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Mayoral Candidates weigh in on the future of the HSBC Building

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The HSBC building in downtown Utica is structurally sound, but the interior has been stripped by vandals. The buildings landlord, Ronald Prince, is looking to sell the building, which is now papered with notices.

Some residents feel the building should be torn down by the city, while others want the downtown landmark to stay put.

While the city does not currently own the property, it has started the foreclosure process and it is not up to code.

Democratic Candidate for Mayor Robert Palmieri says he's been aware of the issues the building faces since day one and he is calling to stop any take down plans.

"I think we halt any kind of demolition for this building, and we try to restore it," Palmieri said. "The owner of this building needs to be held accountable and be in compliance with the Codes Department. We need to market this building."

Palmieri says that he'd like to attract another bank to the location or make it home to the Utica School District down the road.

Meanwhile, Utica Comptroller Mike Cerminaro says he doesn't want to see the city own the building at all. Instead, if elected, he said he would work to try and find another private owner to revitalize the building, using Streetscape money or other avenues, so that the city does not become the property's owner.

However, if the city is ultimately faced with ownership, Cerminaro says, "If the city does have to inherit that building, then I don't want to see that building torn down. Right now, we want to see if we can market it as a building that can be used as an anchor downtown to facilitate growth around there."

The Republican endorsed Candidate for Mayor, Robert Cardillo sent NewsChannel 2 a written statement saying, "This is a landmark building that, if eliminated, would dramatically change the look of our city. I think we have to exhaust every possible option before we remove any more character from downtown. I liken it to the old First National building on Genesee street. If we had demolished that building, Adirondack Bank wouldn't be there today."

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