#31 Jun 18, 2013
Building a new hotel really has nothing to do with the re-birth of Utica. Absolutely the only reason there is a need for a hotel there is because of the Thruway exit there. People who are traveling down the Thruway to NYC, Boston, and all points west need a place to stop for the night. Utica just happens to be a convenient place to stop for one night. Up unitl recently, the only hotels located at that exit were the lower end establishments such as Red Roof, Motel 8, and a few no-name flea bag places. Now, mid-level and somewhat upper level places are coming in to fill the need for better quality accomodations. Its not really because Utica is a destination point for their guests, but rather due to the thruway exit making it easy and convenient to stop there. I doubt any of the people who stop for the night will ever make it past their hotel into downtown. This re-birth is not because of Utica, it is in spite of it.
#32 Jun 18, 2013
Hey! The happy journey is not a flea bag place! Lol
#33 Jun 19, 2013
I hear the Waldorf is considering utica.
#34 Jun 19, 2013
#35 Jun 19, 2013
Trump too?! Uticas back!!! Lol
#38 Jul 3, 2013
This growth is becoming contagious.
#40 Jul 4, 2013
So, is Riverside the new downtown Utica? Or maybe the reason more stores are going into Riverside is because it is on Route 12, and people on their way up north find it convenient to stop there. Please let me know when 5 new places are going to open on Bleeker St.
#41 Jul 4, 2013
Those looking for a downtown success story have to go no further than the corner of Lafayette and Genesee streets.
That’s where Black River Systems Company has made its home base, employing nearly 50 people there, most of them engineers.
AT A GLANCE
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Name: Black River Systems Company.
History: Opened in the fall of 1996 and moved to its downtown office around 2000.
Location: 162 Genesee St., Utica.
Number of employees: 49.
Annual revenues: About $7 million.
ABOUT THE PRESIDENT
Name: Jeff Brandstadt.
Title: President of Black River Systems Company.
Length of time at company: 13 years.
Education: Bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Michigan Technological University and master’s degree in science in electrical engineering from Syracuse University.
The company designs and analyzes sensor-systems and the high-performance software that goes with them, company President Jeff Brandstadt said. That includes radar and electronic warfare systems for the country’s Armed Forces.
Black River Systems is routinely held up as an example to follow in the Mohawk Valley business community.
It takes advantage of the potential for high-tech spin-off business, doing the majority of its business with the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome.
And its principals see the potential and advantages of Utica’s beleaguered downtown.
“We got into this building for a good price, and we were able to expand easily,” Brandstadt said.“There are places to eat lunch, places to mail packages, doctors and lawyers down here. So you can have all the amenities of a large company without being a large company.”
The company began with 4 employees in 1996 and moved to the building at 162 Genesee St. around 2000, Brandstadt said. Since then, it has endured “slow, managed growth” to become a company with 49 employees and several different offices around the country.
And Brandstadt expects that growth to continue – into the building next door at 170-172 Genesee St.
The state and city recently announced Black River Systems will receive a state Restore New York Communities Grant to renovate the new building.
Meanwhile, Brandstadt said the plan will continue to be slow growth and taking care of current employees.
“Our business depends on our people,” he said.“We need to attract the best and keep them here. Right now, we’re doing a pretty good job of that.”
Q&A with Jeff Brandstadt
What do your engineers do?
The engineers at Black River design and analyze sensing systems and the software that drives them. We work with signal processing and data processing algorithms hosted on very high speed, multi-core computing systems. A significant percentage of our efforts support the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome.
#42 Jul 4, 2013
Utica block once in danger of demolition now coming to life
ANGELICA A. MORRISON
Wade McCrite puts a wood finish on a patio Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010, in Utica. Local developers are working to renovate Bleecker Street buildings.
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All four of the projects on a Bleecker Street block once slated for demolition are expected to be finished by early- to mid-2011, the owners of the properties say.
Already, a karate studio is up, running and gaining popularity, according to one of its instructors. It will soon be joined by a mix of night clubs, office space and apartments.
And city officials say the development will have effects beyond the buildings being renovated.
“There’s no doubt in my mind there will be spin-off of that,” Mayor David Roefaro said.“That’s just the first step.”
In addition to the karate studio at 249 Bleecker St., which is owned by Sulejman Latic, the projects include:
* 237-239 Bleecker St.: Wade McCrite is turning the downstairs floor into retail space where refurbished furniture will be sold, probably by January 2011. Upstairs, he plans to have a martini bar with appetizers that could be ready by mid- 2011.
* 243-245 Bleecker St.: George Heath is renovating the former Millenium Nightclub into a high-end bar called Strut, with a lounge and dancing. Construction will be finished in a month but it will take longer to obtain a liquor license, and Heath is hoping to open by October.
