LocalSYR

Inner Harbor development project still on the horizon

Despite a lack of visual progress, the city and COR Development say there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes to revitalize Syracuse’s Inner Harbor area.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Despite a lack of visual progress, the city and COR Development say there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes to revitalize Syracuse’s Inner Harbor area.

The developer is moving the project through its next phase and took an important step on Tuesday with the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency, which is overseeing the project.

Officials and Central New York residents have always wanted development at the Inner Harbor, but they have been consistently disappointed with unfulfilled plans and inactivity.

The newest project seems to have reversed the trend since the city selected it a year and a half ago.

City leaders are excited about COR Development’s plans for the Inner Harbor – a combination of retail, office, living, a hotel, and potentially an OCC campus.

The company even got to work last fall, removing tons of contaminated soil from one of the parcels in the project – but that’s the last of the visible work at the Inner Harbor.

City officials say they’re not worried or surprised, because the project is working through the regulatory process.

"I think we're all anxious to see progress and see work being done, but given the magnitude of the project I don't think anyone wants to see it done so quickly that it is not done as best as it can possibly be done,” said Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Ben Walsh.

The project is currently in the environmental review stage, which examines everything from contamination in the area to the impact it would have on the surrounding neighborhoods.

“The way COR is handling it is they're taking each component of the project separately, each component is going to be financed separately and some may be easier to finance than others so that's still an open ended question we're still working with them on,” Walsh said.

Walsh said the city’s agreement with COR requires the developer to accomplish certain milestones in a timely manner.

He says COR still intends to build out the entire project in five to seven years and says the city expects to see shovels in the ground by the end of 2013.

Walsh says COR has submitted an application for assistance from SIDA, likely involving things like certain sales-tax exemptions on construction material and possibly a PILOT for the project.

He says there are no values yet for any of the assistance and SIDA won’t consider it until the environmental review has been completed.

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