The Gear Factory Syracuse

Rehearsal Studios at The Gear Factory


September 2014

Finally a Break Through!

The Gear Factory now has it's best chance ever to get the financing necessary to build all of the rehearsal studios! (For full details click here.) However, it’s not a done deal yet. The potential lender (Home Headquarters Inc., a local NFP) is seriously considering financing the project, but they want to be sure that there is serious demand for rehearsal studios in Syracuse! 

And we only have until their next board meeting on the 24th of September (this month!) to show that demand. To make this happen, we need your help.

There are two ways you can help us do this (and doing both would be best!)


Fill out and submit the reservation form below to indicate interest in renting a rehearsal studio. There is absolutely NO financial commitment or obligation when you do this. This list will be submitted to Home Headquarters Inc. to demonstrate the interest local musicians have in these rehearsal studios. When the time comes to rent out the studios, the list will be used to contact potentially interested parties. (Please note: We will contact interested musicians in the order that their forms were received.)


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Post a public reply below with a short note, letter, quote, or comment about any of the following (for example): the need for rehearsal studios in Syracuse and the CNY region, positive experiences you’ve had at The Gear Factory to date, what you like about The Gear Factory and/or what you think a project like this can do for the art scene, music scene and for this city.

Thank you for your interest and support! Check back here and at The Gear Factory Facebook page for further details about the progress of the rehearsal studios at The Gear Factory.

Posted by Bob Rogalski on
There is a dire and desperate need for rehearsal space in Central NY. With the many gigging bands around, and with a lively music scene in the Central NY region, rehearsal space is in demand by many local and regional bands. The Gear Factory can serve as a pivotal and central headquarters for all gigging bands as it's in a very centralized location for all. This project will expand and greatly enhance the music scene for Syracuse and all of Central NY. I'm very interested in renting out Studio N.
Posted by Shane Williams on
Being a musician from Syracuse who now lives in Albany, a move not motivated by music, I can honestly say that Syracuse is a better town for music and arts than it's residence give it credit for. Compared to a lot of cities in the east it has more community performance venues for young original bands to perform at than you typically find in bigger cities. More often than not places like Sparc, Westcott Comunity Center and Gorham Bros. Music as well as the various illegitimate "punk house venues" will almost always have young touring bands playing with locals. This is important because it's the best example of original music working class bands you can have. Show swapping and networking is the number one most important thing when it comes to self promotion and treating a band as a business. Having a home base for musicians to rehearse from and network locally is extremely important to the continued growth of its music and art community as well as the development of an artists business sense. A thriving musician community exists in Syracuse, something that I miss, it is good to see it grow and to be supported.
Albany has a community known as the barn. It's worth a look at to see how they structure themselves or as a comparison.
Posted by Grant Johnson on
As a performing musician in the Syracuse area for almost two decades, one thing we have always lacked is a secure, stable place to rehearse. Rick's plan for the Gear Factory fills a much needed gap and will undoubtedly be of high benefit to the local music and art communities.
Posted by Karen Greenfield on
I am interested in a soundproof space to record some of the music that I have been writing. I do not have access to such a space currently. I love the Gear Factory, I have a lot of friends who have had studios, and I have been requesting a space for some time now.
Posted by Brett Hobin on
My Dad and I have been running a recording studio for years and years. For those years and years we have received phone calls with regularity inquiring about practice spaces. Whether it be college students, touring bands, local bands, singer songwriters looking for a writing space, you name it... Having a dedicated rehearsal space in town would not only let us point people who call in the right direction, but add an additional sense of legitimacy to a town that already has world class studios, venues, and musicians.
Posted by Lev on
Awesome space! We need more studio-space in Syracuse!!!
Posted by Georgette Nicolaides on
The absolutely best thing about the Gear Factory project is that it is truly grass-roots. Much of the Near Westside art development was funded by Nancy Cantor's SU, and now that it is Kent's SU, that funding is gone. Since this is a grass-roots artistic project with deep roots from its several-year existence, we can expect it to be around, not dependent on the whims of outsider leadership of SU or other large bureaucracy. Before I bought my house on the Northside, setting up my own deep roots into this area, I had an artist studio on the first floor of the Gear Factory. It was great to have a place to go to commune with other artists and small business owners.

And yes. There are folks generating income through their work at the Gear Factory. Grassroots economic development!
Posted by Ric Gallup on
Not since Albino's has there been a secure, decent place for the local music scene to converge for prcatice nights. Our wives and neighbors may finally get the peace and quiet that they so crave.
Posted by Devon Robillard on
As being a musician and moving to Syracuse primarily for the thriving music scene and to become a more active musician, one problem I have always faced is not having a reliable, clean, safe, and respectable place to rehearse. Syracuse is in desperate need and Rick's plan is great. While being on tour I have seen other practice spaces and buildings devoted to practice spaces for bands. All of which were very similar to Ricks plan and provided a secure and safe place for the thousands of dollars of gear that bands have as well as making them comfortable to allow artists to be creative to their full potential.

