Miner Announces Deal to Develop Long-Vacant Symphony Tower Including Minority and Local Hiring Goals

Deal Will Forgive $552,000 in Tax Penalties in Exchange for Repayment of Principal Owed, 20% Minority and 20% Resident Hiring Goals

Miner: Remarkable Agreement Will Revitalize Downtown and Provide Jobs for Syracuse Residents

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mayor Stephanie A. Miner announced a landmark development agreement today to redevelop the Symphony Tower building into a new extended-stay hotel for Downtown Syracuse. The agreement will include the developers paying more than $1.1 million in back taxes in exchange for the forgiveness of $552,000 in tax penalties. The developer has also agreed to hiring and contracting goals of 20% MWBE subcontractors, 20% minority and women workers, and 20% City residents.

“This is a remarkable agreement because it continues the historic investments our community has made into Downtown, the progress we have achieved by bringing the Hotel Syracuse back to life, and creates opportunity for the hardworking men and women of Syracuse who seek greater economic security,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “I appreciate the support from all our partners who made this possible and demonstrate their commitment to Syracuse and to creating new pathways to personal economic growth for their neighbors.”

“This effort to improve Symphony Tower further enhances what is already a wonderful improvement to our downtown,” said Common Councilor Khalid Bey, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “The decision of the Mayor’s administration to support this project was a very progressive one and will be of great benefit to our city.”

Khalid Bey

Khalid Bey

Symphony Tower is 15 stories and located on the corner of East Onondaga Street and South Salina Street and formerly served as an annex to the Hotel Syracuse built in the 1980s. Renovations on the building began in 2007, but were halted partway through due to litigation over a lender for the previous owner. Title issues were finally cleared in the fall of 2015.

The new hotel project will convert the second through fifteenth floors into 120 guest rooms. The second floor will also include meeting spaces and staff facilities. The ground floor will include registration, restaurant facilities, and other hotel amenities. Façade enhancements will also take place.

In the agreement negotiated by the Miner administration, the developer will repay $500,000 in back taxes up front and another $650,907 over 15 years at a 12% interest rate. Associated fees and penalties, totaling $552,910, will be forgiven by the City.  The developer has agreed to follow the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency’s (SIDA) Local Access Policy, which requires developers to use contractors, vendors, and workers from the Central New York area. Additionally, the project developers will continue the hiring practices of the recently renovated Hotel Syracuse, now known as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, which includes hiring permanent staff from neighboring zip codes.  They also agreed to construction hiring goals of 20% MWBE subcontractors (12% minorities, 8% women); 20% Equal Employment Opportunity hiring (10% men and 10% women, measured in overall hours worked); and 20% Syracuse resident hiring (measured in overall hours worked).

Legislation will be presented before the Syracuse Common Council at the December 5, 2016 voting meeting authorizing a delinquent tax agreement.

Mayor Miner added: “My administration has worked hard to facilitate investment in both our Downtown and our people and this agreement is another chance to show that public dollars can be used for broadly inclusive economic development that creates access to economic opportunity and security.”

Mayor Miner

Mayor Miner

The Miner administration has taken important steps to increasing economic opportunity for City residents. Earlier this year, Mayor Miner signed the Syracuse Resident Employment Ordinance mandating contracts in excess of $100,000 issued by the City of Syracuse will include a guarantee that at least 20% of the hours worked on the job will be done by City residents.

Additionally, SIDA instituted a new policy to require all contractors and suppliers involved in projects supported by the agency be locally owned and operated. Additionally, SIDA has added language in their application stating their preference for companies receiving SIDA benefits to provide opportunities for the purchase of goods and services from certified minority and/or woman-owned business enterprises, businesses specifically located in the City of Syracuse, and business enterprises which employ City of Syracuse residents.