The Onondaga Citizens League presented the first Downtown Living Tour on Saturday, May 19, 2007. The public was invited to a self-guided tour of a selection of unique apartments, lofts, and condos, including historic renovations and new construction projects.  Restaurants and shops offered specials throughout the day to ticketholders. CENTRO provided a free shuttle around downtown.

The housing tour followed the release of OCL’s report, “Leveraging Better Outcomes for Downtown.”  Doug Sutherland, co-chair of the study and principal in Franklin Properties, said:

“Downtown’s historic buildings are the “low-hanging fruit” of downtown redevelopment. Many of the units on the tour highlight adaptive reuse of existing structures in very creative ways.”

The study report covers a full range of issues affecting downtown redevelopment, but points to residential development as the linchpin in reinventing downtown, and improving economic prospects for the city and the region. “The key to the city’s future lies in its ability to attract and retain middle income households,” Sutherland said, “and our study showed that downtown’s emerging neighborhoods have the potential to grow exponentially, if the appropriate supports – pedestrian-friendly streets, coordinated parking systems and supportive retail, for instance – are put into place.”

Since 2008, the Downtown Living Tour has been carried out by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, Inc., growing in popularity each year.