“We’ll hopefully bring to this area what most people have to go to Syracuse or Albany for,” he said.
Heath, who redeveloped a historic house on Park Avenue with McCrite, is also turning the upper level into an apartment.
* 251-255 Bleecker St.: David Bonacci purchased the building and is currently renovating it as the Utica headquarters for his business, Bonacci Architects, and possibly another commercial tenant.
The second floor will be a residential space for Bonacci, who is chairman of the city’s Scenic and Historic Preservation Commission and a Landmark Society board member, and his wife. Both projects should be ready by the end of the year.
“We had a vision to move downtown; be part of a renaissance of that area and develop an unusual loft space,” Bonacci said.“The transformation of that block is going to be almost remarkable.”
And between Heath and Bonacci’s buildings is the one owned by Sulejman Latic, a Bosnian martial arts instructor. The section facing Bleecker is a martial arts retail store and café, while the back has been converted into a training studio.
Latic could not be reached, but an assistant instructor said the studio is “doing very well.”
“He’s got a lot of new students,” said Gary Webb, adding that the location is ideal for inner-city youth.“He wants to be where it’s easiest for them to get to.”
#44 Jul 4, 2013
After nearly 10 years of being mostly vacant, there is new life in the Harza Building, a landmark in the heart of downtown Utica. In August, we told you area businessman Tom Clark bought the Harza Building on Genesee Street for a quarter of a million dollars.
Today, development groups announced the new tenants for the building. Utica College will be leasing 2 of the Harza Building's six floors for the expansion of its online division. Local officials and the college president say they say filling this downtown landmark is just the beginning of returning Utica to its former glory.
"We've been dreaming of coming back downtown in some fashion or another for sometime," says Todd Hutton, president of Utica College.
"It's just another piece of the puzzle; another 60 people working down here," says Tom Clark, Utica business owner.
Clark also owns the Adirondack Bank Building and the area's Mcdonald's restaurants, and he says the revitalization of this building will bring new life to downtown.
"This is the business hub as I've said all along for the region. Its gonna be vibrant and viable. And from where its come 12 years ago to today, this is just another step in the right direction," says Clark.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says the sale of this building was one of his goals when he took office, and today...
"There is a return; its vibrant, we have the best services around. We have an opportunity to grow and if we look at our downtown and surrounding areas, what better place to be but in the heart of downtown Utica and Oneida County," says Mayor Palmieri.
Construction has already begun. And in just a few short months, Utica College online studies professors will fill the vacant floors.
"We expect to add at least 25 people in the next 5 years. I suspect it could be double than that," says Hutton.
And Hutton says the workforce won't be the only group to double
"We have plans to almost double our full time enrollment. These students will be online or in other sites in New York and in Florida," says Hutton.
And the increase in students will also mean an increase in money coming to Utica.
"You have a student in South Dakota taking a course online with Utica College. That student is paying tuition and that tuition accrues to the benefit of the city of Utica and Utica College. It ends up right here," says Hutton.
"People who were hopeless have hope at this point. I think there's optimism. We are a city but we are a community. And I think you're starting to see that positive working for our city," says Mayor Palmieri.
Utica College president Hutton says he hopes the move will will bring an additional 3,000 students to their already 3,900 strong student enrollment. He says online staff will be moving into their new home in the Harza Building by March of 2013.
#45 Jul 4, 2013
A local family construction business has made an offer to buy the HSBC building. They have plans for a massive renovation - putting in loft apartments, a rooftop bar, and even a seafood restaurant. But with the current state of the building, they have a long road ahead of them.
Only in Utica do the people come forward and put their heart and soul into what this great city is all about," said Mayor Robert Palmieri
He was talking about the Pezzolanella family, owners of a construction company, who have made an offer to undertake the task of transforming this building. With years of experience, they say a project like this is not something they're scared of.
"We usually don't start with four walls and if we can get a spot where we can start with four walls, it's better than starting without them and this is an absolutely gorgeous building," said Francis Pezzolanella.
But at the moment, the building interior is less than ideal. Ron Prince, a business man from California bought the building in 2009 and let it fall into complete disrepair.
"There were children, there were dogs, there were cats, there was feces all over the place," said the Mayor.
Earlier this year, the city went to the Supreme Court forcing prince to either make repairs or tear the building down within 90 days. When he didn't, the city of Utica took control.
Now, Pezzolanella Construction hopes to restore the building and bring something new to Utica.
"We have plans to put in a seafood restaurant with a seafood oyster bar and a rooftop oyster bar, which is something unique that the city does not have," he said.
The mayor says, along with the announcement of the Comets hockey team, this marks another step forward for the city.
"You can see where the city is growing, not where it's going but where it's growing," he said.
