Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Housing in Utica . . .

Discussions continue to swirl around Utica City Hall over the Housing Visions proposals for developing new low income housing in Utica's Cornhill. New Hartford Online did a great review of last week's discussion by the City Council. Per its post, Councilman Bucciero estimated that the proposal would cost $500,000 to $600,000 per 2-family unit.


That's an awful lot of money for housing! To be fair, a portion of the high cost might be attributable to removal of old structures -- but it still seems high. Google our manufactured-home companies in the area and they seem to be able to construct homes for much, much less. Has anyone thought of using modular construction to bring new homes to center-city? (Check yesterday's post).  With a large-enough order, would it be possible to get modular designs that conform to each neighborhood's characteristics, to allow duplicates to be "plugged-in" where old houses have been demolished? And then re-ordered as replacements are needed?

WIBX reported yesterday that a new tax agreement had been reached with the development company. Perhaps I'm naive, but why are deals being negotiated with individual developers, as opposed to a generic deal that applies to all developers doing the same type of work? Does the City's willingness to negotiate individually attract more potential developers -- or does it drive them away?
Councilman Jim Zecca says he agrees with the redevelopment project because private developers don’t want to develope in the neighborhoods Housing Visions has proposed. 
This statement is interesting.

First, there is contrary evidence, namely the redevelopment of the Nolita on Oneida Square, only a block away from one of the proposed sites. That was private development . . . and the building looks extraordinary!

Second, if one believes the premise to be true, then isn't it important to find out WHY private developers don't want to develop in those neighborhoods and attack the causes?  Is there something wrong with the roads, sidewalks, streets and sewers that is keeping developers away?  . . . or is it the perception of a safety problem?  Broken pavement, sidewalks, poor lighting and a perceived crime problem would not attract investors. These are things that can and should be fixed.

And since I brought up the renovations at the Nolita, what affect does the proposed Housing Visions project have on it?  Does it make the Nolita more or less attractive for tenants?  Does it inspire more redevelopment by private enterprise -- or less?

Things to think about, no?


Dave said...

"...because private developers don’t want to develope in the neighborhoods Housing Visions has proposed."

I'll bet there are Taxpayers who want to know why they're expected to invest their money in neighborhoods that Private Developers are shunning.

Anonymous said...

The project is but one more example of out of control, brainless, upside down government. As Dave implies, sound housing does not create sound neighborhoods, it is the other way around. A neighborhhod and its characteristics must be stable as the foundation for investment both residential and commercial. We have not yet learned or accepted the fact that virtually all government sponsored housing has failed.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

If this is private development why is the City Council so involved?

Why is it a bad thing to knock down a building that has been vacant for 30 years and rebuild new housing?

What am I missing? Why is this even an issue?

Strike, help me out here?

Anonymous said...

Because people in Utica would rather look at a dump then a new building. And, if you're not bitching about something or other, then you're not from Utica. Of course, the city has been run by a band of thieves since day one, so most people don't trust anything the powers that be tell them.

Anonymous said...

Since when is using $8.3 million dollars of taxpayer monies a good investment?

This Not-for-Profit Group, so they say is charging way too much money to build a home, especially in the West Utica area. Why?

Who is fleecing whom?

Anonymous said...

Strike, one group (don't remember there name) used modular housing at the Washington School in west Utica, those houses look great. That was the last time I saw that building construction used. wonder why?

Strikeslip said...

Are those houses modular? You would never know it. They are beautiful!

My only criticism of the Washington school project is that the newer homes' styles and set-backs don't blend well with rest of the neighborhood where bungalows predominate.