Construction Begins on Syracuse’s First All-Minority Led Commercial Development as Partners Announce Net Zero Status for the Mixed-Use Development and a Commitment to Economic Growth
Syracuse, NY (June 2, 2022) † On Thursday June 2nd, Salina 1st Partners Emanuel Henderson, Eli Smith, and Gail Montplaisir announced construction is now underway on the catalytic mixed-use community development project. As first announced in 2019, Salina 1st will be the first all-minority led commercial development in the history of Syracuse. With an estimated investment of over $10 million, the Salina 1st project aims to embrace, not displace neighborhood residents, and will target to hire within the community† It will transform a vacant downtown property into a 52,000 square-foot facility made up of residential, retail, light industrial, and incubator/shared office space.
The project is headed by local African American developers Emanuel Henderson of JHP Industrial Supply Co., and Eli Smith of E. Smith Contractors, as well their partner Gail Montplasir, a real estate development professional from Washington, DC. Along with the celebration of the construction kick-off, the team shared that Salina 1st will create renewable energy and is considered a Net Zero Energy project. New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) supported the Salina 1st project with a $1,000,000 award through the Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development program.
“Thanks to NYSERDA, we will be able to carry out our sustainable plans,” said Smith. “No carbon emissions will be transmitted. In addition, Salina 1st will be self-powered with over a million kWh of solar energy generation.”
Doreen Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said† “NYSERDA is pleased to help celebrate the Salina 1st project moving forward with construction on a net zero emission mixed use building fully powered by clean solar energy that will provide economic opportunities to downtown Syracuse and its residents. As we grow our green economy and ensure a just clean energy future for all, New York State is committed to investing in projects such as this in support of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal of ensuring at least 35 percent of clean energy investments benefit disadvantaged communities.”
“The Salina 1st Project is a historic step forward for economic, racial, and financial equity for the City of Syracuse. As a Net Zero project, and the first fully minority-driven commercial development, the Salina 1st Project exemplifies the vision that Syracuse will be a growing city that embraces diversity and creates opportunity for all,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “Situated along the South Salina corridor, this project will be a driver for the revitalization of the larger area. I congratulate and thank all partners for this investment in Syracuse.”
“We want to make people start dreaming again,” Henderson said. “Like the rest of the world, our initial timeline was pushed back due to the pandemic, but we’re back on track and moving forward. It’s time to reinvest our own dollars back into this community, the way my father did. In addition, we plan to launch a crowd funding effort shortly so that the Syracuse Community can become investors in the project.”
Both Henderson’s and Smith’s fathers were entrepreneurs who invested in the Syracuse community. City of Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens said, “They are strong examples of what generational wealth looks like and are leading the way for more like them in the community.”
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “The growth and momentum in our community is undeniable and the Salina 1st project is proof positive of that.” McMahon continued, “Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this project a reality.”
Salina 1st is located at 1081 South Salina St, right along the South Salina corridor of the Syracuse Surge, an area that the City of Syracuse is targeting for investment opportunities for disenfranchised businesses. The project will consist of two adjacent buildings on two acres of land. Five community retail spaces will be located on the street level, two floors of co-working office space will be located above the retail, and offering full-service incubator space to include workforce development, training, entrepreneurship support and scaling services. Conference rooms will be available to the community. There will be 24 state-of-the-art, mixed-income residential apartments offered at a fraction of the cost of downtown living.
Salina 1st partners want to lead the way to a flourishing, minority community by providing the blueprint for other entrepreneurs and developers. They are working with LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund, a mission-oriented investment fund focused on investing in Black-led businesses, real estate developers and anchor institutions to help close the racial wealth gap.
“The Black Economic Development Fund (BEDF) is a direct response to the systemic economic and social challenges that have prevented our communities from accessing the investment capital needed to spur growth and create hope,” said George Ashton of LISC Black Economic Development Fund. “We are inspired by the developers of Salina 1st and their dedication to the South Syracuse community. The project’s focus on jobs and economic growth within the Black community are exactly aligned with the mission of this fund.”
“The Salina 1st project represents an environmentally conscious, intentional investment in our community, and is an integral component of the economic resurgence of the Southeast Gateway Neighborhood,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “This $10 million investment to transform a two-acre vacant property will spur additional investments and growth through this corridor, while building on other large-scale development and neighborhood-based projects taking place in the area. We congratulate all the partners that have enabled this project to advance and look forward to its completion.”
“Job creation and generational wealth is what it’s all about,” Smith said. “It’s time to open doors and kick down barriers. It is our mission to bring our vision, energy, and resources to underserved communities to create the opportunities.
“The Salina 1st project is making history as Syracuse’s first all-minority commercial development company,” said Upstate Minority Economic Alliance Executive Director Me’Shae Rolling. “This phenomenal revitalization project has the potential long-term reverberation of investing millions into the local and regional CNY economies, as well as building workforce development and cultivating wealth in communities of color.”
Salina 1st partners will collaborate with other community influencers to implement a full circle approach, which will involve: Community Investment, Workforce Development, and Stability and Social Impact.
Community Investment Nurtures Visions of the Community’s Potential. the STAY HERE community development approach embraces community members, not displace them. This on-going investment creates new demand and cultivates new businesses, resulting in employment, more demand, and added investment.
Workforce and Business Development
Workforce and Business Development promotes an internal economic growth system through training, entrepreneurial visioning, and support of businesses. During the construction process, Salina 1st will hire neighborhood workers and help them gain the necessary job skills.
Stability and Social Impact
Stability and Social Impact focuses on community-oriented development that empowers the community from within. by the community, for the community – proves that innovative ideas live within the community and social impact does not need to be imported.
“Salina 1st is more than just building a building. We designed it to fit and benefit the needs of its tenants and the community, from beginning to end,” Henderson said.
Construction on the Salina 1st project is scheduled to be completed by 2024. Commercial tenants planning to move in upon completion include: JHP Industrial Supply Company, Inc., SGTR, and E. Smith Contractors.