The city’s Urban Renewal Agency agreed to sell the vacant property at 167 Genesee St. to Martin, president of FosterMartin Inc., an interactive marketing agency in the city, for $20,000. The sale must be approved by the Common Council.

UTICA — Christine Martin wants to make the former Rite Aid building in downtown Utica a destination.

That plan took another step forward Friday.

The city’s Urban Renewal Agency agreed to sell the vacant property at 167 Genesee St. to Martin, president of FosterMartin Inc., an interactive marketing agency in the city, for $20,000. The sale must be approved by the Common Council.

“I’ve always been interested in 167-169 (Genesee St.) because of my vested interest in the building and the block and making sure that whoever bought it was going to do something  great with the building,” Martin said. “My real commitment to the city is to make that first floor a viable retail space to bring business and commerce to downtown and also begin the rehab on the second floor and start working my way up as cash flow allows.”

Martin said her plans include converting the first floor of the building into a high-end, full-service bridal boutique. She said that there is a need and demand for a bridal event business in the area and that people will travel from inside and outside of the area to come to visit the store.

“People seek out this type of service and product,” Martin said. “They’ll travel. They’ll come to downtown and I think that it will cater to that bridal event planning experience that these people are looking for.”

Local developers Tony and Frank Cristiano were hoping to purchase the Rite Aid building earlier this year and transform it into a deli and combination of commercial and residential space. But health and other issues forced the two to pull out of the deal.

Martin already owns the neighboring building housing the Utica Catholic Book Store at 171 Genesee St. That building consists of the book store, FosterMartin’s production studio, a VIP suite for brides, event spaces and a larger space for weddings and corporate events.

Mayor Robert Palmieri said that he believed Martin was the right person at the right time for the building.

“This building I thought would have gone much quicker but for whatever reason it hasn’t,” he said. “It’s got great bones and a great future to it.”

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