An upscale hotel chain has signed on as the first tenant in the redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced Thursday that will build an $18 million, 130 room "Aloft" hotel at the former barge canal, as part of a larger redevelopment of the now rarely used site.
In all, COR Development is working on a $350 million overhaul of the site. It plans more commercial and residential space.
The hotel will be just down the street from one of Syracuse's largest draws: Destiny USA.
"Anytime you have a demand generator that’s going to bring a lot of people to an area, that’s always in the thought process," said Starwood senior development director John Salvatore, referring to the mall. He says the way the Inner Harbor project is being put together, there are multiple demand generators.
"We look at it as an opportunity to grow in a fantastic development," Salvatore added.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Syracuse to announce the hotel plans, saying "you couldn't have a better site than the Inner Harbor."
Starwood's decision to build in Syracuse is a vote of confidence, Cuomo said.
"They’re betting on our future and we’re excited about it," he said.
The Inner Harbor project has been a darling of the the governor's Regional Economic Development Council program. It was awarded $4.5 million in aid in the first two rounds. That money was used for cleanup and infrastructure, not luring the hotel to the site, according to a spokesman for the governor.
There’s been talk of Onondaga Community College putting a satellite campus at the site, but the school says nothing is finalized.