Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Council haggles over fate of HSBC building.
The city’s leading economic development official told Common Council members Wednesday he’d like to see the city purchase the downtown former HSBC building for $350,000, for the purpose of demolishing it and turning it into a city-owned parking lot.  
 Randy Soggs, Urban and Economic Development commissioner, said the money for the purchase and demolition, an estimated total of roughly $700,000, would come from state money allocated for downtown parking.
The city needs to use every legal means possible to force the owner of the HSBC building to bring the building into compliance with codes and to recoup all costs related to having to deal with the nuisance on the property.

The city's proposal to pay the owner $100,000 more than the owner paid for the building has a distinct odor. The idea that someone would be permitted to benefit from neglect at taxpayer expense is simply outrageous. It will only encourage more of the same.

First it's proposing a housing development next to the proposed up ramp on the N-S Arterial.  Now this!

The proposals demonstrate that a successful businessman can be totally clueless when it comes to setting public policy and planning.

This guy has got to go!
Common Councilman James Zecca, D-2, has proposed legislation, currently in committee, that would halt demolition of all commercial buildings until the master plan passed.  

This is another crock of baloney. While I'll agree that demolition of this building should be stopped, there is NOTHING in the draft Master Plan that addresses this situation.

Rather, this debacle will be used to justify appointing a bunch of insiders to update the zoning ordinance and city code (because that is what the plan calls for). Undoubtedly the insiders will rewrite things to benefit themselves. The Master Plan RFP called for professional consultants to do a written technical review of the zoning ordinance and city code and to draft revisions for same, but it was never done. Instead the taxpayers received $325,000+ window dressing.


Anonymous said...

Strike -- it's FAR worse than that -- the city appears to have SANCTIONED the destruction of this building so that the ONLY alternative is to buy it and demo it for parking!!!! This is NOT economic development -- it is a TRAVESTY! "Can't sell the building? We'll take it off your hands! Oh, you want to recoup more money? Strip it and sell the scrap! Oh, and for goo measure, let's deliberately plug the roof drains so that they fail and make the interiorlook far worse that it really is.........."

Anonymous said...

Soggs isnt saying they should buy the building the other options will take years to accomplish! Plus if they push this guy to hard he could play games right back what would that building look like if he started striping the marble off of it? If he even made the smallest step in correcting any codes violations it would just slow the proccess

Anonymous said...

The owner didn't loot the building his contractor did (the police are investigating and the contractor is hiding). The offer to purchace was withdrawn over a month ago and the building is being worked on as we speek. Nobody is trying to demolish the building anymore.

520 Seneca (HSBC building) is private property and no longer for sale to the city of Utica; which means it's none of your business. I don't know what your agenda is, but it's clearly not truth in journalism.