Syracuse ‘ineligible’ to host NCAA Tournament after loss of Sheraton’s hotel rooms

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Danny Liedka, the man in charge of local tourism in Syracuse, said he was mentally prepared for the closure of the Sheraton on Syracuse University’s campus but not physically prepared.

“We could use some more hotel rooms in city center, big time,” Liedka told NewsChannel 9.

Instead of guest rooms, SU is prioritizing student rooms. The hotel will be converted into a residence hall within the next year.

The loss of the 235 guest rooms is a 10% hit to the city’s overall hotel inventory, which Liedka worries will hurt Visit Syracuse’s work to attract big events.

“We don’t have a lot of big box hotels,” Leidka explained. “The Marriott, when we have a big convention, will take a few hundred, but once you get past that, you have to go out to the Crowne Plaza, the Sheraton, so it’s a really, really big loss.”

He says the Sheraton was a “big player” when thousands of people came to Central New York for past bowling tournaments and fire chief conventions.

The hotel’s demise is a direct block to the region’s attempts to host the first weekend of March Madness. When the NCAA Tournament had been previously played at the Dome, most recently in 2015, the Sheraton had long been the hotel assigned to out-of-town press.

“We’ve just struggled to get enough rooms together,” Leidka says about the NCAA Tournament. “Now that the Sheraton’s gone, it’s just that final jab. It makes us ineligible, so to speak.”

He has good reason to believe the shortage of hotel rooms is somewhat temporary. He’s aware of hotel developers considering projects as a result of Micron’s commitment.

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