UTICA — Four dilapidated buildings at the intersection of Mohawk and Eagle streets in East Utica will be demolished within the next few weeks to make way for a planned 10,000-square-foot retail space, Mayor Robert Palmieri announced Friday.
The properties where the buildings are located, at 1163 Mohawk St. and 709 Eagle St., are owned by a subsidiary of Benderson Development Co. and have sat vacant for years. James Boglioli of Benderson Development said demolition is expected to take place after the estimated three weeks needed for asbestos abatement, starting Monday.
As for the retail space, Boglioli said Benderson envisions the building going on the corner of Mohawk and Eagle streets with an adjacent parking lot big enough for approximately 25 vehicles. He said the company is in negotiation with a potential tenant, while Benderson is expecting for the appropriate approval processes through the city to take upwards of three to four months.
"We look forward to working with Mayor Palmieri and the city to redevelop this property; the first step being the demolition of these structures," Boglioli said in a statement.
Historically, the structures had been used over the years as residences. Officials are not expecting any environmental issues beyond asbestos.
Palmieri said the buildings have concerned residents for decades and he reached out directly to Randy Benderson, an executive with Benderson Development.
"I want to make it real clear: It's been 20 years," he said, "But in that 20 years, there has been planned development for this that was politically not motivated and moved. So it's not because of Benderson entirely. It's sometimes because of politics that have been part of this because there have been proposals for development in this area."
Councilman Joseph Marino, who represents East Utica on the Utica Common Council, said in a statement, "The good people over there have been more than patient and done so much to make that area a great place to live, so on behalf of them, I truly thank Benderson development for committing to East Utica and combating that decades-old blight."
Eagle Street resident John Jones, 67, has lived across the street for all but one year of his life. While happy the buildings are going away, Jones said he would have liked to see them replaced with a park or something similar for the neighborhood.
"I’m concerned about the retail development, but I know it’s never going to be residential again,” Jones said. “I know retail development here would be landscaped nice and it’s going to look better than this. I’m concerned about the traffic, where the exits (will be), the trucks, the transportation, the parking lot lights. But I’m happy — I’m elated — these are going away."
Contact reporter Greg Mason at 315-792-5074 or follow him on Twitter (@OD_Mason).