path for a sustainable future

Employment Centers

Employment Centers are locations where a large single business or a concentration of employers is present in a commercial business park or in a self-contained site, somewhat independent of its surrounding neighborhoods. These areas often employ hundreds to thousands of daily workers in office buildings and industrial properties.

Employment centers consist of areas specifically outside the Urban Core, including multiple formal business parks (e.g., Woodard Industrial Park and Hancock Air Park),  existing clusters of commercial and industrial lands along the Route 298 and Interstate 481 corridors,  as well as Onondaga Community College and Lemoyne College.


Employment Centers have a distinct character separate from the Urban Core (the Urban Core is the largest employment center in the County). Frequently, these areas are automobile-dependant, require close access to major transportation networks to meet distribution requirements, and are organized to require large tracts of land and perform in a manner that is not conducive to urban centers. Employment centers typically include two- to five-story office buildings, with large open parking lots and a varying degree of natural features. Employment Centers range in size and scale from individual, single-use office or business parks to more complex manufacturing, industrial and distribution centers.


The preservation and enhancement of Employment Centers is critical to the long-term sustainability of the County’s economy. Employment Centers should consider the need to ensure a high quality work atmosphere, proximity to residential options and out-the-door access to services and recreational resources desirable to employees. With rising fuel costs, access to transit will be increasingly valuable when attracting potential employees. These areas should also be more fully integrated into existing communities as mixed-use and/or infill development to capitalize on existing infrastructure and develoment densities supportive of transit.

Sample Strategies

  • Develop model zoning regulations permititng a diversity and density of support services and residential uses at levels supportive of transit service within and adjacent to Employment Centers.
  • Encourage continued infill and retrofit of these areas in a campus-like form, with buildings grouped around common services and open space.
  • Promote the inclusion of recreational amenities and connectivity to adjacent trail and open space networks.