Destiny USA planning $75 million hotel, will ask for tax breaks

Destiny USA has told the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County that the company is planning a $75 million hotel across Hiawatha Boulevard in what is now parking lot space. The proposed hotel would have 252 rooms along with conference space.

It appears Destiny USA will ask for tax breaks or a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) agreement. In a letter to Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, Destiny USA management say they plan to ask the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency "to induce the project and grant financial assistance - similar to other hospitality projects in the region."

In the letter, Destiny USA says they are currently working with the financial markets to secure independent financing for the project. The company estimates the hotel would create 300 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs.

The proposal calls for the hotel to connect to Destiny USA by a pedestrian bridge. Construction could begin this spring, Destiny USA hopes to have the hotel open for the 2015 holiday season.

Mayor Stephanie Miner's office confirmed they received the letter on Wednesday but had no further comment. Syracuse Common Council President Van Robinson said that based on past practices, he expects Destiny USA to set up discussion groups with councilors to answer questions about the proposal.

Click here to read the letter from Destiny USA to Mayor Miner and County Executive Mahoney.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney told CNYCentral that a hotel is the logical next step for Destiny USA. She says the right hotel project could complement the mall and bring in more tax revenue for Onondaga County but Mahoney said she wants to make sure the hotel will maximize benefits for the area.

Destiny USA has said 25 to 30% of the tenant's business comes from Canadian tourists. Tourists who spend at least 24 hours in the U.S. can bring more goods back across the border into Canada duty free and many stores believe an on-site hotel would be a draw for shoppers from the north.