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Syracuse Technology Garden's open house

Grow Syracuse!

See how Syracuse's garden has grown at Syracuse Technology Garden's open house:

When I first started exploring Syracuse, a friend and I walked past 235 Harrison Street and peered into the windows of a massive 33,000 square-foot empty space with concrete pillars and floors. The building held a lot of promise, but like many areas of Syracuse at the time, it was vacant and lifeless. Four years and $3.5 million later, it has undergone a total transformation and now symbolizes the very reincarnation of Syracuse.

The space is home to the Syracuse Technology Garden, a program of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, with a mission "to stimulate technological creativity and foster entrepreneurial activity in Syracuse and the central New York region."

As a high-tech business incubator, the facility acts as "a regular gathering spot for aspiring entrepreneurs, early stage investors and creative individuals seeking to connect with others to share their passion for technology and business," according to their Web site, GrowSyracuse.com. The center houses offices for start-up businesses dealing with technology driven ideas and seeks to connect such entrepreneurs with mentors, called "Entrepreneurs-in-Residence," as well as access to angel investments and venture capital.

"We could take you from ground zero or a developed business plan," said Lynn Hughes, associate manager of the Tech Garden. "Our goal is to bring more businesses to Syracuse so that within 3 to 5 years the company grows, hires more people and brings more capital to watch the Syracuse economy grow."

The state-of-the-art facility houses several conference rooms and the Verizon Technology Theater, which is set up with multimedia services for workshops, panel discussions or lecture style presentations. These plus the front lobby and expansive outdoor front patio are all available for rent to host events.

"It's a really good resource for entrepreneurs," according to Cheyne Rood, who has an office in the Tech Garden to run his social networking Web site for book lovers, www.DustJacketReview.com. Rood first became aware of the facility when he exhibited his pen and ink drawings in a gallery space in the building's halls.

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