University Avenue Project
11:17 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

SU Bookstore & Fitness Center Project Hits Snag: University Fires Developer

Artist's rendering of University Ave. bookstore, fitness center and retail project that has been cancelled by SU due to problems with the developer.

  A project by a private developer that was going to house a new Syracuse University bookstore and Fitness Center has to be put on hold after several financial problems couldn't get resolved.  Cameron Group was gong to build the center on University Ave., adjacent to an existing parking garage.  The University was then going to lease back most of the space to house its primary bookstore, while the developer would rent space to other retailers.  But University officials said in a release that Cameron Group LLC suffered numerous delays and failed to secure construction financing.  S.U. considered it unlikely the project could have been completed by the June 18th, 2015 deadline.

The release from Senor Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin Quinn went on to say the bookstore move was going to allow the University to utilize space for other priorities.  There was no mention of what moves S.U. might take to possibly find another developer.  The University did thank the City of Syracuse for assistance with the project.

CONTROVERSIAL TAX BREAK

The project was a topic of controversy with city development officials and the Common Council.  It eventually won a 30-year tax break, paying just 17-percent of what the finished property would have been fully taxed.  The deal also called for the University to take over the facility after leasing space for 30 years.  The original completion date was supposed to be fall of 2013.  Just this spring heavy equipment on the site was starting to break ground.  

S.U. terminated the construction agreement Friday and planned to retake control of the construction site.