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Renovation work on historic Hotel Syracuse begins with a job fair

Ellen Abbott
Job seekers fill out applications at a job fair for renovation work at the Hotel Syracuse.

The renovation of Hotel Syracuse has started creating jobs.  The first of several job fairs was held in the lobby of the historic hotel.

There hadn't been so many people in the lobby of the Hotel Syracuse since it closed over a decade ago. Hundreds of men and women filled out applications for Environmental Remediation Services Inc, the company that’s handling the demolition and asbestos removal portion of the renovation of the hotel in downtown Syracuse.

Chad Parks figures he’ll be sifting through between 600 and 800 applications for 30 to 40 jobs.

"General labor for demolition, as well as asbestos laborers as well that requires a special certification," he said. "So it’s half and half." 

Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Hotel owner Ed Riley says the demolition work should begin by next week, and he says the asbestos must be removed throughout the hotel. 

"Mostly on pipes, mostly installation on pipes, but we’ve also got it in other areas, so it’s a big part of the project, over $6 million of work to start," he said.

Riley says there will be more job fairs as the $57 million project moves forwards."This job fair, this is nothing. When we have our job fairs for positions in the hotel, that’s 300 positions. And I tell you, that’s going to make this look like nothing," he said.

The hotel is still projected to open Saint Patrick’s Day of next year.

Looking across the crowded room, Riley admits it’s disturbing to see so many people looking for work, but is glad that bringing the hotel back to life, can at least  help some. "We’re keeping it local everywhere we can," he said. "That’s the gratifying part of it."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.