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The Upstate Economy

Marriott Syracuse Downtown developer, county want keep revitalization momentum going

Ellen Abbott
The former Hilton tower that developer Ed Riley wants to turn into an extended-stay hotel.

After the $76 million renovation of the former Hotel Syracuse, which is now the Mariott Syracuse Downtown, developer Ed Riley is planning on renovating another vacant Syracuse hotel.

The former Hilton tower, which used to be attached to the Hotel Syracuse, will be renovated to create an extended-stay hotel. Riley expects work to begin in a few months, but nothing on the scale of the recently finished Marriott.

“The exterior of the building is in much better shape. There is some demolition that has to be done to create an exterior entrance experience, and there are a lot of interior renovations to do. But the exterior restoration of that building is much, much less than we had over here,” Riley said.

The former Hilton tower is a 15-story building located across the street from the Marriott, and was built in the early 1980s with a bridge connecting the two buildings. The Hayner Hoyt Corporation acquired the building after years of legal disputes with a former owner, but Riley is working with the corporation for renovations.

"It’s a separate property; it’ll have a separate flag on it. We’ll share some services, such as this hotel will share a swimming pool across the street with that facility. But other than that they’re two stand-alone hotels,” Riley said.

Onondaga County also wants to build on the momentum from the renovated hotel. The Marriott is the official hotel of the Nicholas Pirro Convention Center, which is owned by the county. County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says officials are looking at the potential of creating a convention corridor between the hotel and the center, which is a block away.

"Now we can start really looking to further revitalize our convention center corridor between the hotel and the convention center. What we can do as a community to symbolize that it is a convention center district. Those are some of the challenges we’ll have over the next few years,” McMahon said.

The county has been looking to other cities like Louisville for ideas, which has a glass roof covering a walkway that identifies it as a convention corridor.

"We’re going to look at creative investments to really help the convention center corridor communicate that it’s a convention center district,” McMahon said.

There is also the possibility of development in the county’s parking lot on the other side of the convention center building, according to McMahon.