Wanted: 60,000 new middle-income households

Douglas Sutherland
Franklin Properties, LLC

"The key to any city's future lies in its ability to attract and retain middle-income residents."

This presentation was delivered to the Thursday Morning Roundtable at University College in Syracuse, April 6, 2006.

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Some points from the presentation:

  • There's nothing wrong with Syracuse that 60,000 new middle-income residents wouldn't solve.

  • A person who lives and works downtown spends about four times as much money there as someone who only works downtown.

    • The buying power of 20,000 new downtown residents would be equal to 80,000 new downtown office workers who live in the suburbs.

  • Retail left downtown because it followed the people who moved out of town.

  • Sprawl without growth: We've taken a fixed population and spread it over twice as much terrain

  • The city needs to act like new middle-income residential development is the most important thing they can do for the future because it probably is.

  • We must leverage our redevelopment assets. The city should get 5-10 dollars of private investment for every dollar of government investment.

  • Great neighborhoods require: Excellence, Safety and Predictability.

  • 74.4% of U.S. households don't have children under the age of 18. Most Americans aren't
    making housing decisions based on school considerations.

  • No community has ever demolished its way to prosperity.

    • 20% of any building's cost is the basic structure. Existing buildings, particularly historic buildings, are the "low-hanging fruit" of downtown redevelopment.

    • Stop demolishing our assets. When buildings are demolished, the site often remains vacant for years. Demolition permits should only be issued when a building permit is also being issued for the same site.


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