Roosevelt School as apartment complex? Utica mulls possibilities


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A giant eyesore in a Cornhill neighborhood of Utica could be in for a huge makeover.

On Wednesday, Murray Gould, a private developer showed City Urban Renewal officials his vision for the old Roosevelt Elementary School, a building that has been vacant for 20 years.

While it's largely secure, thanks to a tall wall that surrounds the building, it has become rundown and littered with graffiti and broken windows. But Gould sees something much different when he looks at the former school.

"The idea I'm going to present today is to give them two examples of similar schools that have been done in North Carolina, where I used to work, to show them how a building that looks so awful can be rehabilitated and put back on the tax rolls," Gould said.

Urban Renewal Agency Director Robert Sullivan said it could cost as much as $2 million to tear down the building, so rehabilitating it and putting it back on the tax rolls is attractive by comparison.

Developer Gould's plan is to turn the building into market-rate housing, targeting not only one specific demographic, such as retirees, but anyone who doesn't want the headaches of home ownership.

Gould said the plan is to use historic housing grants to fix up the building. He believes the configuration of former schools makes them ideal for multi-unit housing and that it would take roughly 18 months from the first turn of the shovel, to when the building would be ready for occupants.

First, the city has to hear his entire proposal and decide whether or not to enter the partnership.

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