Drone Pilot JobsLong-abandoned Syracuse Developmental Center might house drone manufacturing center, state says

December 15, 2021by helo-10
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Syracuse, N.Y. — A high-tech manufacturing facility may become the first tenant in the long-dormant and dilapidated Syracuse Developmental Center, the governor’s office said today.

Under a plan submitted to the state, Fotokite, a drone company housed in The Tech Garden, would get $5 million in state funds if it spends $21 million to develop a drone manufacturing facility and add 200 jobs in Syracuse.

The company listed the old Syracuse Developmental Center, now owned by the city, as the proposed site for its facility when it applied for grants from the state.

The building opened in the 1970s as a state-operated home for people with developmental disabilities. It has been abandoned since it closed in 1998.

The city seized the property in 2019 over back taxes owed by the previous owner. The site includes a more than 600,000-square-foot building at 800 S. Wilbur Ave. surrounded by 47 acres of land.

The city sought proposals from developers for the site but didn’t select any bidders, said Greg Loh, a spokesman for the mayor’s office. Now, the city is considering Fotokite’s plan and several other uses for the site.

But at this stage, the city is just in early talks with the company, Loh said — plans for the site aren’t finalized yet.

Fotokite makes tethered drones, which means the drone can launch, fly and land without a pilot, according to the company’s website. Because the drone is tethered to something on the ground — a tree or a fire truck, for example — it won’t accidentally fly away from where it’s needed.

The company has three main locations: in Syracuse, Colorado and Switzerland.

Got a tip, comment or story idea? Call or text Megan Craig at 315-925-7137, email her at [email protected] or send a direct message on Twitter @megcraig1.



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