Updated 12/13/2012 05:57 PM
New tenant for Harza Building
Utica College is planning a big expansion, moving some of their offices to downtown Utica. That move is just across town, but as our Andrew Sorensen tells us, college officials hope the move will take their campus and the city much farther than that.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- Tom Clark, the new owner of the old Harza building, has completely flipped a long-time eyesore.
"I knew over time, I could do something with it. And it's just happened a little sooner rather than later," he said.
He's installed new air conditioning, a new roof and new tenants.
Utica College announced Thursday they'll be taking up residence on floors four and five and they have big plans for this building.
"We are putting in this building all the operations that support online learning," Utica College President Todd Hutton said.
They're bringing in their 11 online programs, support staff and then some for at least the next ten years.
"We expect to grow more than 30 new jobs in this facility by itself and we expect to add in the neighborhood of about 3,000 students," said Hutton.
They're hoping to get there with some cutting edge new programs.
"Now we're working on a bachelor's degree in homeland security and emergency preparedness, that's underway. We will be developing a new concentration in cyber security, it'll be called, 'cyber security, cyber operations,'" said Hutton.
All this is supposed to take a few years to build up, but there is a roadblock.
Limited parking was one of the reasons these spaces were so hard to rent in the first place. Now people involved in the project say if that doesn't change soon, they could have trouble expanding as much as they want to.
"Take this to the bank, there will be enough parking downtown within a short period of time," Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri assured.
Palmieri says he hopes to resolve that soon with the county or his Genesee Street Boulevard Project. But beyond any downside, the college, the mayor and even the building's owner all hope this move sends the same message.
"It's another very positive move for downtown Utica and success breeds success," said Clark.
And if that's true, the college hopes they can bring in as many as 50 jobs as they take up other floors.