September 08, 2006
By Tim Knauss, Staff writer
The chief executive officer of The Pioneer Cos. says he's planning to
spend $70 million to $90 million to build a mix of housing, retail and
office space on two parking lots he bought last week near Armory Square.
But first he's looking for ideas.
So Michael P. Falcone is sponsoring a class this fall at the
Warehouse, the downtown quarters of Syracuse University's School of
Architecture. The Warehouse sits between the two lots.
Ten architecture students participating in the semester- long
"Pioneer Studio" will develop designs for the buildings, at least one of
which Falcone hopes to use as a basis for his project. Falcone said he's
given the students little direction beyond asking them to consider a mix
of apartments or condos, retail and office space, and possibly student
He's hoping for results that are "completely different than anything
that's been done here," he said. "They're going to give the market
something that they haven't seen before."
To help teach the class, Falcone paid to bring in innovative
Manhattan architect Lindy Roy, founder and principal of ROY Co., whose
projects include the chic Andre Balazs Hotel QT in Times Square.
Roy will fly in every two weeks to meet with the class, which she
teaches in collaboration with Ted Brown, an SU architecture professor.
Falcone will meet regularly with the students, who include a mix of
graduate students and fourth-year undergraduates.
"It's definitely my most exciting class," said Jason Evans, a fourth-
year student from LaFayette. "I can't wait to keep working on it."
After the class concludes in December, Roy will continue working with
Falcone to help develop the project.
It's not unusual for the architecture school to bring in visiting
experts to help teach "studios," which are practical courses arranged
around the design of a project, said Mary Kate O'Brien, speaking for the
But it is unusual for the project to be a real one.
"It's very rare," Roy agreed. "It's a pretty fantastic opportunity."
Roy said she knows Falcone from working with him on potential projects
in New York City. The Pioneer Cos. closed last week on the purchase of
the two former E.M. O'Donnell parking lots, Falcone said. He declined to
reveal the price.
The lots will remain open for parking, operated by Murbro Parking,
until a decision is made about the development, Falcone said.
Both lots are visible from the design studios in the Warehouse. One
extends from Franklin Street west along Washington Street to the north
side of the Warehouse. The smaller lot is across Fayette Street from the
Warehouse, bounded by Onondaga Creek and Walton Street.
Syracuse University bought the Warehouse, a former furniture company
storage facility, last year as part of Chancellor Nancy Cantor's plan to
strengthen ties between the university and downtown. The architecture
school is using the building temporarily while its on- campus facility
Other university programs will use the space after the architecture
school moves out.
Falcone said zoning regulations would permit development of about
400,000 square feet on the two parking lots. By comparison, the nearby
six-story AT&T building at 250 S. Clinton St., which Pioneer built in
1990 and where it still has its offices, comprises about 220,000 square
You can contact Staff Writer Tim Knauss at email@example.com or
© 2006 The Post-Standard.