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bdc

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Syracuse and Destiny usa
« on: May 19, 2005, 02:59:21 PM »
What is the concensus of Syracuse and future Syracuse law students regarding Destiny usa?  will it have any effect on the class of 2008.  I think, if successful, this project will do wonders for the city and in turn for the school itself.  It gives me some sort of relief of the possibility of working in upstate ny after grad.  I wonder how long it will take to open its doors and how long it will take until we see the positives of being a law student from Syracuse.  I might be a little ahead of myself and the benifits of this project (the growth and revitalization of the city) may not be felt until many years after we are out of law school.  Any comments on this?

brotha

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2005, 03:25:20 PM »
The project was announced in 2000 with an initial budget of 1.3 billion dollars.  It was to be completed by 2004.  They broke ground in 2002 with Pataki and others present.  There is a lot of resistance to the project.  They have expanded the scope from 1.3 billion to over 9 billion with a new research park that is highly disliked by the locals.  The project has just secured a $700 million loan but there are many things they need to do with it.  The idea for Destiny USA was first presented to the public in the spring of 2000.  Some of the earliest signs of problems arose from the mixed opinions of local residents, businesses, and politicians, several of whom either opposed the project outright or were skeptical of its viability and local impact.  When the Pyramid Cos. held the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a 47 floor, 1,300 room hotel and a four-story parking garage with capacity for 2,400 cars, many politicians attended the event, including Governor George Pataki, Senator Charles Schumer, and Representative James Walsh, and it was supposed to represent the beginning of the DestiNY USA project.

However, the conflict between DestiNY executives and local politicians began at this time as well.  State Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, had been critical of Pyramid’s requests for government assistance and skeptical about the promised scope of the project.  He felt that the groundbreaking was a political ploy by the developers to secure financial benefits from the state, which he thought amounted to a lot of hype for nothing.  He did not attend the event and remarked that “I don’t know what they’re breaking ground for. If it’s a groundbreaking for a parking garage, I will not be there.”   DestiNY officials should have detected potential problems at this point by recognizing the significance of a lack of support by such a key local official. 

The dispute between developers and local officials only worsened over time. In December 2002, construction stopped after developers completed the first phase of pylons for the parking deck. In January 2003, Pyramid announced that it put construction on hold until it resolved the issue of whether construction of the hotel would satisfy requirements established by city and county officials for a 30 year property tax exemption on the existing Carousel Center expansion .  City and county lawmakers clearly stated a year earlier that the mall’s owner had to build an addition of at least 800,000 square feet of leasable space to qualify for the exemption, and the agreement did not mention that a hotel would satisfy the stipulation.

However, no one identified or discussed this problem until January 2003, at which point many city common councilors became angry and were not willing to support such a fundamental change in the contract to accommodate the DestiNY developers at the last minute.  If there had been ongoing communication and teamwork between city officials and developers, the concern could have been identified and addressed well before construction even began, thereby possibly avoiding work stoppages and delays. After a several months of bickering and inaction, DestiNY developers finally agreed to revise their plans and begin the DestiNY USA project by adding 800,000 square feet of retail space to the existing Carousel Center. 

Surprisingly, construction did not begin after the resolution of this matter, and Pyramid did not take any steps to obtain funding or present the city with the plans required to secure the credit. DestiNY officials then claimed that the passing of a bill by the state legislature was critical to their success. This bill supposedly guaranteed that Pyramid would continue to receive Empire Zone reimbursements up to $52 million a year for fourteen years, even if changes were made to the Empire Zone program. Pyramid said that the guaranteed reimbursements were necessary to repay investors. 



brotha

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2005, 03:26:28 PM »
In the time since the work stoppage and the subsequent arguments concerning funding, the DestiNY team has made no physical progress on the project. In October 2004, it appeared that the team took some positive steps towards beginning construction.  Congress passed a tax bill allowing DestiNY to issue tax-exempt “green bonds” to finance the project.  In addition, the Lakefront Development Corp. selected DestiNY to develop the Inner Harbor.   Although the development of retail and hotel accommodations for the Inner Harbor is meant to be a stand alone project, many viewed this contract as the action that had the potential to finally jump-start the larger DestiNY USA project.

However, the political tensions quickly resurfaced when the city removed Empire Zone designation on 12 acres of land in the Inner Harbor area and reallocated it to other areas in the city. Developers claimed that the city’s actions, which were made without informing any DestiNY officials, were indicative of the pattern of behavior that held back their efforts to start the project . City officials claimed that the redesignation of the land is just another convenient excuse for the developers and it has no effect on the progress of the DestiNY project because they could not develop that particular area anyway. DestiNY retorted that they will not move forward with purchasing or developing any land without all of the initially promised Empire Zone acreage.  Meanwhile, the city has told the lakefront board that their position remains unchanged, and it appears that the target date of May for beginning construction of the Inner Harbor is in danger of slipping.  In a constantly recurring theme, the rift between developers and local officials threatens to halt the project before it even begins.

A final problem recognized by Mayor Matt Driscoll and others is that DestiNY developers are not making any progress on actually building anything because their plans keep changing. The project first started at a cost of $1.3 billion with a target completion date of 2004 for a Carousel Center expansion, a resort with 1,300 hotel rooms, and an indoor dome with an amphitheater for events, such as concerts and sporting events.  The project has since ballooned to a plan of over 13,000 hotel rooms with an 800 acre waterfront resort and a 325 acre research park with a budget of over $9 billion. The scope of this project has increased by a factor of about 8 times, yet no actual construction has begun since its status was put on hold in 2002. With no progress made over the past two years, the team continues to add ideas and activities onto the project, increasing both the budget and timeframe to completion.

brotha

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2005, 03:27:58 PM »
I would not "bank" on DestiNY USA being completed. 

I forgot to tell ya:  www.syracuse.com is a good reference on the subject. 

My thoughts!

-brotha

bdc

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2005, 03:41:21 PM »
wow. crushing response. the location of the school gives me the greatest pause.  I was hoping for "a bright future" for the city of Syracuse.  I appreciate the reply.  How do you know so much about the project? I would like to gain as much infor oon this project as possible.  Thank you.

brotha

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2005, 03:56:39 PM »
Don't be crushed.  It is just my analysis and conclusion, there are many risks to this project. 

Check your PM, I gave you more information.

ne2bchief

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Re: Syracuse and Destiny usa
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2005, 01:38:45 PM »
The University is the only thing that keeps the city afloat except for the large number of alcoholics in the region because that's basically what people do come winter and summer and spring and autumn for that matter. Destiny USA will not happen within the next 10 years. I've been going to school at SU for quite some time and there is little to no hope in the foreseeable future