Near Westside Initiative: Energizing a Neighborhood

On September 21, 2007 Syracuse received a double dose of good news when Syracuse University announced it will invest $13.8 million in the Near Westside neighborhood and WCNY Connected announced it plans to build a new broadcast and education center in the neighborhood.

The Near Westside Initiative (NWSI) is a collaborative effort to restore the Near Westside into a neighborhood of choice for residents of all incomes. Up to 263,000 square feet of commercial structures—including WCNY’s new building— and up to 154,000 square feet of residential space will be developed—and that’s just the beginning!

The SyracuseCoE will lead efforts to incorporate green technologies in the project. As part of this effort, the project will be used to evaluate the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Neighborhood Development (LEEDND) system proposed by the US Green Building Council, which will bring the initiative national attention.

The initiative plans to enhance housing and economic opportunities for existing and new residents, maintain and restore the neighborhood’s historic architectural charm, and include residents in plans and discussions. Residential development will include an “artists’ quarter,” housing up to 70 artists. The NWSI will market this Arts, Design, and Technology Quarter nationally and internationally to attract prospective artists, entrepreneurs, and designers to the area, using a $485,000 grant from National Grid.

Among other groups involved in the NWSI are the City of Syracuse, Home HeadQuarters, The Gifford Foundation, Green and Seifter, National Grid, NYSERDA, Queri Development Corp., Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative, and Syracuse University.