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Developing Syracuse Series Part V: Design On

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

Cosmo Fanizzi said this week that the building at 617 West Street was now cleaned of all the refuse left by the previous owner. Their designer, James Owens, was at work on updated the survey and renderings, so that Fanizzi and Van Luven can start to work on the overall design, which will integrate the latest in green technologies.

They have also recently hooked up with Greg Wright from Restore, which is an organization that picks up discarded and unneeded building materials to recycle in to other projects.

"The paneling on the first floor can be reused easily," Fanizzi said.

Going green, an education

This week the two entrepreneurs are hosting a forum at Van Luven's Roji Tea Lounge on on-site storm water reduction methods as well as exploring the possibilities for reuse of captured rainwater, which will be led by Khris Dodson, Communications and Program Manager with the Environmental Finance Center. The event quickly filled up - and I will attend and have a full report in next week's City Eagle.

The business partners overall goal is to blend activism with commerce.

Even though Syracuse is called the Emerald City and green is a point of focus, green engineering is a very new field fertile field. For example there is not a business in Syracuse with a fully approved green roof yet, Fanizzi said. That's a roof that is alive with plant life and fully functioning to catch and utilize rainwater, saving it from running into the city's storm water system.

Fanizzi and Van Luven were inspired by County Executive Joanie Mahoney's language in her 2010 State of the County address when she called for a reduction of storm water run off to improve the quality of Onondaga Lake. They are applying for a new grant available through the county that helps fund green infrastructure projects. Onondaga is the first county in the state to apply for this grant, Fanizzi said.

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