State releases Columbia Development plans for Harriman campus
The state is targeting 140 of the Harriman campus’ 330 acres for redevelopment; the remainder will continue to be used by state agencies that employ 7,300 people.Among the redevelopment plans:
Utica has a "state campus" of aging buildings of sorts in West Utica: The old Utica (now Central New York) Psychiatric Center.
• up to 700,000 square feet of new private-sector office space and R&D facilities, along with renovations to existing campus buildings for private-sector tenants
• a hotel with at least 110 rooms, a restaurant and banquet facility and up to 40,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The site would have room for an expansion adding up to 90 more rooms and up to a 50 percent increase in meeting space.
• 80 to 100 units of upscale townhouses and condominiums
• 20 acres to be sold to the University at Albany
• two locations for retail stores
At one time this campus was a major jobs center - - - and it anchored the entire West Utica neighborhood. However, following deinstitutionalization of many patients there, many jobs evaporated. In a mini-version of urban sprawl, large older buildings became abandoned while smaller buildings (with fewer jobs) were constructed on vacant parcels.
But the campus in general looks like a disaster. Buildings have broken windows or are boarded up. The multistory imposing Brigham Building sits vacant, deteriorating. And all this has had a direct impact on West Utica. The neighborhood now looks like the state campus. . . . deteriorating.
The city has sat idly by for 30 years while this went on. That has to change. And the state needs to clean up its act.
If the state can come up with a plan for mixing private facilities with the state facilities in Albany it can do the same here. The Brigham Building looks like it could be reused. . . . offices? nursing home? condos? Some of the other buildings have interesting architectural details and may be reusable as well. And there is a lot of vacant land.
Redevelopment of the Utica Psych campus could return jobs to the neighborhood and stabilize it.
But Utica must demand it.