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Offer on the table for HSBC Building in Utica

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Less than a week after the announcement of professional hockey back to Utica, more exuberance could be seen by city officials regarding a potential buyer for the long vacant HSBC building not far away from the AUD, on Seneca Street.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri made the announcement in front of the HSBC building Thursday afternoon.

Palmieri introduced the potential new buyers, Pezzolanella Construction of Utica.

The family owned business recently renovated an old mill on Broad Street and put businesses on the first level and loft apartments above it.

Francis Pezzolanella announced during the press conference the family plans to put business space on the first level, loft apartments above it and have a rooftop bar overlooking the city. He said, "It'll be nothing like the city has seen before."

The offer for the building is only $1,000, but the Pezzolanella's say they will put millions of dollars in renovations into it.

Palmieri mentioned during the press conference that shortly after he took office in January of 2012, a call of shots fired at the HSBC building came in and that gave city officials a look at what was inside.

The mayor said, "There were children, there was feces on the floor, it was a little bit of an eye opener."

It was back in October of 2009, when a Los Angeles accountant named Ron Prince purchased the property in a foreclosure proceeding.

Palmieri says he believes relatives of Prince were living inside, and in April of this year the city went to the Supreme Court to get Prince to make some repairs to bring the building up to codes or have it torn down. He said, "They had a 90 day window, that 90 day window was to repair or demolish."

That Supreme Court order came and went and the city took possession of the building on June 11th.

And now, nine days later, the announcement regarding the potential sale.

The press conference was well attended.

AMong those in attendance, Rob Esche and Frank DuRoss, President and Vice President of Mohawk Valley Garden, Inc., the duo that helped lure the Vancouver Canucks to locate their AHL team to Utica.

They made their announcement last Friday, and now six days later, this announcement. Esche says the good vibe in the city is growing. He said, "They're just investing into the community..there's no other way to put it, they're investing into the community."

The potential sale to Pezzolanella Construction must go through Urban Renewal and then through the Utica Common Council.

Palmieri hopes a deal can be signed by early August.

Francis Pezzolanella says renovations could begin son after a deal is signed, but construction on the building could take anywhere from two to three years.

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