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Nexus Center set to open next week

Alexis Manore
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 11/5/22

With gameplay beginning Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Nexus Center is set to open in time for the first game.  

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Nexus Center set to open next week

Posted

UTICA — With gameplay beginning Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Nexus Center is set to open in time for the first game.  

The inaugural game, which is between the NCDC Utica Jr. Comets and the Mercer Chiefs, will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 9. The first tournament will take place from Nov. 11 to 13, and is for youth hockey teams. 

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said the amenities needed for tournaments and games will be ready in time, but the entire facily make take until early December to be fully finished.  

“That won’t hamper or impact the tournaments, or cause any problems for those tournaments or games,” Picente said. “While there’s still work to be done on the third floor, and some of the other areas, and finishing touches on concessions and things like that, it’ll be ready to kick off.”  

He said there will be a grand opening for the complex in December. 

Rob Esche’s Mohawk Valley Garden, the group that oversees the Adirondack Bank Center, the Utica Comets and other properties, took control of the complex on Friday, Nov. 4.  

“We’ve been building this, obviously we got sidetracked with the pandemic, but we’re on a great course,” Picente said. “Mohawk Valley Garden has done wonders for the Adirondack Bank Center and I have the same level of excitement and confidence that they’re going to make Nexus into what we believe it’s going to be and what it can be for years to come.”   

The 170,000 square-foot building is located at 400 Oriskany St. West, east of the Adirondack Bank Auditorium. It’s projected to bring in $26 million to $32 million annually for the local economy. 

Along with hockey, the center will host soccer, public skating, rugby, baseball, softball and other programs like the Northeast Tattoo Expo, which is scheduled to occur June 2–4, 2023.

With scheduled tournaments set to host up to 60 teams, there will be a great need for parking areas. 

Picente said that part of the final touches to be completed is the paving of the parking lot, which will accommodate about 800 vehicles. He said the parking lot adjacent to the Adirondack Bank Center will also be available. 

The Wynn Hospital Parking Garage will have 280 public parking spots available for Nexus Center patrons, but construction on the garage began in September and it is not expected to open until March 2024.  

“I’m confident that once we finish up the Whitesboro Street side, there will be adequate parking for those tournaments, as well as for Comet games and Utica University hockey as well,” Picente said. 

As one of the anchor points of the U-District, the Nexus Center’s completion is an important step in the revitalization of the area, Picente said. He said the county is looking at what the area needs — like hotels, retail space, restaurants, outdoor sports areas and more — and is speaking with developers about what can be done. 

Picente expressed interest in expanding the U-District to Union Station because of its status as a travel hub. 

“One step at a time, but once Nexus is completed, I think we can have a better game plan of what’s next,” Picente said.

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