Updated 06/13/2012 04:14 PM
Inner Harbor project nears vote
The City of Syracuse may be a step closer to finally seeing work begin on a project to transform the Inner Harbor area. The site has gone virtually untouched for years. YNN's Bill Carey says the first legislative hurdle is now at hand.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The State Canal Corporation had tried for years to spur development, but failed. Finally, it handed over control of the property to the City of Syracuse to see if it could do any better.
Within months, the city had decided to move forward on a $350 million plan from COR Development, calling for construction of commercial and retail space, as well as housing.
“The climate has improved. It's a good time to commence a project like that. Usually we start with an 80 percent view or vision of where we want to go with it. There are changes along the way that you have to deal with. But we're relatively comfortable that this is a project that could be completed in this climate,” said Steve Aiello, COR Development President.
The key in development is always connections. The city's had success in development at Armory Square. That success spread to Franklin Square. Then, just down the road, is Destiny USA. But the missing link, the missing connection, has always been the Inner Harbor.
The first step is a legal document setting conditions for the sale of the land and clearing the way for the start of COR's work. It needs approval from the common council. But some lawmakers are resisting calls for a vote next week.
“We want to see something that's good for the community developed there. I'm simply concerned that we do it, taking the time that is necessary for the city to do its due diligence and for the council to know, ultimately, what all the consequences are,” said Syracuse common Council Majority Leader Lance Denno.
Still it appears other councilors will press ahead for a vote on Monday.
“I just think this is a situation, particularly in the current fiscal climate, where it would be nice to get some work going on that Inner Harbor,” said Syracuse Common Councilor Patrick Hogan.
With the deal in hand, COR says it is ready to get going.
Aiello said, “We are hopeful that we could start some of the environmental remediation within nine months where we could start to clean, possibly, Parcel C, If we can a suitable location to take the contaminated soil. And then, in turn, commence some of the infrastructure work for that site.”
The project is expected to take about five years to complete.