Hotel Syracuse Owner 21st to receive Historic Medal Award

May 5, 2016

Walking into the Hotel Syracuse is like witnessing a rebirth of historic tracings of the past.  The man responsible for rescuing the hotel was honored today.  The Onondaga Historical Society presented the Owner, Ed Riley with the OHA Medal Award recognizing outstanding and meritorious service to local history.

Construction vehicles surround the street level perimeter of the Hotel Syracuse.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“It’s humbling and very gratifying to get this award and also to understand that a big part of this was to recognize all the people that have done this. I mean there’s hundreds and hundreds of people that work here every day and hundreds that have put this together to make it happen for our community. And it just shows, ya know, rolling up our sleeves, we can accomplish a lot of things here."

Riley adds that 90 percent of the work for the hotel restoration is being performed by local companies, suppliers, and artisans.  OHA Director Greg Tripoli says Riley is the 21st recipient of the medal since the organization was established in 1863.

Owner Ed Riley stands in the Persian Terrace.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

“This hotel will be more beautiful, more historically accurate than anyone living now has ever seen it.  They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and for hundreds of thousands of people over many, many years to come; this grand hotel will be their first impression of our city. And I think that’s important.”

The hotel hired 300 additional employees on Wednesday and Riley says that’s also very significant.

“… We doubled by hiring local people from the neighborhoods right around here. We’re putting people back to work. We’re bringing them down here and we’re bringing old life back into the girl, so to speak, and getting her going forward."

    Events are planned next month to bid the Hotel Syracuse farewell before it officially becomes a Marriott when it opens to the public on July 4th.  Renovations are expected to total 74 million dollars.  

Crews are working to restore the aesthetic luster of the hotel.
Credit John Smith / WAER News