Downtown Hospital Project Moves Forward, Businesses Voice Concerns

New money towards the downtown hospital means the project can steadily move forward but not all businesses are on board... 

"I guess it's the unknown of what's gonna happen you know they tell you it's gonna happen and they don't tell you when it's gonna happen or how soon it'll happen or how much time you'll have to move when it does happen...just the uncertainty of knowing.

"That's the feeling for many business owners in the downtown area even those indirectly affected.
Empire Bath and Kitchen owner, Cindy Miller says they feel slighted for being pushed aside. "I feel we're just as important as the people that are potentially gonna be bought out and taken down."
For many, their businesses have been in the downtown area for generations.

Shawn Corrigan of Wilcor said, "We love downtown and we love that it's given us the opportunity to grow staying in downtown for all those years so why would that want to be stopped?"

"We're not trying to push our way in there, in some ways we were pulled downtown if you will, because a lot of people thought it was a great way to help revitalize the downtown urban core," said CEO and President of Mohawk Valley Health System Scott Perra.

But Corrigan, whose family owns Wilcore outdoors believes the downtown area deserves young blood to take over the buildings and in doing that restoring the history in downtown Utica. Others remain positive that a move could improve business. "This building's a hundred years old, I mean so if we could get a newer building upgraded with better access to pulling in and out, I mean right now we have a small over head door, a bigger over head door, a bigger unloading system would be great for us," said owner of UAP Engine Rebuilders, Dan Shwertfeger.

In an interview Perra told us they're ready to talk to property owners about fair market value but their property acquisition budget for the 25 acre parcel doesn't include moving expenses and that's where the issue for many businesses comes in.
"This building as replacing it from 1900's would cost 35 million dollars and to rebuild the show room would cost about a half a million dollars," said Corrigan.

Perra says this week he'll be sending letters to businesses and while he says they won't have many specifics they do have numbers for them and plan in the third and fourth quarter of this year to make offers property owners.

"No one's seen these fair market value assessments yet and I would suggest that most people are gonna be very pleased when they actually get the offer from us," said Perra. He says three certified appraisal companies helped come up with offers for the downtown properties.


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