downtown Syracuse

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The residential growth in downtown Syracuse shows no sign of slowing down, with the newest property almost filled.

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield moved it’s offices to the suburbs in 2008, it left a gaping hole in downtown Syracuse. The Warren Street complex actually is made up of four buildings, and that’s what Graziano Zazzara has repurposed into dozens of luxury apartments.

"We opened up four months ago, started renting apartments, and we have one left out of 89," Zazzara said. 

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A $12 million renovation is underway at the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse. The cathedral has many maintenance problems similar to what other older churches face in the city.

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An $8 million renovation of Onondaga County’s Central Library in downtown Syracuse wrapped up this month. And the facility on South Salina Street has now become more than a place to get books.

A caregiver sits nearby, as three toddlers tumble through a giant penned-in play area on the second floor of the Central Library. There are books galore spread out through the brightly colored space, but also places for kids to stretch their imagination -- a pretend grocery store, a train table, a stage.

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As friends and family return home for the holidays, one event in Syracuse is trying to convince them to stay. The “Come Home to Syracuse” event connects former residents with employers in the area.

Believe in Syracuse Executive Director John DeSantis said the event targets individuals that used to live in Syracuse and tries to get them to think about the Syracuse community and the idea of moving back.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

After the $76 million renovation of the former Hotel Syracuse, which is now the Mariott Syracuse Downtown, developer Ed Riley is planning on renovating another vacant Syracuse hotel.

Marriott Syracuse Downtown

It’s taken 12 years, but the former Hotel Syracuse is once again open to the public. Rebranded as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, visitors began staying at the historic structure in downtown Syracuse on Friday. It means a huge boost not only economically, but to the psyche of central New York, a region battered by a faltering economy and dwindling population in recent years.

Marriott Syracuse Downtown

Operators of the new Marriott Syracuse Downtown  opened the former Hotel Syracuse to the public last week, and are looking forward to their first full house this week.

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Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor, which collaborates on improvement projects with the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County, is kicking off a summer of art installations throughout downtown Syracuse. The goal is to get students off the university hill and to beautify the area.

Jon Bocksel is about two stories high in the air painting two 208-square-foot murals along either side of the Penny Pub in downtown Syracuse.

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The state Department of Transportation is informing the public on how it would acquire property if it is needed in the reconstruction of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse. The earliest the state would begin that process is still two years away.

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Two high-tech companies in Syracuse are expanding with the help of New York state. Officials say it’s a reflection of a broader trend of economic development in upstate New York.

Terakeet, an internet marketing firm, and TCG Ascension Gaming, which runs an online marketplace for collectable trading cards, will add almost 250 employees to their rosters in coming months. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the numbers Thursday at the former Hotel Syracuse, which is reopening in a month as a Marriott property. All proof, the governor says, of a rebounding economy.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Work behind the scenes continues as the New York State Department of Transportation moves towards removing or replacing the crumbling Interstate 81 viaduct that cuts through the heart of Syracuse.

The community has been talking about this for years now -- what to do when the viaduct that brings I-81 through Syracuse comes to the end of its lifespan next year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County’s Central Library, located in downtown Syracuse, has been undergoing an $8 million renovation as part of an effort to update and modernize the library for the 21st century, while taking advantage of downtown’s revitalization.

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The wraps are off the early design for a new Perseverance Park in downtown Syracuse. The idea is to create a park with public art that draws people to the area on South Salina Street between Armory and Clinton Squares..

Jerry Van Eyck, of the New York design firm !melk, has been pondering Perseverance Park on South Salina Street for months now.

“It’s a space that’s the epicenter of downtown that is very underwhelmed and underwhelming, and we intend to change that,” said Van Eyck

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There will be some life at the former Hotel Syracuse this weekend for the first time in over a decade. Hotel Developer Ed Riley is allowing the the St. Patrick’s parade committee to hold a couple of private events in the hotel’s lobby Friday and Saturday.

“This year it’s just very low key," Riley said. "It’s really for the parade and the parade committee to assist them with maybe raising some money and maybe making sure that continues on as a Syracuse tradition for many years.”  

Riley said the historic hotel is already booked a couple of days.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As the Interstate-81 viaduct that runs through downtown Syracuse reaches the end of its useful life, three options are being studied to replace it. Regardless of which option is selected, hundreds of families living in public housing living near the interstate are going to be directly affected.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

For the first time in almost 50 years, Le Moyne College is offering classes in downtown Syracuse.  

There’s no room for growth at Le Moyne’s Salt Springs Road Campus. So the school rented out a long-vacant wing of the Larned M & T Building on Hanover Square, to house its new occupational therapy program. President Linda LeMura says this brings the Jesuit school back downtown, where classes were first held in 1946.

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Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is encouraging small business owners to take advantage of a free training program that he says is helping revitalizing downtown Syracuse.

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Onondaga County lawmakers are trying to figure out the future of the historic Carnegie Library building next to Columbus Circle in downtown Syracuse.In the past, there's been talk about moving some county offices there, but there’s been no movement on that issue recently.  

So Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon wants to find out what it’s worth on the open market. He’s asking the Onondaga County Legislature to approve a 90-day request for proposal to gauge private sector interest in the building.

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.

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