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Businesses make the move from the suburbs to downtown

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Businesses make the move from the suburbs to downtown
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It wasn't that long ago that businesses were moving out of downtown Syracuse, but it looks like the tide is turning. Sarah Blazonis reports.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- BTI The Travel Consultants moved to its East Jefferson Street location just more than a year ago. The company's president says it was no coincidence that it ended up downtown.

"It needs to be recreated. We need it for the economy of the city. I think it's moving in a tremendous direction and we wanted to be a part of it," said BTI President and CEO Lou Lemos.

It's not alone. The Downtown Committee of Syracuse says BTI is just one of several companies that have moved downtown from the suburbs.

"Definitely O'Brien and Gere. Just last year, KS&R moved 185 employees from the suburbs to downtown. MVP Healthcare moved into downtown," said Merike Treier, the committee's executive director.

Soon, one more name will be added to that list. Property managers for AXA Towers say CNA Insurance in Liverpool signed a lease for space in one of the buildings. Monday, the Syracuse Common Council approved reserving more than 130 parking spaces in nearby garages for workers.

"That's essential to the growth of downtown and part of the package when people come downtown is for their employees to be able to have parking," said Common Councilor Nader Maroun.

But new businesses aren't the only changes. The Downtown Committee says the $265 million in development work being done here, like the Pike Block project, are also encouraging businesses to relocate.

"With all of the new apartments and condos being built in downtown, employees now have the option of living where they work as well, so being able to ditch the car and walk to work instead," said Treier.

And while businesses say they're excited about their new neighbors, there's still plenty of room to grow.

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