The recent approval by the city’s Planning Board of the new downtown housing complex the Copper City Lofts as well as the planned complex on the Griffiss Business and Technology Park near the Stewart’s Shop have led to a common question in the city’s coffee shops — Who is going to live there?
The downtown lofts are planned to attract and encourage artists and the creative class to the city’s downtown — already seeing the beginning steps of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, of which, the new complex is just but a small part.
The Griffiss Park complex is designed to provide convenient and attractive housing options for the burgeoning business and technology hub — to provide housing for highly skilled workers moving into the area as well as housing for young professionals, many of whom already work on the base and have, what we upstaters (spoiled by free-flowing traffic even during peak commute times) might consider a long and inconvenient drive to and from home.
The city’s, county and regional planners as well as the complex developers themselves are well attuned to the research — that many young professionals prefer not to be tied down to traditional home ownership, preferring the aforementioned complexes and the freedom from lawn-mowing, snow-blowing and other such joys of home ownership.
The county’s announcement on Monday of its intent to join the Innovation Collective, a network of small and medium U.S. cities that offers programs and services designed to promote bootstrap entrepreneurship, is a welcome addition not just to the region’s potential economic landscape but also our future cultural landscape as well.
The county, along with such partners in this new venture such as Mohawk Valley Community College and the thINCubator, a co-working space in downtown Utica, understand that the initiative is all about creating, and taking advantage of, the region’s growing synergy — attracting and retaining not only well-paying jobs in emerging technologies, from quantum computing to unmanned aerial systems — but in providing the amenities and spaces for those who will fill these jobs and niches.
The Innovation Collective plans a series of public events such as story-telling nights, idea-sharing sessions, weekend-long mentoring summits and a technology festival that highlights the work that people within the community are focused on. We look forward to those events, as well as the mentoring sessions with representatives of Fortune 500 companies and creation of co-working spaces that are also planned.
Our hope is that these entrepreneurial efforts — as well as those seemingly complementary ones by housing developers — provide options and opportunities for future generations.