CNY Restaurant Owners Express Anger, Seek Help for Business Lost to Destiny Eateries

Jun 27, 2014

Are local establishments losing out to people flocking to the mall? Asti Cafe owners joined a meeting looking for answers.

  A number of restaurant owners from around the Syracuse Area were pretty mad at seeing a dip in their business blamed largely on a government decision.  Al Barbagallo and his family have run Barbagallo’s Restaurant for 38 years and he shared his feelings.

“Anger…because small businesses employ 95% of the people in this country.  Why should somebody get a tax break that I can’t get, why should the empire zone get a tax break or why should Destiny get a tax break.”


Barbagallo's Restaurant and Sports bar worried about a drop in business, some of which owners worry was siphoned off by the mall and their tax breaks.

     Barbagallo and other owners have seen the lunches and dinners they serve drop by 20 to 30 percent.  They had the ear Thursday of Mayor Stephanie Miner and State Senator John Defrancisco complaining that mall tax breaks really helped them bring in big chain restaurants that are stealing away customers.  Now both were outspoken opponents of just about every tax break and incentive deal Destiny’s developers got.  And much of the meeting was rehashing and lamenting the decisions that helped the mall expand.

“The single largest piece of commercial property in the city of Syracuse is the Destiny Mall and it will not pay taxes for 45 years.  And then they have gotten state tax breaks from the Empire Zone program, the Brownfield program, so it’s millions and millions of dollars.”

Miner added the local economic and sales tax boost expected from Destiny has come, but has not met expectations, or in her view mad up for the taxes forgiven.  As for solution, not many for the restaurants.  DeFrancisco told of a small tax break on small company profits that just passed Albany.  Another suggestion…to get together on marketing and tell the public to buy-local to keep dollars local.  Both politicians said the businesses should stay vocal…to maybe influence the next tax giveaway decision.