Mission Gateway developer wins injunction against Syracuse University in disputed project

A rendering of the bookstore and fitness center that Cameron Group was to build at Syracuse University.
A rendering of the bookstore and fitness center that Cameron Group plans to build at Syracuse University.

Cameron Group, the developer of the Mission Gateway project has won an injunction against Syracuse University preventing the university from terminating an agreement that called for Cameron to build a $20 million commercial building that included a bookstore and fitness center.

Tom Valenti of Cameron said the court’s decision was 100 percent in Cameron’s favor. “I believe this vindicates our position,” he said in an email. “We perform and we will perform in Mission.”

The university announced in June that it had terminated its agreement with Cameron, based in East Syracuse, NY, citing construction delays and failure to secure construction financing on the developer’s part. The judge’s order stops the university from terminating the lease with Cameron or taking any actions that would end bond and tax agreements the developer had through the city.

The order said Cameron had “established by clear and convincing evidence the likelihood of its ultimate success on the merits” in granting the order for a preliminary injunction. The decision also notes that terms of the project had been negotiated over five years. It said the university tried to terminate an agreement this summer only two months after it had been signed and without allowing the 30-day correction period that had been agreed upon.

Cameron alleged that the university had “frustrated its attempt” to close on financing by the June deadline. “The University has failed to sufficiently refute this allegation,” the court said. The order said the university appeared “not ready, willing and able” to close on the June date.

The court order also said the university did not object to a construction schedule delivered by Cameron only 20 days prior to the deadline.

Valenti said he is ready to close on the financing for the project, which has already had site work and foundations poured. He also has retail lined up for the project that include letters from Panera and Panda Express. Cameron cannot resume construction until either an agreement is reached with the university or a trial takes place. The preliminary injunction is in place until the case is litigated further.