SYRACUSE Stephanie Minor announced in a press release Monday, Nov. 14, that Ellicott Development Company and Tops Friendly Markets are finalizing the terms of a lease that will allow Tops to open a new supermarket in Valley Plaza on South Salina Street.
The lease agreement is contingent on a grant approval by the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, who was contacted by the owners of Valley Plaza and Tops Friendly Markets with a request for benefits about six months ago.
“SIDA had identified an existing grant that had previously been allocated to another project that the agency was in the process of reallocating, so they identified $275,000 that they have reauthorized to Tops,” said Ben Walsh, Executive Director of SIDA.
The agency authorized reallocation of the funds on Tuesday, but the reallocation will need to be approved by the state of New York.
“We expect the state will look upon it favorably,” said Judy Delaney, who handles financing through SIDA as the Economic Development Specialist.
“The reason bringing a grocery store into Valley Plaza is a priority for the mayor’s administration, and SIDA, is because the community has told us time and time again that its a priority,” Walsh said.
The project in Valley Plaza is a near miss for Brighton area residents who have been without a reliable food market for over a decade.
“It’s still far away for a person who walks,” said Joseph Bryant, board president of the South Side Community Coalition, who explained that according to a MetroEdge market study performed in 2005, 53 percent of residents in the two immediate census tracks between Brighton and Kennedy on South Salina rely on public transportation.
“We have to respond to opportunities that we feel like we have a good chance at,” Walsh said. “This was one where you had the existing infrastructure of a former grocery store that provided us with, I think, the advantage of being able to attract another grocery story to the space. But we’re trying to work with communities in neighborhoods all over the city to try to address other food desserts.”
Overall, residents seemed pleased with the prospect of Tops coming to the Plaza.
“It’s great to have another business in the city. The valley section of Syracuse and the Southside or Brighton neighborhood connect, and it would be great to see Tops move forward and open up,” Bryant said.