City Sues Inner Harbor Developer Over Broken Agreement

Dec 15, 2015

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announces the City's suit against COR Development Company, the company set to develop the Inner Harbor, at a press conference Tuesday.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

 The City of Syracuse has filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the company set to develop the inner-harbor. 
 

COR Development Company struck a deal Tuesday with the approval of the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA).

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the new deal, which she said broke the company’s commitments to the city, includes about $44.6-million in tax breaks for COR.

“I worked with the developer and my administration worked with the developer for four years,” Miner said. “During that four years, the developer consistently said to me, to members of the common council – both publicly and privately – and to members of the media that they would not ask for a payment in lieu of taxes.”

However, Miner said she is most upset about the effect this deal will have on the city community.

OCIDA took away $16.1 million in taxes from our financially challenged and underfunded school district,” Miner said. “So, again, another important element here is ‘who are the biggest losers here?’ The biggest losers are the children of Syracuse because the biggest share of our property taxes goes to schools.”

Urban Jobs Taskforce President Aggie Lane said the proposed plans for the Inner Harbor, which include luxury hotels, apartments, and retail, will only really benefit tourists, not the Syracuse community.

 “We the community, and especially in the poor neighborhoods, that’s not going to help them at all in their lives,” Lane said. “I think there needs to be giving something back to the residents, especially the residents who need it the most.  And that’s around jobs.”

According to Miner and Lane, COR Development Company’s plans with the county do not include any guarantees that the workforce needed to build up the Inner Harbor will include Syracuse city residents.

“There has been no commitment made for Syracuse jobs,”  Miner said. “In a community that was recently rated number one in concentrated poverty among minorities and Latinos, that is simply unacceptable”

CORs choice to go around the city to the county also could set a dangerous precedent, according to Lane.

“It’s a sad day for Syracuse if that starts happening because then SIDA [Syracuse Industrial Development Agency] will not have the kind of power they need to talk to developers,” Lane said. “With this new development, every time a developer doesn’t like what he hears from the city or the terms, they can go to OCIDA and try to get a better deal.”