Sen. Charles Schumer is bringing his influence to the latest plan to revive the Hotel Syracuse. The Democrat senator believes a federal tax credit program would help draw investors that would be willing to spend the millions it would take to restore the Warren Street historic landmark.
Standing across the street from the hotel that's been empty for the last nine years, Schumer said $10 million from the New Markets Tax Credit program would boost efforts to bring the building back to life.
"The New Market Tax Credits are very focused on older buildings in older downtowns. So it's a perfect project for that," he said.
The $10 million would be part of $ 75 million Schumer will propose goes to Centerstate CEO to help finance major development projects in the region.
"Downtown Syacuse is beginning to come back. Imagine what a shot in the arm a revitalized beautiful Hotel Syracuse will do to that coming back vitality. So I'm making this a top priority for me," said Schumer.
An Israeli company currently owns the hotel, but back taxes on the property will amount to a half a million dollars if no payments are made before April. The funding could open the door to developers according to Deputy Onondaga County Executive Bill Fisher.
"The city of Syracuse has a process whereby developers could purchase that in a tax sale. And there are a couple of significant developers nationally who have expressed an interest in that and were looking forward to at least one of them coming forward soon and making a purchase offer to the city," said Fisher.
The city's last effort to do that failed when a portion of those taxes were paid. But Fisher thinks the time may be right now.
"We think that we do have the right collection of players that are supportive of this, and the right amounts of public funding, and the private market for hotel financing has cleared up in the last couple of years," said Fisher.