Invest CNY

Invest CNYInvest CNY’s (a/k/a the CenterState Development Foundation) mission is to unlock the economic potential of all Central New York's people and places by attracting public and philanthropic capital.

Originally incorporated in 1981 as the Metropolitan Development Foundation, Invest CNY is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that has historically served as a vehicle to attract investment and implement projects of local and regional significance, including Vision 2010, a regional economic development plan foundational to CNY’s subsequent collaborative strategies, and the Creative Communities Initiative that led to the creation of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank.

Your gift to Invest CNY will help us coordinate and convene the partners necessary to attract investments that will build our community’s capacity to foster inclusive economic growth so that all people have the opportunity to benefit and prosper.

Current Priority Focus Areas

Fiscal Sponsorship
Invest CNY serves as fiscal sponsor for community-based projects with aligned missions, providing the capacity for grassroots leaders to attract funding to positively impact their communities. Current sponsored projects include: Food Access Healthy Neighborhoods Now!, Fulton Block Builders and Oswego Renaissance Association.

Attracting Investment  
Invest CNY engages partners across Central New York to attract investments that restore, revitalize and enhance neighborhoods and communities. Invest CNY will work closely with stakeholders to ensure our region has the capacity to absorb current and future economic growth in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Redevelopment Projects
Historically, Invest CNY has helped attract investment and helped implement various redevelopment projects. While not actively pursuing these types of projects, Invest CNY remains open to serving a role where no other market solutions exist.

Past Redevelopment Projects Supported

Foundations - Land Bank before after
Greater Syracuse Land Bank

The CDF supported the Creative Communities Initiative, supported by an $800,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to promote sustainable and equitable regional economic and community development. This initiative led to the creation of the Greater Syracuse Land Bank and various regional land use strategies to promote inclusive regional economic growth.

Clinton Square Post Office

One of its first projects, CDF purchased the Clinton Square Post Office from the U.S. Postal Service in 1984. This vacant, historic structure was ultimately transferred to Pyramid Companies, which located its beautiful Syracuse headquarters there.

Hancock Airpark Sign Summer
Hancock Airpark

CDF helped redevelop the former Air Force base at Hancock Field into a light manufacturing and office park. Following the announcement that the base would close, CDF took the lead in securing state and federal grants to develop an overall site master plan and support subsequent infrastructure development.

Galleries of Syracuse

CDF played a key role in assembling the necessary land and funding for construction of the Galleries of Syracuse. This project stabilized and improved a blighted area made up of vacant or underutilized commercial buildings in Syracuse's central business district. The Galleries has become home to major office tenants, the county's main library, as well as restaurants and retail establishments serving the downtown workforce.

Townsend St. Sculpture moved to the MOST

CDF was involved in the redevelopment of the Jefferson Street Armory, now home to the Museum of Science and Technology (The MOST) and Bristol Omnimax Theater. CDF secured state funding for the initial feasibility study that examined potential reuses of the Armory, accepted title to the structure from the State of New York for eventual transfer to the museum and assisted in obtaining major state grants to support the project.

Jefferson Clinton Hotel
Jefferson-Clinton Hotel

CDF served as a vital partner in efforts to rehabilitate the former Jefferson-Clinton Hotel, a historic landmark that now boasts sixty-eight luxury suites. CDF received a state grant for building stabilization, and also took temporary title to the property from the City of Syracuse for eventual transfer to the developer.

Pike block construction june 2013
The Pike Block

CDF played a leading role in efforts to transform the 300 block of South Salina Street in downtown Syracuse into 87 units of market rate housing and 25,000 square feet of retail space. MDF Property Holdings acquired the properties (consisting of four vacant buildings), packaged them, and negotiated their redevelopment as one project. In 2009, VIP Development was selected as project developer.

Electronics Park

CDF played a critical role in facilitating development of the Electronics Park master plan, helping retain Lockheed Martin as a major regional employer, and serving as manager and developer of the park by securing two state grants totaling $2 million.

Central New York Regional Market
Central New York Regional Market

CDF served as the contracting entity for an $8.4 million state grant that was used to renovate the market into a highly trafficked commerce and entertainment asset.

Invest CNY Board of Directors


Robert M. Simpson

Rob Simpson
President & CEO, CenterState CEO


Evelyn Ingram
Director of Media and Community Relations, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

James Reed headshot
Vice President

James Reed
President/CEO, Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield

Susan Crossett

Susan Crossett
Chief Executive Officer, CPS Recruitment

Gail Cowley

Gail Cowley
President, Cowley Associates


Nathan Andrews
President, Morse Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Vicki Brackens, ChFC
President and Financial Planner, Brackens Financial Solutions Network

Somak Chattopadhyay
General Fund Manager, Armory Square Ventures

Mantosh Dewan, M.D.
President, SUNY Upstate Medical University

Stephen Fournier
President- Central New York, KeyBank, N.A.

Stephen Gorczynski
Central New York Regional President, M&T Bank

John Huhtala
Executive Director and Market Executive, CNY Middle Market, Commercial Banking, Chase

Melanie Littlejohn
Vice President, New York Jurisdiction, National Grid  

Eric Mower
Executive Chairman, Mower Agency

Timothy Murphy
Managing Partners, Hancock & Estabrook

Michael Nash
Principal, KS&R

David Nutting, AIA
Chairman & CEO, VIP Structures, Inc.

Margaret O’Connell
Executive Director, Allyn Family Foundation

Tim Penix
Vice President, SUNY Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center (SUNY EOC)

David Schneckenburger
President, Thompson & Johnson Equipment Co., Inc.

Thomas Schneider
JF Real Estate – Leasing Representative

Erik Smith
Vice President & General Manager, Sensor Systems, Saab, Inc.

Kim Townsend
CEO, Loretto