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Cool condos:Thousands tour renovated spaces in downtown

Hundreds of habitat-hungry hopefuls toured 11 potential home sites during the Downtown Living Tour last Saturday afternoon, May 17.

The dwellings ranged from the cool, fully furnished condos at Center Armory to the echoing empty shell of the Lofts at the Syracuse Trust Building, a yet-to-be developed 2,600-square-foot space.

Jefferson Clinton Commons didn't show a living space, but offered up a roomful of artist's renderings, brochures and pricing posters.

Lots of older folks got a kick out of visiting Firehouse No. 1 Condos on the third floor at 106 Montgomery St., above the big room that housed the Firebarn Tavern stage in the 1970s and '80s. Can you imagine having an apartment and telling guests that Sting once played there with The Police? Do you remember when Bonnie Raitt sat in here with Out of the Blue, or when The Romantics opened for The Flashcubes?

Or, if you moved into the Hanover Square Lofts at 136 E. Genesee St., you could point out the window to where Abraham Lincoln's coffin was displayed after his assassination in 1865.

Such is the appeal of downtown living, a deft blend of past and future, presented by the Downtown Committee and the Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative on Saturday's well-organized $12 tour.

More than 2,200 tourists made the scene Saturday, strolling from site to site or waiting patiently for a Centro shuttle bus to carry them to their next destination.

Many tourists stopped for a bite to eat and a brew at places such as Clark's Ale House or the Blue Tusk. Other munched on complimentary pizza served outside the Jefferson-Clinton complex.

While the Syracuse sites ran the gamut from impressive to impossible, so did the Syracuse weather which switched from sunny to cloudy to rainy and back again within the span of an hour.

The most impressive, albeit expensive, sites included Symphony Place at Hotel Syracuse, 500 S. Warren St.; Loew's Residential Suites, 108 W. Jefferson St.; Center Armory, 133 Walton St.; and the Amos at Clinton Square, 214 W. Water St.

The fourth-floor two-bedroom unit at the Amos Building is actually a multi-level apartment complete with hardwood floors and a big, tiled shower off the master bedroom. Not only are the accoutrements attractive, so is the location. It's in the same building as downtown's only grocery store, C.L. Evers & Co., and stands a stone's throw from the site of all the festivals staged each summer at Clinton Square.

For information about downtown living, call the Downtown Committee at 422-8284, or visitdowntownsyracuse.com.

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