Federal tax credits could save Hotel Syracuse
A new effort has been launched to save a Syracuse landmark. This time the plan rests on federal tax credits. YNN's Bill Carey says a U.S. Senator came calling, offering millions to help find new life for the Hotel Syracuse.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It has stood as a reminder of Syracuse's more prosperous past, and a reminder, as well, of the city's decline. Conditions at the hotel eventually had an impact on the city's battle for convention business.
“There is opportunity. We see it every day in the business that is lost through the visitors and convention bureau because we don't have a signature hotel property in downtown and in proximity to the Oncenter,” said Robert Simpson, CenterState CEO President.
The Hotel Syracuse has now been closed for about nine years. Various attempts at reviving the facility over that period have failed.
Now, some optimism. Senator Charles Schumer says the battle to hang on to the Federal New Market Tax Credits, as part of the deal to head off the fiscal cliff crisis, could play a key role in turning things around.
“The Department of the Treasury needs to deliver $75 million of New Market Tax Credits to CenterState CEO, CenterState CEO will use that funding to help finance development projects in the region, including $10 million for their top priority project -- Hotel Syracuse,” said Sen. Schumer.
Local leaders say that $10 million credit will help leverage a new attempt to bring the hotel back.
“There are a couple of significant developers, nationally, who have expressed an interest in that and we're looking forward to at least one of them coming forward soon and making a purchase offer to the city,” said William Fisher, Deputy Onondaga County Executive.
Still on the back burner is a long delayed project to build a new hotel on a parking lot site across from the convention center. Leaders say a revived Hotel Syracuse could eliminate the need for that project. But, they say, building a new hotel would still leave a landmark in need of saving.
“This is going to be here, whether we build a hotel there or not. And we don't want a vacant property of this type within our convention center district,” said Fisher.
“People want to come here. But, because there's no big downtown hotel, they often don't. If we had the Hotel Syracuse, you'd get more conventions at the Oncenter and you'd get lots of guests at the Hotel Syracuse,” said Sen. Schumer.
Officials are hoping a quick approval of the tax credits could bring an old landmark back to life.
Senator Schumer says if the renovation project is launched, it could help create close to 400 jobs for construction workers and new staffing for the hotel.