Hotel Syracuse Takes Big Step Toward Renovation, Reopening

Jul 3, 2014

The historic part of the Hotel Syracuse has been vacant for 10 years, but could have new life after the eminent domain seizure and transfer to a developer.

  The Hotel Syracuse is now in the hands of a developer who plans to reopen it.  No one has rented a room there in more than a decade…but city leaders are optimistic that will change, after the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency took possession, then transferred it over.

What occurred Thursday is a condemnation of the historic hotel under eminent domain…and the property was transferred to a company that has plans to redevelop it.  Syracuse Community Hotel Restoration Company is headed up by developer Ed Riley.  His $57 million plan is to keep the historic shell and character, but create 261 modern hotel rooms.  

City Development Director Ben Walsh says you can’t underestimate the importance of getting the historic property back open

Hotel Syracuse as it appeared when it opened in 1924.

  “Anyone that’s spent a significant amount of time in Syracuse over the years has had special memories that have taken place at the hotel. So there’s a real emotional connection to the property.  On top of that it’s a property that really anchors the southern end of downtown and we believe will be a catalyst for future development.” 

Walsh adds there are hurdles to cross…the first, to secure a package of financing that will include historic preservation grants and tax breaks, as well as regular bank financing.  A key element will also be for Riley to gain Onondaga County’s designation as the official convention center hotel, which carries with it $15 million in state funds pledged to a past project.

Right now Riley plans to do some restoration work to prevent any further deterioration to the property.  Once construction begins The Hotel Syracuse could be taking reservations 12-18 months later.

Mayor Stephanie Miner called it a "major day for the Hotel Syracuse and the redevelopment of downtown."  Back on Jun 11th, SIDA filed a court petition to seize the property under eminent domain.  As part of that process the past owner agreed to release the property to the city.