The Upstate Economy

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

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

There’s been an unusual focus on upstate New York among top state politicians from the downstate area in recent weeks.  

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a speech in Utica Thursday, says downstate lawmakers -- who numerically dominate  the legislature -- have been unified in seeking aid and programs for New York City and Long Island. But he says upstate lawmakers are more balkanized and have been largely unsuccessful.

“There is no place called upstate,” said Cuomo, who said New Yorkers tend to identify with the city they leave nearest, like Syracuse or Buffalo or Rochester.

Robert S. Donovan / Flickr

Developers hoping to build a slaughterhouse in Watertown will have to go back to the drawing board. This comes after the Car Freshner Corporation has objected to the developer's plans. 

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.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been making frequent trips to upstate cities this summer, touting his success in reviving the regions’ faltering economy. But a new report from the New York state comptroller on job creation shows there is still some work to do.

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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

The Syracuse Common Council voted unanimously in favor of the redevelopment of a grocery store on the city's south side. The vote comes after years of community organizers trying to entice the supermarket chain Price Rite, to open a new store on the property.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

An apartment building geared towards students is going up in the shadow of Syracuse University. The new complex reflects a real estate sector that developers say has been neglected.

A long-vacant medical building has been torn down, and in its place a six story 54-unit student apartment complex is being built on University Avenue. The $18 million project has been a dream of Syracuse University grad Jared Hutter, a lead developer on the project, ever since he and his college roommate lived together in a house on Madison street in Syracuse a decade ago.

Watertown Airport

A new building and hangar at the Watertown Airport has opened to serve the growing needs of the local business community.

There are two parts to the Watertown Airport just outside the city -- there’s the commercial side where passengers board the two American Airlines flights to Philadelphia each day, and there’s the side that caters to private businesses. Jim Nabywaniec is a Jefferson County legislator who helps oversee projects at the airport.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

 

A $110 million federal grant will be matched with half a billion dollars in public and private investments in order to create a Photonics Research and Manufacturing Hub in Rochester.

Vice President Joe Biden, Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo came together with Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester), Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren to make the announcement in Rochester.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities

Disabled Veterans are getting a crash course in how to become entrepreneurs this week in Syracuse.

Dan Piston spent six years in the Navy.  When he got out two years ago, he realized he had a passion for the health and fitness field. And wanted to put that In action by doing something like owning a gym.

"I do not have much training in business. Right now my undergrad degree is in health and exercise science. And I’ve always had an interest in owning a business, but I didn’t know how to do it, or where to get started,” said Piston.

Chamber of Marine Commerce

People along the St. Lawrence River love to watch and take photos of the huge freighters that move through the water every season.  If you’ve been wondering what the ships are carrying this year, the answer is tons of rocks. 

By rocks, we’re talking about literal boatloads of sand and stone that’ll be used as road fill to expand interstates in Wisconsin.

Ships are also on their way to Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago carrying cement and steel for big construction booms there.

Empire State Development

Its last call for anyone with ideas on how to use state dollars to transform the central New York economy as the Regional Development Council is looking to get all the input it can before applying to win some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s upstate revitalization money.

In a way, this round of economic competition, which pits upstate regions against each other to see who has the best ideas to grow local economies, has more at stake than past competitions.

Tioga Downs only bidder for Southern Tier casino

Jul 7, 2015
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

 

The contest for a full casino license in the Southern Tier is now in the review stage and Tioga Downs in Tioga County is the only bidder.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

 

Student teams pitched their start-up companies at the Syracuse Student Sandbox demo day. The sandbox is a six-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs that teaches them how to turn an idea into an actual company. The program has been expanding their reach internationally.

 

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.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s another state-driven economic development competition taking place in central New York in coming months. This contest is based on a similar successful program in Buffalo called 43North.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $3 million dollar GENIUS NY business competition open to data-centric technology companies from all over the world, and hosted by the The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse.  

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Central New York Regional Economic Development Council is getting ready to put together a proposal for the latest competition for state economic development dollars.  

