Property acquisition process starts for new downtown Utica hospital

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The property acquisition process for the new downtown Utica hospital is moving ahead, according to an announcement by local officials involved with the project.

Mohawk Valley Health System has hired the Bond, Schoeneck & King law firm to send option agreements to property owners whose appraisals have been completed and approved by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

Property owners were previously notified that MVHS was working with the state agency regarding the appraisals and anticipated that it planned to proceed with property offers by the end of the year, according to the announcement.

The final offer for the purchase of the properties is contingent upon MVHS receiving approval of its certificate of need for the new hospital, officials added. The application for approval of the certificate of need for the new hospital was submitted to the state Department of Health last month, the announcement said.

The Dormitory Authority is the governmental agency that will bond for the $300 million state grant for the project and it required a review and approval of the appraisals before beginning the purchase process.

Still to be handled are properties in the new hospital’s identified footprint whose owners did not agree to having appraisals carried out, the announcement said.

While many in Utica are on board with the construction of the new downtown hospital campus, several residents and business owners in the area and the greater Utica community are not in agreement with the location of the new facility.

The site plans shows the medical complex along Lafayette, Columbia, Cornelia and State streets. Also anticipated are a parking grade and five surface parking lots.

Certificate-of-need approval is one of several milestones MVHS needs to complete. The organization is also making plans for the State Environmental Quality Review, which is expected to begin in January. It could take O’Brien & Gere up to nine months to complete the review, officials said.

“As I have said many times, this is a very complex process and each milestone is important,” said MVHS CEO Scott H. Perra.

Opponents and proponents of the proposed medical complex turned out Thursday for community forums in Utica to discuss the project.

A 2019 groundbreaking is projected.

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