POMCO’s new proposal…a perfect example

eastwood

Over at Walkable Eastwood there is a great post on POMCO’s proposal to tear down the old “Ausman” building and replace it with a two-story mixed-use building, i.e. part parking garage, part office space. This is a perfect example of what keeping our “eyes on the street” means. A basic principle of planning is that you do not want to turn a building inward, you do not want it facing away from the street.

POMCO’s proposal calls for the first floor to be a 17-space parking garage with windows (probably opaque) and the second floor to contain office space. The rear part of the building will contain additional parking that will connect with Walgreen’s parking lot. This raises two questions: (1) is parking a huge problem in Eastwood and (2) is this type of development given tacit acceptance by residents because the status quo is untenable?

The current state of the “Ausman” building is a major eyesore on these re-developed blocks of Eastwood. But should residents just accept a business proposal for renovation because there is nothing better likely to come along?

This same question is coincidentally being raised at the other end of Eastwood, where Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll is proposing a demolition of the old Steak and Sundae building. Mayor Driscoll’s plan calls for demolition and development of the site as green space until an appropriate commercial tenant for the site can be identified.

Driscoll’s rationale for the demolition belies the current development taking place at the other end of Eastwood:

Clearly, the investment community has viewed this area as a difficult place to make an investment in, and in fact, has not.  There needs to be some kind of compromise to find a new balance.

All this leaves us with the decision of what kind of neighborhood do the Eastwood residents want to see developed. One that gives favor to commercial tenants like Papa Johns and Dunkin Donuts, or one that encourages sustainable development by companies that bring many long-term jobs to the area.

These questions play themselves out around the county in various forms. Our opinion is that in order to foster economic sustainability, places like Eastwood need to be united in their opposition to accepting the first commercial tenant that comes along, and need to raise expectations for businesses that would like to be a part of our communities.

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