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Business Owners say Investments in Downtown Syracuse are Working for Them

Chris Bolt/WAER News

An investment of $315 million dollars in Downtown Syracuse construction projects, the addition of 440 new hotel rooms within three years and a thriving arts, entertainment and sports scene are all positive signs of Downtown’s resurgence. 

A Progress Breakfast on the city’s economic accomplishments was held Thursday morning at the OnCenter where business owners representing retail, sports marketing and unique cuisine shared how their businesses are thriving from surrounding investments.  The Founder of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, John Stage says he noticed Downtown really changing about ten years ago.

“It felt like things were happening but what’s happening right now is maybe unprecedented in Syracuse of people living in the Downtown core.  Because, man oh man, it was a Ghost Town for many years and when I first did this people were like no one will ever go Downtown to eat.  But, hey, things change.  It’s just very exciting right now to see what’s happening.”

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Syracuse Crunch Vice President Vance Lederman speaks to attendees of the Progress Breakfast hosted by the Downtown Committee and Eric Mower and Associates.

Stage opened a second restaurant, A-Pizza nearly a year ago. 

In Downtown’s city-center, the closed Hotel Syracuse proved challenging for the Owner of The Changing RoomBoutique on South Warren Street four years ago.  Kathy Morris credits the reopening of the Marriott and other positive signs to her success. 

“Companies are moving into the Gallery which is rapidly filling up.  The continued expansion of residential buildings like Merchant Commons and the Icon Towers has helped to make Warren Street more vital and exciting.”

Morris and her husband have also relocated to Downtown, living in an apartment just blocks from the store. 

The 24th season of Syracuse Crunch Hockey is also bringing visitors downtown.  Vice President Vance Lederman says fans travel from outside of the Syracuse area to attend games.

“People know about us.  It’s not just here in Syracuse.  I think we’ve created a big market team with a small market feel.  I think the market is very proud to have this team here.  We’re proud to be here.”

Lederman says people doubted launching a hockey team in Syracuse would ever become successful.  The Progress Breakfast was hosted by the Downtown Committee and Eric Mower and Associates.

The event included the launch of a video, created by Armory Square founder Bob Doucette, taking a look at Syracuse's rising future.">Syracuse Rising from">Mike Roy on Vimeo.

The Downtown Committee, which hosted the breakfast, launched a survey to get people's opinions about downtown and its future.  

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
A mural near AXA Towers Downtown.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.