Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - It's one of the biggest projects in downtown Syracuse: the Pike Block project will rehab four buildings at the corner of Salina and Fayette streets.
When it's done the project will breathe new life into the heart of downtown.
Demolition work started Monday afternoon on South Clinton Street
It's the first significant outside work, so people will get a sense of what's really happening there.
The project will create an interior courtyard that ties together buildings all the way down to the newly renovated Landmark Theatre.
Dave Nutting, with VIP Structures, says “What really matters is that we're tying Armory Square directly through a passageway all the way to Salina Street, and we're creating an interior street, really a streetscape on the back of South Salina Street."
The project has taken almost two decades to get to this point. Inside work has been happening for months.
Four of the buildings are gutted and framing for apartments is already taking shape. By the end of the year, Nutting says it will be a recognizable project and even the first tenants will be moving in.
He says the interest is high and they'll have no problem filling them with people who want to live downtown.
“People stop in on the superintendent everyday and we assume they'll be people looking for apartments, they aren't, they are almost invariably people looking for rental space to open a business in the building so that's been an interesting sort of a turn,” Nutting said.
He expects 10 to 12 stores in the newly created passageway and some on Salina Street where they're already working on historically accurate storefronts.
“This is the fun part, so we can now actually watch this thing grow, things are off and running and things will happen very quickly now."
Nutting says they are already in serious talks with three retailers about setting up shop.
Among the four buildings at Salina and Fayette, Pike Block is expected to have 78 apartments along with retail space on the first floors.