downtown Syracuse

Downtown Committee of Syracuse

The “Elf on the Shelf” is coming to downtown Syracuse.  The holiday icon is part of an attempt to get more visibility for downtown shops during the holiday season.

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is calling him “Dash.”  The elf will be turning up in shops, restaurants and museums throughout downtown Syracuse during the holiday season. Alice Maggiore of the Downtown Committee says it’s all part of a push to get people thinking downtown when they think about holiday spending.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The former Hotel Syracuse won’t reopen as the Marriott Hotel Downtown until sometime next spring. But, that’s not stopping brides, nonprofits and companies from around the world from booking a wedding or event at the almost 100-year-old hotel.

Hotel owner Ed Riley said in the midst of the multi-million dollar renovation, there have been between 20 and 30 tours for potential customers every week. And, stepping through the the dusty hallways with exposed wires and crumbing plaster isn’t putting a crimp on potential business.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Old met new at the former Hotel Syracuse this week. The manager of what is now the Marriott Downtown Syracuse and the manager of the hotel in its hey days toured the historic facility in downtown Syracuse Tuesday. The hotel is undergoing a $57 million dollar renovation.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A $57 million renovation will turn the former Hotel Syracuse into the new Marriott Downtown Syracuse,  scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. Now, the hotel is partnering with a branch of SUNY to help train inner city residents for some of the available jobs.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse’s Innovation Team is developing new infrastructure ideas for the city. Public forums are being held to gather input from the community.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner created the Innovation Team to think up solutions to the city’s big problems. The team is funded by a three-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Each year the team will choose a priority area and this year's area is infrastructure.  

Some of the ideas the participants came up with include public Internet service and consolidated city services, such as sewer and water.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

Workers are putting the finishing touches on a couple of model rooms at the former Hotel Syracuse this week.

Most of the interior of hotel has been taken down to its studs as part of a $57 million dollar renovation. That includes floors two through nine which will be home to 261 rooms in the new Marriott Downtown Syracuse.  

Al Gough, chief financial officer for Hotel Syracuse Restoration, says it’s important to have these model rooms available well before the hotel opening, anticipated next spring.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As the $57 million renovation of the Hotel Syracuse continues, operators want the public to pass along stories and artifacts they may have about the historic building. The history of the hotel, which opened in 1924, is very much a part of the renovation that will turn it into a Marriot Downtown Syracuse.

And while the team renovating the hotel is asking people for their memories, they continue to find iconic items hidden behind years of remodeling. Because you never know what’s going to turn up as crews dismantle the Hotel Syracuse to its bare bones.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News file photo

It was another step forward in the restoration of the historic Hotel Syracuse Thursday with the renaming of the iconic hotel.


It’s a transition from a name that’s meant memories for over 90 years in Syracuse, to a name travelers across the world recognize. 

"The Hotel Syracuse moniker, brand, is going to retire," declared hotel owner Ed Riley. "The new name of this hotel, and the new partnership we will have, will be the Marriott Downtown Syracuse.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse is celebrating its 40th birthday. The group that was created in 1975 is watching over a neighborhood that’s dramatically changed.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Onondaga County Legislature has put its support behind a so-called hybrid option to replace Interstate 81 through Syracuse, the same day the Downtown Committee put its weight behind the boulevard plan.

It’s another example of the suburban versus urban divide that has developed over this lengthy debate about the future of Interstate 81.

The Downtown Committee compared the two options the state transportation department is formally studying right now: a rebuilt viaduct, or the highway’s diversion around the city and replacing it with a boulevard.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Following a trend for downtown Syracuse real estate, an office building is being renovated to have residential space, but with a twist. 

The building at the corner of Jefferson and Warren Streets is transforming into a communal space, with room for both co-working and co-living, making it perhaps the most different addition to the neighborhood’s residential construction boom.

Troy Evans is converting two floors of empty office space into co-living space, where tenants will rent small rooms with individual bathrooms.

jpellgen / via Flickr

The University Hill section of Syracuse is home to two colleges, three hospitals and several businesses that support them. It’s also a quarter of Syracuse’s economy.

There's $650 million worth of investment underway on the hill, according to Dave Mankiewitz, president of the University Hill Corporation.

The University Hill Corporation has been advised that Interstate 81 needs to be removed for the neighborhood to thrive. But the group is waiting to weigh in on the project.

Less than two weeks ago, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) vowed to help attract a grocery store to Syracuse’s Armory Square neighborhood. Monday, he announced that the trendy organic grocer Whole Foods has returned his call.

“They are interested in Armory Square. And they are going to visit -- myself, the mayor and representatives of Whole Foods -- in the fall,” said the senator.

Schumer says one thing that has grabbed Whole Foods attention is that the only other store in upstate New York, in Albany, has exceeded its sales projections.

City seizes Hotel Syracuse through eminent domain

Jul 3, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The City of Syracuse has used legal channels to take control of the Hotel Syracuse after several efforts to redevelop the historic downtown lodging site have failed.