We have been in the gear factory in a temporary room in hopes of these being built and even the temporary room has far exceeded any other space we have rented or leased in Syracuse in the past 10 years. We cannot wait to see the rehearsal studios go through so other musicians and artists can finally have a great place to create their music. Plenty of bands have also come here to record at our studio space with us and they are all ecstatic to see such a plan in place and hope it goes through.
Posted by Peter Bermel on
There is a glaring need for a secure space where creatives in Syracuse can go to work. Make
Posted by Steve Carbone on
Successful collaboration starts with having a place to come together. Without a space to meet, create, rehearse, etc., how many potentially great bands would fail to ever get off the ground? Not to mention the fact that a place like the Gear Factory would be conducive to the development of a community of artists within its walls.

With the quality of facilities that would be provided by the Gear Factory and the burgeoning music community that results, there is no tellin what great things could develop for our scene and our city.
Posted by Robb Fisher on
As a veteran of band mates basements, the basements of their parents, the infamous Love Shack AND currently the Midler space, I feel particularly qualified to express the need for professional rehearsal locations. Speaking of which, this location is prime! It is centrally located near our two major highways, the developement-heavy Connective Corridor,and is already recognized as part of the burgeoning urban art scene.
Also consider the strides local musicians have made recently to keep our community growing. From self-funded showcases (featuring national acts and local talent) to regional independent record labels offering support for the recorded arts, we have refused to let a once stagnant scene become swallowed by the doldrums of Syracuse.
My colleagues deserve this chance to be creative in an environment that stimulates, as the only current options tend to stifle. Thank you for your consideration.
Posted by Steven Alexander on
A nice, clean, well maintained rehearsal space is just what this music scene needs. Years ago. some of my most fond memories were hanging out with other musicians in rehearsal spaces. I'd definitely be interested in an affordable and well maintained property.
Posted by Colleen Woolpert on
I am proud to say I had a photography studio in the Gear Factory from 2007-2010. I met other artists and musicians there, and my work was shaped through dialogue and collaboration that such proximity fostered. Even today, the Gear Factory is an important location for me, as it inspires my current research into early motion picture innovations that took place on the site. Rick Destito is an important advocate for artists and musicians and a vital member of the Syracuse creative community. I know there is a need for rehearsal space in Syracuse, and Rick will give those rooms his signature quality touch. Please support this important project.
Posted by John Bukowski on
There is such a lack of places to practice in this city, and so many great bands. If everyone had a saf place to go, creativity would be at an all time high. It would be nice to not have the crackhead who lives downstairs interrupting your train of thought to try to sell you a broken radiator. These spaces have the potential to be the answer to half of the music scene's problem. (The other half being lack of venues, but that's another discussion for another time...)
Posted by Jim Muleane on
The GF has always been an amazing place. Between art showings, movie filming and band space, it's a shining example, here in Syracuse, of a reliable, inspiring, cohesive environment for art in any form that can be done perfectly. Done without renting closets in buildings that should be condemned and in fear of being robbed or accosted every time you enter or leave. 1 safe building being a hub to so many creative people. I definitely would love to be a part of that.
Posted by Nick on
I've been practicing in The Gear Factory for about a year now and I have yet to find a better spot. It's a safe, secure spot in a convenient location and I'm sure that the countless musicians in the area could benefit from a project to allow more space.
Posted by Peter Hawley on
I have maintained a studio at the Factory for more than 5 years. It is an incredible place to work, located in an extremely accessible part of the city. In it's heyday it served as a hub for local artists to meet and collaborate hosting art shows, film screenings, community action meetings, and concerts. I take pride in supporting the Gear Factory because I know that it is a creative space rich with creative energy that is helping to make Syracuse a more vibrant place to live.
Posted by Sierrawolfe on
This is a means to a happier ending that Syracuse might have in store. We have to act NOW, or accept failure. You- or your friend, or someone in your family is talented beyond belief... Rick's Gear Factory wants to PUT THEM INTO PLAY. With your hands or your heart, you could be a Maker. Why not have a Home for Development? Get the Cogs rolling and make the Gear Factory HOME.
Posted by Dan Epstein on
Short Message ... It's ironic how The Gear Factory works. The city gets quieter when musicians find a soundproof studio to practice in, but the city also gets quieter when there aren't places like the gear factory, because musicians don't have a place to practice their music, so they can't share it with the city.
Posted by Joseph Driscoll on
In order to be a truly great city, you must have great artistic and cultural diversity. In order to have great cultural diversity, you must have the space for artists to create. Especially with music, the time to write and create is essential to that process. Due to neighbours, housemates, family, and the amount of noise a band creates, this is normally not possible in the musicians home. Locations and facilities such as the Gear Factory provide an essential link in the cultural growth of our city, there by impacting the overall growth of our city in a positive way. I had a space in the gear factory for the better part of a year, and it is just the sort of necessary space we need to cultivate a more communal music and art scene in Syracuse.
As a person who has lived in many cities in many countries (London, NYC, Berkeley, Marseilles, Britsol) I whole heartedly believe that the Gear Factory and places like it, are a truly essential part of making Syracuse a better place to live for all its citizens.
Posted by Mark NannI on
Posted by Scott Johnston on
I am a capitalist pig. I also love live music but my comments will make that irrelevant. I am speaking to the HHQ loan officer, not a politician.

