The Upstate Economy

Business and economic developments affecting the central and northern regions of upstate New York.

LtGovHochulNY / Flickr

Officials in the Mohawk Valley are scrambling to find a replacement tenant for a semiconductor chip fabrication plant in Marcy after its main corporate partner dropped out. But officials say they are still optimistic about the future of the project.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Upstate Medical University moved 340 employees to a new location in downtown Syracuse bringing their downtown workforce to about 400. Businesses are also moving downtown as part of a revitalization of the district.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt was once a major holiday shopping destination. But in recent years, more and more stores have moved out, leaving a shell of a building. And it doesn’t look like things will be changing soon.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Every year, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, raises millions of fish to be stocked in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

The hatchery raises several species of fish, but their pride and joy is the chinook salmon. Each fall, employees harvest millions of eggs, fertilize them, incubate them, and raise the fish until they're ready to be released into the wild.

This time of year, Les Resseguie and his team are overseeing millions of chinook eggs -- each about the size of a pea -- incubating in big trays in the hatchery’s basement.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The era of Howard Johnson’s Restaurants and Motor Lodges is long gone. But a vestige of the one of the largest hospitality chains in the country remained for years in central New York, on Carrier Circle in DeWitt. Now, after years of negotiation, a deal has been struck that allows access to the property, so the iconic orange roof has finally come down.

Southern Arkansas University / Flickr

Tioga Downs opened Friday as a full Las Vegas-style casino, complete with 33 table games and a poker room.

It's making good on its claim that of the four new upstate casinos, it would be the first to open.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The next piece to the revitalization of the downtown Syracuse area home to the former Hotel Syracuse will soon be in place. Developers and the city of Syracuse have struck a tax deal that will lead to a Hyatt Hotel, across the street from the Marriott Downtown Syracuse.

Opening date set for del Lago Resort & Casino

Nov 29, 2016
wilmorite.com

Officials with the del Lago Resort & Casino in Seneca County have announced Feb. 1 is the opening  date for the $440 million project.

It's one of four new gambling facilities planned for upstate New York.

The general manager for the del Lago resort, Jeff Babinski, says he expects it to eventually become a destination for some convention business as well.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Syracuse’s Buy Local Bash is Monday and it highlights local food, beverages, arts and retail in the central New York area. The event has been growing for the past seven years and this one could be the biggest yet. The event is being held from 5-9 p.m. at the Central New York Regional Market.

Syracuse First, the nonprofit that organizes the bash, was founded in 2009 by Chris Fowler, who says he remembers well what it was like in those early days.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Empire Farmstead Brewery in Cazenovia has established itself as the largest farm brewery on the eastern seaboard. And a spate of new state laws, friendly to brewers, has made it possible.

It used to be that Madison County was a leading producer of hops, an ingredient in beer. Then along came Prohibition, which almost killed the brewing industry -- and the ancillary industries that supported it -- and created a series of laws unfriendly to brewers.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a $30 million dollar airstrip that will test unmanned aircraft or drones will be built in central New York. The flight traffic management system is part of an overall push to drive the drone industry into the region.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Empty and abandoned houses, known as zombie homes, are a big problem in the North Country. The State Attorney General has awarded a total of $13 million to cities and towns across the state to help tackle the problem.

Watertown City Planner Mike Lumbis says right now the office is notified about a new vacant home in the city only if a neighbor complains about it. The $150,000 grant will allow Watertown to create a database of all the homes that are empty or going into foreclosure. That database will have information on the homeowner, Lumbis says, usually a bank.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Tax breaks from New York state are helping Welch Allyn add jobs to it’s Skaneateles Falls factory, and ensure that the company stays in central New York.

Nine hundred people currently work at Welch Allyn in Skaneateles Falls, creating the medical technology found in many doctor’s offices. The company’s been a central New York mainstay for a century, but when Hill-Rom Holdings of Chicago bought Welch Allyn 18 months ago, there was concern it would leave the area.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Local and state labor groups rallied in the Village of Liverpool outside of Syracuse Tuesday for a $15 an hour minimum wage in upstate New York. The state approved an increase to the minimum wage earlier this year that will bump it up to $12.50 an hour in upstate in five years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he eventually wants upstate to reach $15 an hour.