Syracuse and its economic development arm, the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, transferred title of the property to the site's developer, Ed Riley.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

As the number of people living downtown continues to grow, so does the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says he can help lure one to the central business district.

Schumer says the heads of major chains will listen to him. He's reaching out to a number of chains, like Tops and Whole Foods, to try to convince them to locate downtown.

Many officials and residents say that as the neighborhood become more residential, a place to buy groceries is needed.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Downtown Syracuse is in the midst of a multi-million dollar development boom. Much of this development is fueled by people who want to live downtown.

There are signs of construction all along the 300 block of South Salina Street in Syracuse. Downtown Committee executive director Merike Treier says today’s downtown has changed a lot in the last decade.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Downtown Syracuse could gain a grocery store in the near future, thanks to a market from a different part of town.

The Syracuse Real Food Co-op has been a fixture of the University area neighborhood for four decades. And business has been good.

"We do way higher, like four-times, the industry standard for sales-per-square feet. We are literally busting at the seams," said Syracuse Real Food Co-Op General Manager Jeremy DeChario.

Their small space makes growing any more nearly impossible, he said, but the grocery store has set its sights on downtown.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The sports stadium expert advising Syracuse University in the recent debate over building a new stadium on Syracuse’s east side, says the future of a stadium for Syracuse sports is still under discussion. The urgency of the plan now is nowhere near what it was earlier this year, when a potential pot of state money could have become available.

Irwin Raij, of Foley and Lardner, the law firm SU hired as a consultant, says the stadium study conducted late last year was worth it for a couple of reasons.

N.Y. Department of Transportation

A tunnel to replace Interstate 81's current elevated path through downtown Syracuse could take four possible routes through the city.

The New York Department of Transportation revealed tunnel options ahead of a meeting to explain all 16 possible variations of a new Interstate 81 in Syracuse. 

Interstate 81 runs from the Canadian border in the north to the Pennsylvania border in the south. The 50-year-old highway carries thousands of cars each day through Syracuse.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

Churches play a vital role in any community. A symposium was held on Saturday to raise awareness of the role church buildings play in downtown Syracuse, since both occupied and vacant properties impact the neighborhoods.

The Mission Restaurant in downtown Syracuse was built in the 1840s and used to be the Syracuse Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was part of the Underground Railroad. The Hotel Skyler on the Syracuse University campus was a synagogue before it was renovated with green energy and environmental design standards.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO

For five years, central New Yorkers have been talking about what should be done with an interstate viaduct that is reaching the end of its lifespan. The discussion is now formal, with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration holding the first scoping session in Syracuse, meant to gather community input on the issue.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Department of Transportation to retrofit or phase out a specific type of railway car that carries crude oil and ethanol. The DOT-111 is the same kind of tank car as those that derailed and exploded in July in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying 40 buildings.

Schumer spoke in front of a rail bridge near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday, where he says around 200 cars of oil and 100 cars of ethanol pass by everyday due to an increase in domestic energy production in the U.S.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The large windows that now face out onto the 300 block of West Genesee Street in the early 1900's used to display expensive roadsters made by the Chalmers Motor Car Company in Syracuse. They now are part of the new offices of the Red Cross of Central New York.

That sense of history attracted the charity to the location when they needed a more practical office space than the former one at Herald Place.

Connective Corridor

Concerns over tax increases for businesses along the Connective Corridor in Syracuse have derailed plans to keep the new infrastructure maintained.

When it was time to vote on creating a new Special Assessment District for the businesses on the eastern end of the Connective Corridor, Councilor Lance Denno tabled the resolution, essentially blocking a vote at today's meeting. He says some businesses would see their city tax bill double if this new district is created.

elh70 / via Flickr

It looks like The Sound Garden, a popular new and used music and videogame store in downtown Syracuse, will be staying put after all.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Friday afternoon announced a deal has been reached on proposed legislation that would exempt games, videos and music from the provisions of the city's new secondhand dealer law.

Those provisions had forced the owner of the store to make plans to close down the Armory Square fixture. The Sound Garden has a second location in Baltimore, Md.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the city isn't giving up on the latest proposal to renovate the Hotel Syracuse. A plan for the city to take over the tax delinquent property stalled last week when, Financitech, which holds the mortgage on the hotel, paid back taxes at the last minute.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

An ice cream icon in Syracuse has become the latest business to join in the revitalization of downtown Syracuse. Gannon's Isle has opened up a permanent store in the Dey's building, on the corner of South Salina and Jefferson Streets.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

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.

Boston Public Library / via Flickr

Syracuse will formally commence the foreclosure process on a long vacant downtown church, aiming to turn the historic building into another part of a downtown residential boom.

CORRECTION March 4: Current Mizpah Tower owner Syracuse Bangkok, LLC. is $115,646.31 delinquent on taxes, according to the Onondaga County property tax database.

A potential new owner of the long-vacant Mizpah Tower in downtown Syracuse is hoping to satisfy a certain kind of rental market.