Master Developer Chosen by Syracuse Housing Authority Offers Clarity

Syracuse Housing Authority (SHA) has selected National affordable housing developer McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. This news comes as questions continue to swirl about plans to redevelop the East Adams Street neighborhood, a 27-block, area that includes more than 1,037 units of public housing. McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. was chosen from a number of respondents to SHA’s call for a “Master Developer”.  The concept is part of the previously announced, “Blueprint 15” calls for public housing replacement, this is a multi-year, multi-phase initiative that includes retail and commercial space along with mixed income and market rate housing. St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar is one of the nation’s leading developers, managers, and asset managers of economically integrated urban neighborhoods.

Utilizing McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. will enable stakeholders to leverage their resources which includes land desired by many, as Syracuse’s urban core expands southward.  A firm having experience with this type of development spanning over 47 cities’ perhaps gives us hope that we’re not going to repeat mistakes of the past. A past that has haunted us for more than a generation.

According to SHA’s announcement, “Blue Print 15 will incorporate five core values derived from a 20-member organization called Purpose Built Communities: the development of high-quality, mixed-income housing; cradle-to-college educational support systems; access to health and wellness programs; a community quarterback who ensures that all elements of the revitalization are working toward the same end goal; and a defined neighborhood. Blue Print 15 will serve as the community quarterback.”

For those worried about mass evictions reminiscent of Urban Renewal it appears as though this process  take at least a decade.  With community stakeholders at the table with experienced developers; perhaps this can be the one project on the horizon that breaks our pattern of concentrated poverty, while offering training and employment opportunities for area residents.

As this transformation takes place, Syracuse must be wary of new developments utilizing Investor Tax Credits to create new geographic areas of concentrated poverty under the guise that, “we’ll take care of them”.

The McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. lead new urban development concept has been studied, alternative programs have been considered. Elected and civic leaders have traveled to their locations. McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., Syracuse Housing Authority and Blueprint 15 offers clarity.

This is the best way to create a truly integrated new neighborhood, based on best-practices that appear to have been proven in other communities across the United States.