can't help but wonder if the looming I-81 decision might be the element that galvanizes an even bigger redefinition.

After all, shuffling workers and residents from city center to suburb and back again is simply moving pieces of a puzzle. The ultimate measure will be a community that begins to grow in population where people from out of town hear about an opportunity in Syracuse and are thrilled to make the move to be part of the vitality.


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