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Central New York brings back $80.2 million in aid in economic development competition

Ryan Delaney
Renovations to the Hotel Syracuse is one of the projects the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council put forward for state aid.

The Hotel Syracuse is receiving a multi-million dollar state grant through New York’s competitive economic development funding program. The project is part of $80.2 million in funding central New York won.

Central New York’s regional economic development has been named a "top performer" for the third time in four years in the state’s flashy economic development funding program. It competes against other regions of the state for aid. The state gave out $709 million in all.

Other big projects in the region earning money include $4 million for the private drone testing alliance in central New York, NUAIR, based in Rome. The Near Westside Initiative in Syracuse also won nearly $2 million.

Rob Simpson co-chairs the council. He says most of the projects the state granted money to the first three years have been completed.

"The reality is, is that some projects that have been selected have moved forward very quickly, others have taken a little bit more time. Others have seen some setbacks," he said in an interview after the award ceremony.

Nearly nine in 10 projects they’ve put forward in years past have reached their goals, according to Simpson.

"If we’ve been able to do one thing well in central New York, it’s that we’ve collaborated, we’ve laid out a pretty clear vision for how we want to build our economy and support our community. And we’ve got a really good track record of delivering on the projects the state has put funding into," he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo started the program when he took office as a way to streamline economic development. Most the money given out is in the form of tax incentives and grants. 

Here's the breakdown of how the 10 regional councils faired:

  • Central New York: $80.2 million (top performer) 
  • Mid-Hudson Valley: $82.8 million (top performer)
  • Long Island: $81.9 million (top performer)
  • Southern Tier: $80.8 million (top performer)
  • Finger Lakes: $80.7 million (top performer)
  • North Country: $63.4 million
  • Mohawk Valley: $59.6 million  
  • New York City: $61.2 million
  • Capital Region: $60 million 
  • Western New York: $58.6 million

?And here are some of the highlights of central New York's awards, according to the governor's office:

  • $3.6 million to the Hotel Syracuse. The project will transform and reopen the previously closed Hotel Syracuse as the Onondaga County Convention Center Headquarters Hotel. When renovation is completed, the property will provide 261 guest rooms, three main ballrooms, a restaurant, lounge, lobby, back of house areas, generating 261 jobs and related economic activity. It will also support the Convention Center.
  • $1.8 million to the Syracuse Smart Regrowth Sustainable Corners Project. The project will accelerate revitalization in the Near Westside neighborhood in Syracuse. As envisioned in the LEED for Neighborhood Development Plan, the project will implement changes in land use that will convert an underutilized parking lot, a vacant building, and multiple vacant parcels on three corners of an intersection into a mixed-use development.
  • $750,000 to the Colgate University Center for Art and Culture. The proposed project is the relocation of two Colgate University museums to a newly constructed 25,880 square foot Center for Art and Culture in downtown Hamilton, strengthening the synergy between the University and the local community. Currently, the Picker Art Gallery and the Longyear Museum of Anthropology are located on campus and function as separate and distinct entities. Both occupy outdated facilities with little public exposure, and neither is easily accessible. This project will bring the museums into the heart of the Hamilton community.
  • $4 million for NUAIR Alliance and Griffiss International Airport. The grant will support the installation of state-of-the-art instrumentation for tracking of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations at Griffiss International Airport and at approved locations in Central and Northern New York, and the Mohawk Valley.