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Mayor comes to aid of Warren Street

City Hall focuses on the heart of downtown in the midst of South Warren Street

Today drivers and walkers on Warren Street in downtown Syracuse find empty storefronts with dirty windows, large tenantless buildings and, in the 300 block, a gaping hole, where once there was a building. A chain link fence separates it from the sidewalk; overgrown weeds fill the lot. The one shining star in that block is Lemp M Jewelers and Silversmiths. They have been doing business there for 40 years.

In years past Lemp's had a lot of company. Syracusans who have been around a while recall the days when the street was filled with interesting shops. The Onondaga Hotel was open for business. Schied's Gift Shop was in the hotel. Nearby were Emily Mundy's book store, Marine Sports for athletic supplies, Chapman and Fisher jewelers, Conde Toy Shop and Sadye-Ann and Helmer's for women's fashions. The Brass Rail was the place to go for corned beef sandwiches, Schrafft's for daintier fare, a Downyflake for fresh donuts. Later a Rite Aid, Dunkin Donuts, Lustig Jewelers, Centore's Men's Shop and John F. Zell Men's Shop all called Warren Street home.

Mayor Matt Driscoll is committed to improving the Warren Street corridor. He requested the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency consider acquisition of three properties: 301, 309-311 and 315-321.

The first step toward improvement has taken place. David Michel, director of economic development for the city of Syracuse said: "The contracts to purchase the property have been executed. We are waiting on analysis of environmental issues of the sites. Hopefully the studies will be completed in a few weeks."

Once that has occurred, he said, "Probably we will proceed to demolish the buildings and look at options for the site. They might be parking and green space for the short term and for the long-term, various development options."

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