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Developing Syracuse Series VII: Green food operation

So you want to develop a property in the city of Syracuse?

This series tracks two Syracuse entrepreneurs/developers Cosmo Fanizzi and Christian Van Luven through the development process of 617 West Street, on Syracuse's Near West Side.

It might seem as if Fanizzi and Van Luven are taking their sweet time developing 617 West Street. It's true. They are, because they were able to purchase the building for $60,000, each putting in $30,000. They don't have a bank loan collecting interest. Instead, by investing their own capital, they can take more time up front to research ideas they hope will make operating the building cheaper and also good for the environment. As the architect Peter King (King & King) said at the Water Forum the two hosted at Van Luven's Roji Tea Lounge, people have to step up and take a leadership role on sustainable building.

Essentially it's a movement whose time has come.

"To be a thoughtful developer, one needs time," Van Luven said.

Green food

"We have this space, and we understand that food and water are our essentials," Van Luven said.

Roji Tea Lounge is a certified green restaurant. The two developers are interested in carrying this idea forward in their ground floor space at 617 West Street. Although they might not necessarily be the operators, they want to partner with like-minded tenants.

On Friday April 9, a group similar to the Water Forum held at Roji gathered to talk about an infrastructure for marketing, distributing and purchasing locally grown foods commercially in Syracuse. It was called the Syracuse Eats Stakeholder presentation, and was held at the Warehouse Gallery in Armory Square. It's agenda called for participants to discuss their individual missions; and to determine gaps in the regional food system; plus brainstorming ideas systems that would work better for all the stakeholders.

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