Tim Gee / Flickr

New York politicians are raising concerns that the sale of medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn could put central New York jobs in jeopardy.

When Hill-Rom announced Wednesday morning that it is acquiring Welch Allyn, it did not say that any jobs would be eliminated at the Skaneateles Falls-based company. But that's what was immediately on the mind of the lawmakers who represent the central New York in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told reporters Wednesday he had a “call in” to company representatives to find out more.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News file photo

The city of Syracuse is moving ahead with a strategy to improve access to broadband for businesses and residents.  

The problem is there aren’t enough affordable, high speed internet broadband options for residents or businesses in Syracuse. And that means that Syracuse isn’t competing on a level playing field with other cities when it comes to economic development, says Ben Walsh, Syracuse’s deputy commissioner of neighborhoods and business development.

Connectologist / via Flickr

Central New York-based medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn is being acquired by Chicago-based Hill-Rom, also a medical device manufacturer, for $2.05 billion in cash and stock, the companies announced Wednesday morning.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

Syracuse Common Councilors have gone on record opposing the idea of resurrecting a junk yard along the shores of Onondaga Lake, near Destiny USA and the Inner Harbor development.  But they are at odds with the mayor’s office over how to do it.

AMSNY

Without sustainable federal investment in medical research, innovation in the field will be stunted say academic leaders. Colleagues from across the country join in their appeal to Congress.

New York medical school administrators join 17 others in a recent open letter in the Journal Science Translational Medicine.  The letter says unstable funding for biomedical research drives investigators out of the country.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The craft beverage industry is revitalizing the upstate economy with billions in revenue and tens of thousands of jobs. The nonprofit Syracuse First held its New Economy Summit this week to discuss improving the region's service and craft beverage industry.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gaming facilities have some new competition in upstate New York. The Yellow Brick Road Casino has opened in Chittenango, a small town about 20 miles east of Syracuse.  

Gamblers started waiting along a yellow brick path in front of the casino, the night before the opening; From Albany, from nearby Syracuse and all around central New York.

Destiny USA

Tourism is growing in central New York, up 17 percent in the last five years, according to industry officials. And at a tourism roundtable in Syracuse Wednesday they agreed there are still more ways to boost tourism dollars.  

Travel spending in the five counties of central New York amounts to nearly $1.2 billion, employing 25,000 people. So it’s a huge industry already, according to David Holder of the Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Internet service may soon flow faster In New York

May 26, 2015
Bret Jaspers / WSKG News file photo

Despite the importance of the Internet to our daily lives, service can be unreliable, slow, or expensive, especially in rural areas. Local governments and businesses are waiting on details of how they can apply for $500 million of state money -- money that will be used, with private sector dollars, for broadband infrastructure projects.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

This weekend kicks off the summer travel season. And according to one travel group, it’s going to be a busy one.

Every year, AAA does a survey of members to find out if they’re traveling over Memorial Day. Results this year show it will the busiest Memorial Day on the road in the last decade, according to AAA of Western and Central New York Spokeswoman Diana Dibble. Estimates are that 32 million Americans will hit the road, in large part because of an improving economy and lower gas prices. This could bode well for a busy summer overall.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

As manufacturers across central New York and the entire state have trouble finding qualified workers, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) hopes a bill she supports in Congress can make a difference.  

Recent statistics show that almost a third of New York manufacturers have trouble keeping skilled workers. One of them is SBB, a DeWitt company that specializes in clean room technologies. General manager Brandon Bogart says they have openings for engineers right now that are going unfilled. And that's crimping the company’s future.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Manufacturing is far from dead in central New York.  But it can sometimes be a challenge for manufacturing companies to find qualified workers. A new pre-apprenticeship program has been designed to train more workers for these jobs.

Darco Manufacturing in Mattydale employs 36 people in the production machining business. They’ve hired eight people in the last eight months according to general manager Laura Miller, and only one had manufacturing experience.  

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