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[IMGCAP(1)]SYRACUSE-O’Brien & Gere, an engineering and project delivery firm, will relocate its corporate headquarters from the suburb of Dewitt, NY to a targeted investment district in downtown Syracuse. The project, with the help of the Empire State Development, will bring 300 O’Brien & Gere employees to the downtown area and anchor a major revitalization strategy for the City here.

O’Brien & Gere will partner with the Pioneer Cos., to build and develop a six-story, 125,000-sf class A multi-tenant office building and parking garage located at the corner of West Washington and South Franklin streets in Armory Square. Called Washington Station, the project is being guided, rated and will be certified by the USGBC.

[IMGCAP(2)]While O’Brien & Gere will be the major tenant of the building, other tenants will be secured for the project, including Pioneer’s own headquarters. Michael Paul Falcone, chairman and CEO of Pioneer, tells GlobeSt.com that he expects that the company will break ground at the end of the year and he anticipates occupancy in July 2010. Falcone says that Pioneer remains committed to investing in upstate downtown city centers. “Washington Station is proof that once again we are setting the standard for new building development that has a significant economic impact to Syracuse’s urban core.”

According to a release from Gov. David Paterson, the building will use far less energy and water than comparable buildings, through the use of advanced engineering and energy management technologies. The total project investment, including land, building, furniture, fixtures, equipment and parking will cost approximately $25 million. Further queries to the State regarding how this will affect the town of Dewitt, where the firm was previously located, were unable to be answered by press deadline.

Empire State Development is investing $3 million toward the Washington Station project, including a $1 million grant and a $2 million low interest loan, both of which will be disbursed upon project completion. The City of Syracuse and the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency have also committed $3.5 million in grant funding to the project, including $1 million through Syracuse Neighborhood Initiative funding.

“This project provides the missing component of a larger, comprehensive revitalization plan for downtown Syracuse,” says Gov. Paterson in a prepared statement. “Upstate’s urban cores are experiencing a renewal, and distinguished companies like O’Brien & Gere are recognizing the quality of life benefits associated with being located in these appealing city centers.”

Terry Brown, CEO of O’Brien & Gere, says that “one of the biggest keys to attracting and keeping businesses and talented employees in our region is an attractive, vibrant, and active downtown region. We see our move as a piece of this puzzle to help support and promote a ‘new’ downtown. O’Brien & Gere’s move downtown and by others in the region who may relocate as well to our downtown community will have a profound impact on the Metropolitan Development Association’s Essential New York initiative and Syracuse University’s Connective Corridor project and will drive a re-birth throughout the City of Syracuse.”

Congressman Jim Walsh says in a prepared statement that this new mixed-use development project is the first new large plate office space to be built downtown since Pioneer completed 250 S. Clinton St. some 17 years ago. “This new construction and the relocation of O’Brien & Gere is a powerful, positive statement about the future of downtown Syracuse.”

Other revitalization efforts in the immediate area include the City Center Core Revitalization project and the Near Westside initiative. City Center involves the redevelopment of 12 key historic and commercial properties located in the heart of Syracuse’s urban core. Upon completion, this project will produce an investment of more than $54 million and more than 580,000 sf of newly renovated space. The Near Westside initiative is a multi-property project that is expected to revitalize 28-acres of blighted buildings on the edge of downtown Syracuse.

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