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CEO FOCUS: Proposed Investments Will Create a More Vibrant Community

By Robert Simpson


Right now, there are projects and investments being proposed at a level we have not seen in generations. Over the past year, our business-development team has been actively tracking more than $89 million in proposed projects that are interested in expanding and locating in Central New York. Not only do these investments drive growth, progress, and economic opportunity, but they also help create a more vibrant and culturally rich region that we know is so critical to businesses’ efforts to attract and retain talent.

In addition to this surge in business-development interest, regional stakeholders are making commitments to drive new tourism-rich opportunities. [In September], Onondaga County proposed a $25 million soccer and lacrosse regional sports complex in Salina that would generate about 400 jobs. This investment could attract 500,000 people a year which would generate $20 million in direct spending, and more than $1 million in sales and hotel room-tax revenues annually. 

The county also announced [recently] an $85 million aquarium at the Inner Harbor. The project could attract 500,000 people each year, drive $50 million in economic impact and be a significant catalyst for further development at the harbor, which has long been a priority for development.

These regional tourism initiatives will support the continued revitalization of our urban core as well. Later this month, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse’s “Good Morning Downtown Syracuse Progress Breakfast” will focus on investing in our community. The virtual event will highlight projects and their impact, such as the $37 million City Center redevelopment, which will transform a large section of the former Sibley’s Department Store into mixed-use space. This project includes façade improvements, a new entrance for Redhouse, and new headquarters for the Alion Science and Technology Corp. Additionally, the event will celebrate the impact of tourism drivers like the return of live theater to downtown this fall. [Representing] one of downtown’s largest employers, National Grid, CenterState CEO Board Chair Melanie Littlejohn will be on hand to share her perspective on this progress.

These investments and the many others in the pipeline are part of an exciting period of growth that will make our community an attractive place to live and work — one that is writing a new future for this region. To learn more, contact Andrew Fish, CenterState CEO’s senior VP of business development, at

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on Oct. 7.

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