The Erie Boulevard East Area covers approximately 478 acres and is situated in a low lying area between the University and Eastwood neighborhoods of the City, just east of Downtown Syracuse. Erie Boulevard is the primary commercial and transportation corridor within the eastern City limits, revealing traces of the former Erie Canal which was transformed into this modern automotive boulevard. The area is characterized and dominated by commercial uses, catering to the automobile, with easy access for City residents via Interstate 690. The area is homogenous, and could be located in any other city or suburb of the country. The lack of community, sense of place, continuity, or identification creates a confusing mosaic of service and retail enterprises.
The Erie Boulevard East Area was evaluated beyond the current and accepted strategies for such a commercialized corridor. The City of Syracuse initially identified 14 sites defined as brownfields for its application for funding. To further satisfy the goals and objectives of the BOA program, and based upon preliminary field visits to the Erie Boulevard East area, an additional 48 vacant, abandoned, or underutilized sites were determined to be strategic “target sites” to evaluate further for the purposes of this Nomination Study. Ensuring sustainable and context-sensitive design solutions is part of future redevelopment efforts will be critical to revitalizing this important corridor.
The Study identified the following large scale overall opportunities that are present within the Erie Blvd BOA for the redevelopment of sites, job creation, and long-term area-wide revitalization:
- Economic activity and job creation
- Improve urban design
- Employ beautification techniques
- Land assemblage opportunities
- Marketing of development potential
- Remove the perception of environmental contamination