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Even under construction, Marriott Hotel Downtown Syracuse is booking up

Ellen Abbott
The former Hotel Syracuse, currently under construction, is already booking guests for next year.

The former Hotel Syracuse won’t reopen as the Marriott Hotel Downtown until sometime next spring. But, that’s not stopping brides, nonprofits and companies from around the world from booking a wedding or event at the almost 100-year-old hotel.

Hotel owner Ed Riley said in the midst of the multi-million dollar renovation, there have been between 20 and 30 tours for potential customers every week. And, stepping through the the dusty hallways with exposed wires and crumbing plaster isn’t putting a crimp on potential business.

“A lot of the bookings as far as like the weddings are concerned, we usually don’t get the bride out of the Persian Terrace," Riley said. "Which is amazing to me, when you go in there, and have hard hats and stuff on the floor and dust and construction workers, and they sit there and say, 'we don’t need to look anywhere else. How do we sign?' And you know, it’s like what do you see that I don’t see?”

At this point, Riley said without any marketing or advertising, the hotel is already almost sold out in August, September and October. And, he said some there are also some organizations looking for space in this spring, but because it’s still unclear exactly when the hotel will open, those kinds of events are still up in the air.

The hotel, which opened in 1924, was an institution in the the Syracuse area until it fell on hard economic times in the 1980s and '90s. That, Riley said, is at the heart of why it’s already a destination before doors even open.

"The building and the character of it sell itself," Riley said. "So, we’ve been fortunate to show people through it. We try to keep it as open as possible to folks so they can come and see it. Again, I go back to the roots, and this was a community hotel, the community built it, they put it together.”

The renovation is taking advantage of state and federal historic tax credits. It has allowed the developers to keep the historic nature of the hotel while creating state of the art hotel rooms.

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.