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Syracuse developer could be moving forward with Destiny USA tech park

Courtesy photo
Destiny USA
Carousel Center Mall is only one part of developer Robert Congel's massive "Destiny USA" complex.

The developer behind the troubled Destiny USA project has purchased 47 acres of polluted land that he once targeted for a giant clean-tech complex.  Rick Moriarty at the Post-Standard reports that observers had thought Robert Congel had abandoned his $2.7 billion plan but now it appears that he might be moving forward:

Congel has not granted interviews about Destiny USA in more than two years. His spokesman, David Aitken, said last week that resurrecting the research park plan was “a distinct possibility,” though he provided no details. “We look forward to redeveloping it over time, in concert with market conditions,” Aitken said. Congel never said how he would pay for the research park, other than making property tax exemptions a requirement for going forward. But his plans were grand. First called the Petroleum Addiction Rehabilitation Park and later the Destiny USA Research and Development Park, the complex was to stretch across both sides of 7th North Street, bordered by Interstate 81 on the west and the state Thruway on the north, creating thousands of engineering, scientific and manufacturing jobs in the renewable energy industry.

There's a fascinating drama unfolding here - it's definitely worth a read.

Air travel

U.S. Airways has cut fares to destinations like Washington and Philadelphia from Rochester, at the behest of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.  Slaughter had argued that high fares were making it hard for businesses to grow, reports Tom Tobin at the Democrat and Chronicle.

Meanwhile Senator Charles Schumer is calling for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to get a chance to test a new security device that would check travelers against no-fly lists and verify their identity.  Robert J. McCarthy reports at the Buffalo News:

While the Homeland Security Department has already approved New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport for testing the new technology in a major airport, he said Buffalo fits the perfect criteria for a midsized facility. "They haven't yet chosen a medium-sized airport," [Schumer] said. "I want it to be Buffalo." "The safety of Western New York families and business people is simply too important to wait," he added.

Compressed air energy

G. Jeffrey Aaron at the Elmira Star-Gazette reports that New York State Electric & Gas is testing the use of compressed air energy in an underground salt cavern.  The technology uses the force of air to spin turbines and create energy:

The study is expected to be completed late this year. If it reveals the project is feasible, the utility would seek state and federal approval to build a 150-megawatt power plant to be operational in late 2014. The plant could operate up to 16 hours a day using stored compressed air and could reduce the need for fossil fuel-fired generating plants during periods of peak demand. The project received a $29.6 million grant from the federal Department of Energy in November to offset its estimated $125 million cost. The power plant would be built next to the Seneca Lake Gas Storage facility on the west side of Seneca Lake, about three miles outside Watkins Glen. The site is suited for capacity increases, NYSEG says, because of the depleted salt caverns nearby.

Buffalo drug firm

Roswell Park Cancer Institute spin-off Photolitec has inked a deal with a Chinese drug firm to help develop a new cancer drug, reports David Robinson at the Buffalo News:

Photolitec was formed to develop “photosensitizing” compounds that can be injected into a cancer patient and, when used in conjunction with lasers, can not only illuminate a tumor but also activate compounds that can combat the cancer. The deal does not give [Chinese pharmeceutical firm] Hisun an equity stake in Photolitec, although Hisun has the first rights to license Photolitec’s products. The companies also plan to set up a joint venture in China. “One of the things that’s really important for Roswell Park is to have an environment that will create that kind of entrepreneurial spirit for our researchers,” said Candace Johnson, Roswell Park’s deputy director. “It will contribute to the economic development of our region.”

CNY app

The Downtown Committee of Syracuse, CenterState CEO and New York's Creative Core have created an app to help central New Yorker's find local businesses, reports Lorenzo Arguello at the Post-Standard.

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