Original article from the Utica Observer Dispatch.
Posted Aug. 19, 2015 at 5:00 AM
Updated Aug 19, 2015 at 7:53 AM
Right now, the former ConMed complex in the area of 310 Broad St. sits empty. But that’s expected to change.
The Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation, which oversees the thINCubator at 106 Genesee St., is expected to move the incubator to an 8,400-square-foot portion of the complex at 326 Broad St., according to Frank DuRoss, the college’s director of institutional advancement.
“The thINCubator wants to stay in Bagg’s Square, wanted to be downtown as part of the whole economic ecosystem that we’re trying to help out,” he said. “So we wanted to do it downtown and that’s where we’re doing it.”
Initially funded and led by the foundation, the thINCubator, according to its website, aims drive innovation and entrepreneurship in collaboration with other educational institutions, existing entrepreneurs, support organizations, government agencies and the community.
The college’s masonry and carpentry programs, meanwhile, also are expected to take up 10,500 square feet of open warehouse space in the building at 316 Broad St., which connects the complex’s main building at 310 Broad St. with 326 Broad St., DuRoss said.
“The idea is MVCC is relocating the construction trades program that is currently in Rome,” he said. “The college would like to relocate it in Utica because there’s a great demand for trades people, especially hopefully with upcoming announcements there’s even more demand.”
The properties will be leased from an entity called Crane-Ballou LLC, of which Gary Thurston is the registered agent. Thurston is chairman and CEO of Syracuse-based Hayner Hoyt, a commercial construction company that is in the process of purchasing the ConMed property.
Attempts to contact Thurston were unsuccessful. But a city news release sent out in December said Hayner Hoyt plans to invest $4.5 million in revitalizing the building for mixed use, including 27 apartments, office space and manufacturing.
Brian Thomas, the city’s commissioner of urban and economic development, said in April that the property buyers were exercising their due diligence prior to closing on the property.
On Tuesday, Thomas said the buyers are expected to close on the property before the end of the week.
“My understanding is that renovation work is to begin later this year on 316 and 326 Broad St. with the renovation of the main brick building that will house the lofts to start in early 2016,” he said.
Crane-Ballou LLC has applied to the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency to enter into a transaction in which the agency will assist the company in the acquisition of the 316 and 326 Broad St. properties, according to a legal notice in Monday’s Observer-Dispatch.
The agency “contemplates that it will provide financial assistance to the company in the form of exemptions from sales and use taxes on materials and/or equipment used … in renovating (the properties), exemptions from mortgage recording taxes and abatement of real property taxes for a period of 10 years,” the notice stated.
A public hearing on the projects will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday in the legislative chambers on the 10th floor of the County Office Building at 800 Park Ave.
Other steps in the process include formalizing the lease agreement and renovations done inside both buildings, DuRoss said.
“Certainly it’s the goal of both the thINCubator and the trades to be in that location this fall,” he said. “They’re not going to be moving in, in a week or two, but certainly before January I would hope.”