Madison County Awarded $1.5M in 2018 as Winner of the Reimagine the Canals Competition
Conceptual Drawings of Neighborhood Available Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Madison County officials selected Savarino Companies of Buffalo to develop the transformative "Pocket Neighborhood" project along the Old Erie Canal in the Central New York community of Canastota, 25 miles east of Syracuse. As the developer, Savarino Companies - supported by STREAM Collaborative of Ithaca and CJS Architects of Buffalo - will develop a unique pocket neighborhood that incorporates a blend of housing, mixed-use commercial space and recreational opportunities.
"The Reimagine the Canals initiative is revitalizing Upstate New York communities through innovative, strategic investments that will grow tourism and stimulate further economic development along the canal corridor," Governor Cuomo said. "This project will completely transform the Village of Canastota, creating an even more vibrant community for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come while honoring the rich heritage of the Erie Canal."
Madison County officials' vision for the project creates a unique neighborhood on 2.5 acres of land in Canastota that features various styles of housing to accommodate residents in different stages of their lives to encourage community-building. SavarinoCompanies' proposed neighborhood would incorporate retail and commercial space and take advantage of 252 feet of Old Erie Canal frontage that showcases the area's beauty, rich heritage, and recreational opportunities - including kayaking, camping, and hiking on the Empire State Trail - that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors.
This project was first envisioned by Madison County and was the first-place winner of the Reimagine the Canals competition in 2018. Madison County will receive $1.5 million in state funding to support the redevelopment of the site, 160 East Center Street in Canastota, which the county secured in January 2020. Prior to issuing a Request for Qualifications, County officials completed initial environmental assessments and a preliminary market analysis and created renderings, concepts, and site layout designs to aid the selected developer during the pre-construction phase of the project.
New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "The pocket neighborhood project in Canastota is another example of our commitment to strategically invest in canalside communities through the Reimagine the Canals initiative. These investments safeguard the Canal's role as a driver of economic growth and will improve the quality of life of New Yorkers."
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "Madison County's vision for this site inspired the Reimagine the Canals competition committee - encouraging residents of different ages, abilities, and life stories to live together in a community built to nurture those connections. We're confident that the SavarinoCompanies will bring that vision to life by creating this unique neighborhood along the Old Erie Canal."
Village of Canastota Mayor Rosanne Warner said, "This project will be a tremendous step forward in our efforts to bring visitors and new residents alike to Canastota. We are hopeful that it will demonstrate to other communities how to repurpose and revitalize their waterfronts. We are grateful to NYPA and the Canal Corporation for recognizing the potential of this project and look forward to working with the developer to bring it to life."
Jamie Kowalczk, Assistant Director of the Madison County Planning Department, said, "This 'Pocket Neighborhood' project won't only be beneficial for people who live in the new neighborhood but will add vibrancy and new foot traffic to the entire Canastota downtown area. The neighborhood itself will be a short two-minute walk away from the charming downtown—creating opportunities for residents and visitors alike to seamlessly enjoy all the area has to offer."
Madison County officials will work with Savarino to complete a market study and real estate due diligence to determine more specifically what can be built on the site and what will be required by lending institutions to fund construction of the site. This will be followed by site analysis and planning to finalize the actual site layout and design of the project.
This pocket neighborhood is just one component of the larger Reimagine the Canals initiative unveiled by Governor Cuomo in 2020 to invest $300 million to reimagine the Erie Canal to mitigate flooding, enhance irrigation and recreational fishing, restore wetlands, and create recreational activities on the Canal to boost tourism.