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City of Syracuse sues COR Development following Inner Harbor tax deal with Onondaga County

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The City of Syracuse is suing Fayetteville–based COR Development Company, LLC after it secured a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal with the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) after previously saying it wouldn’t seek one.

COR sought the tax deal for its ongoing Inner Harbor development project, and OCIDA approved it on Tuesday morning.

COR Development had previously said in March 2014 that it would not seek “special” financial assistance from the city of Syracuse or Onondaga County for the development of a Starwood Hotels & Resorts Aloft in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor.


In a news release then, COR said it didn’t intend to pursue a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to develop the project “other than those standard programs already authorized by municipalities available to all development.”

The City of Syracuse on Tuesday filed its lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said during a news conference at City Hall on Tuesday.

The city contends COR “deliberately” sought a tax-relief deal from OCIDA to allow the company to avoid a community-benefits agreement with the city that would have required COR to provide project-related jobs to Syracuse residents.

Miner in the lawsuit is also asking the court to “rescind the contract” between the city of Syracuse and COR Development “in regard to the properties of the Inner Harbor, she said. COR Development has 20 days to respond.

Maggie Truax, a spokesperson for COR Development, issued a statement in reaction to the lawsuit.

“COR Development is currently reviewing the City’s complaint. COR is confident that every action they have taken with the City of Syracuse in moving the Inner Harbor project forward has been both proper and appropriate,” said Truax.

The Inner Harbor project involves “millions of dollars” of taxpayer money, Miner said in her remarks.

“When we have a project that has had this much public money taken and we don’t use this as an opportunity to get jobs and jobs training for the people of our community, a real opportunity is lost,” Miner said.

Several activists who had protested the COR tax deal, including Syracuse Common Councilors Helen Hudson and Khalid Bey, surrounded Miner as she spoke at the news conference.

Miner worked with the state of New York to secure the Inner Harbor land so the city could develop the property, she said. Miner’s administration has worked with COR for four years.

“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, and yet, that is exactly what they have done today,” Miner said.

If the court agrees to rescind the contract, then COR would have to return the land in the Inner Harbor to the City of Syracuse’s control, Miner said.


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