Oliver Hine / via Flickr

Newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that Syracuse is among the top 30 American cities for poverty rates, 29th to be exact. More than a third of its residents and nearly half of its children live below the federal poverty line.

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.

New York State Comptroller's Office / New York State Department of Labor

A recently released report from the New York state Comptroller's office finds that upstate is lagging behind the rest of the state in recovering the jobs lost during and after the Great Recession. 

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.

Sasha-Ann Simons / WXXI News

On a cloudy summer morning, Rochester Institute of Technology professor Carl Salvaggio and a student from the school’s Center for Imaging Science stood in an open Pittsford field, eyes fixed on the sky. They were flying an unmanned aircraft system — also known as a drone — with the help of a longtime pilot.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finished a dredging project at the Oswego harbor, resulting in the removal of 175,000 cubic yards of sediment. That will allow the Port of Oswego to accommodate bigger ships with more cargo.

At a press conference marking the project's completion Wednesday, Port of Oswego Authority Chairman Terrence Hammill said the port is on track to create an economic impact for central New York worth $50 million, a record amount.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

 

There are more than 150 abandoned homes in Watertown.  A report put out by the city assessor finds homes in the city can be empty for months, even years, before the bank takes them over.

Vacant homes have become such a problem in Watertown, the city council has had trouble wrapping their head around what to do.

Brian Phelps, the city assessor, visited hundreds of empty homes and poured over stacks of paperwork to figure out why these homes were abandoned.

 “As many vacant homes as there are, are as many individual stories.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New York state has been able to offer enough incentives to keep one central New York company from moving part of its operation to South Carolina.

Tessy Plastics has two plants in Onondaga County -- one in the town of Elbridge, another in the town of Van Buren. It makes plastics products for the medical industry, but half its business is manufacturing the five plastic pieces that make up underarm deodorant containers.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

 

A German-owned manufacturing company in Watertown will expand its facility and add jobs to its workforce. Roth Industries only plans to add 12 jobs as of now, but any job growth in Jefferson County is positive news.

Roth Industries is in the plastic processing business. That means they use heat to mold plastics into different forms -- like into those orange rectangle-shaped traffic barriers at highway construction sites. They also make oil storage tanks and other products.

Coyote Moon

 

Coyote Moon Vineyards, in the Thousand Islands, has won New York Winery of the Year. The family-owned business from Clayton has earned hundreds of awards in the eight years it’s been making wine.

Coyote Moon is the winery that first brought canned wine to the North Country. Owner Tony Randazzo said the decision to can their wine illustrates the family's mission behind their company. They aim to be creative and unpretentious.

17th Annual Jefferson County Survey of the Community

A survey released this week by Jefferson Community College asked a sampling of county residents what effect they think the increase in the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour will have on their lives.

Research Director Joel LaLone says, while half of those surveyed said the increase would have no impact, 23 percent said it would make their standard of living worse.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has signed a Syracuse resident hiring ordinance into law. Officials have high hopes that this legislation can cut into the city’s high poverty rate.

The law will require contracts in excess of $100,000 dollars issued by the City of Syracuse, guarantee that at least 20 percent of the hours worked on a job will be done by city residents.

Miner signed her name to the legislation at Syracuse’s Southwest Community Center, saying these opportunities will go a long way in attacking poverty, and its side effects.

St. Lawrence Spirits

The Clayton Town Planning Board will allow St. Lawrence Spirits to launch their distillery on Route 12E in the Thousand Islands.

The decision comes days after a state Supreme Court ruled that the proposed location for the distillery does not violate zoning laws.

The lawsuit against St. Lawrence Spirits and the town of Clayton was filed by neighbors who claimed the business was too close to their homes. They fear noise from the planned inn, restaurant and distillery would be a problem.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A convention on the traffic management of unmanned aircraft systems will be held in Syracuse and Rome this fall. The state’s commitment to fund drone programs helped land central New York the convention.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

At its annual meeting Thursday, Operation Oswego County, an economic development organization, said it helped create and retain about 386 jobs over the past year. But, the focus of the event centered on saving existing jobs that are at risk.

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