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City seizes Hotel Syracuse through eminent domain

Ryan Delaney

The City of Syracuse has used legal channels to take control of the Hotel Syracuse after several efforts to redevelop the historic downtown lodging site have failed.

Syracuse and its economic development arm, the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, transferred title of the property to the site's developer, Ed Riley.

"Today is a major day for the Hotel Syracuse and the redevelopment of downtown,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner in a statement. “There is much work left to be done to make this long-held dream of many into a reality, but this is a big step in a major transformation. I commend Ed Riley and his team for their effort."

Riley's company, Syracuse Community Hotel Restoration Company, wants to redevelop the hotel into a 261-room full service hotel. The project is expected to cost $57 million, according to the city.

First built in the 1920s, the Hotel Syracuse has sat vacant for several years. Financing and foreclosure issues with previous developers both delayed the hotel's reopening and hampered city efforts to take control and resell the hotel.

But with the building deteriorating, SIDA executive Director Ben Walsh says efforts had to be sped up.

"So we felt the timing was critical," Walsh said. "It just so happened, at the same time we began working with Mr. Riley and his team."

Walsh said it could be a while before the hotel reopens, but at least some work can begin soon to prevent more deterioration.