Current supply and demand: Can Rick consistently rent the space enough to pay back the loan? There are over one hundred bands in Syracuse. There are less than 5 places to practice in the city and they are full. Always. The others must be practicing somewhere? Why would they come to the GF? Artists like to create in cool spaces where they can let loose and not bother family, friends and neighbors. Their loved ones love their job/hobby but would gladly pay to get them out of their house. There will be a backlog waiting list for additional practice space even after these are built.

Business owner: Can Rick Destito keep the doors open long enough to pay back the loan? I will admit my lack of vision 10 years ago when this young kid started a wild idea of housing Syracuse artists. However, I have since seen millions (empowerment zone loopholes, connective corridor, west side initiative consultants, project financing tax forgiveness) dollars pumped into toothless economic development projects over the last decade. Most of those failed because there was no owner and ownership. Meanwhile, Rick has worked with a owners mentality to keep rents coming in and expenses low. Gear Factory shouldn't have worked and certainly shouldn't have survived a 100 year recession but it did and Rick's ownership talent is the what you are financing.

HHQ mission statement: ...creating housing and related opportunities that improve the lives of underserved Central and Upstate New York people and revitalize the communities in which they live. Thank you for the work you do. This project will be a success story on your website before the ink dries.
Posted by Dave Iannopollo on
This would be a great thing for the Syracuse music scene. It is so hard to find a place to rehearse that I am sure there are many groups of musicians that have not formed a band because of this!
Posted by Brandon on
There are so few safe, affordable places where musicians are allowed to create music, many people are forced out of the scene due to having nowhere to play. The Gear Factory could be the center of revitalizing the music scene in Syracuse and increasing tourism from in-state and out-of-state visitors to an area which currently has great food, a mega-mall, new hotels, beautiful parks and outdoor recreation, great sporting events, and NO MUSIC SCENE. This is crazy. The loan should be granted and additional funding via state-sponsored grants should be sought in 1-2 years to advertise that Syracuse is a real competitor for tourism dollars.
Posted by Kate Destito on
In 1992, I left CNY with a group of guys in a rock band in search of the music scene; since there was a lack of one locally. Eventually, we landed in Nashville, which used to be labeled "the Home of County Music", an unlikely place for a rock band, I thought. Years went by, more rock n roll artists moved there; and it is now advertised on the radio as "The Center of The Music Universe". Hundreds of thousands of musicians move there each year in hopes to be surrounded by like-minded people and create their own music. This movement has led to the building of more schools, radio stations, hotels, restaurants, homes, music studios, music rehearsal spaces, tour bus companies, management companies, award shows, music television, music venues, a new Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, and a 5 football field-sized convention center. The bars play free music from noon til 3 am every day. Outside on the street, people are busking, singing and dancing, doing their art publicly, trying to have their talent recognized by anyone who will listen. The people themselves have become a tourist attraction. Since the 90's, I have watched Nashville grow at twice the rate of the average US city. Now it has it's own football team and stadium, a hockey team and new arena, and is currently building a pro baseball stadium.

I went on to make a living in the music industry and buy a home in Nashville because of it. I am also the longest tenant in the Gear Factory. It is always the first place I go when I come back to CNY.

Now look at Syracuse. It already has the Dome. It already has historic music venues, beautiful lakes, great schools and creative minds. What it is lacking is that ground floor and the attitude that it can be done here. The creative people that are here are easily discouraged by the negativity. You have hit the tipping point, Syracuse. Now is your chance to change. The Gear Factory is a birthplace of invention. It is a common ground for like-minded people. It is the place that is small enough to know each other and share ideas, yet big enough to have your own private space to create. The big rehearsal spaces in NY, TN, and CA do NOT have that. The Gear Factory is something truly unique and special. Like many things in Syracuse, it has seen hard times. It truly deserves to be the building full of light and people that it was built to be. I GUARANTEE YOU, build it and the rest will follow. Welcome the music and arts, and you get YOUR great city back in return.
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