#46 Jul 4, 2013
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Gerber's 1933 Tavern in Utica re-opens after three decades
By NEWSChannel 2 Staff
Story Created: Jun 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM EDT
Story Updated: Jun 6, 2013 at 6:43 PM EDT
UTICA, N.Y.(WKTV)- The former Gerber's Grill in Utica has sat empty, collecting dust for almost three decades.
Now, as Gerber's 1933 Tavern, it's back open for business in downtown, with Mark and Susan Mojave taking on the challenge taking on the challenge of making a piece of Utica's history into part of its future.
The Mojaves said they see potential in the area and want to be part of it. Keeping to its 1933 roots, there is no deep fryer and no freezer at the Tavern, which means everything that will be served there will be made fresh daily.
"Hot sandwich, cold beer," Mark Mojave said of the types of things that will be served up. It's an historic speakeasy back during the day of prohibition. The Gerber family ran it for two generations from 1929 to 86 when Leo passed. We are trying to honor his history."
Gerber's, which is located on Liberty Street in Utica, is open for dinner and drinks Thursday through Saturday with lunches set to start next week.
#47 Jul 4, 2013
About 200 jobs are coming to downtown Utica.
Mayor Robert Palmieri along with officials from APAC Customer Services announced Thursday the company would be adding workers to its downtown location.
“Quite frankly, there are a lot of people talking about losing jobs,” Palmieri said.“This shows the commitment of Utica to the downtown Utica area. This is more than just jobs. This is offering opportunities for Mohawk Valley residents for careers.”
Right now, APAC employs roughly 500 people at its Utica location. Officials would not give a pay range for the new workers
The city will be hosting a job fair to help the company fill the customer service positions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Common Council chambers.
Bringing more jobs to APAC should help other parts of downtown, Palmieri said.
“These new employees, they have to eat, they have to do banking and business downtown,” he said.
The open positions are available due to a growing customer base in the insurance, media and telecommunications industries, according to a news release.
The partnership between the city and the company also is meant to help publicize the available opportunities, APAC General Manager Ken Maynor said.
“People might open the paper, but they might not always be aware of the number of opportunities there are,” he said.“We’ve done studies in the area, and the area unemployment is approaching 9 percent. This will have an impact on that.”
The area’s August unemployment rate was 8.2 percent — the highest since the state started tracking monthly unemployment.
APAC provides customer service for large companies around the world. It has a fluctuating job record, ranging from 175 jobs a decade ago to 900 jobs a year later.
#48 Jul 4, 2013
Utica scores with new hockey team; Comets to play in AHL - Utica ...
After more than a decade without professional hockey, the game is returning to the Utica Memorial Auditorium. It was announced Friday that the Utica Comets will play ...
#49 Jul 4, 2013
News about Former Ge Building Bleecker St Utica
Former Bleecker St. GE building sold
A relic of Utica’s past has new life. The Common Council approved the sale of the former General Electric building at 1900 Bleecker St. to Grzegorz and Monika…
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#50 Jul 4, 2013
Kenny,I guess we have nothing going on downtown? I just gave you several examples of new life in downtown. I didn't even mention the future of International Market Place right on Bleecker near Mohawk.
So,what do you think?
Great time to invest. Get in on the ground floor. Because the ground floor is looking up!
#51 Jul 5, 2013
Only a delusional Utican would make so much noise about absolutely nothing. All the stuff you have mentioned in your endless posts would not even qualify as a footnote anywhere else. This is the expected stuff. This is normal stuff. Its not any different than saying you are proud of Utica because there is more than one McDonalds, and a Burger King. What is the point of being proud of what exists in abundance everywhere else? You need to open your eyes a bit wider and look around to see if there is anything truly remarkable and noteworthy going on here. What is the big deal about your list of companies that employ 40 or 50 people downtown? In other cities, there are companies that employ hundreds, if not thousands in their downtowns. Your myopia allows you to only see the one or two little good things that might exist in Utica. My wide screen vision allows me to see a city that has more empty, unused and crumbling buildings scattered around a ghost town. This city is falling apart, and the only thing you can point to is APAC and an old GE building that got sold to a predetory delveloper for a dollar. All the things you think are wonderful and signs of some sort of imagined renaissance are ordinary and expected things. The renovation of one decaying building is not much of an accoplishment when a dozen other ones are being abandoned. Get your head out of the sand and open your eyes.
#52 Jul 5, 2013
Now that's the Utica I know! Children living in animal feces!
#53 Jul 5, 2013
APAC is not what I would call a "career opportunity".
#54 Jul 6, 2013
Glen, I was responding to someone that said nothing was going on downtown. I proved them wrong.
I never mentioned mcdonalds or burger king.
Yes,maybe some of these places are in other towns. However, Utica has had a series of positive news.
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