In the downtown Utica hospital footprint, contractors stand on top of buildings that will soon come down. So far, the city has granted MVHS nine demolition permits, with 16 still to be granted. The neighborhood is eerily empty, except for one building; the former RCIL building, which is now headquarters for hospital contractors and others involved with its construction. In less than three weeks, on December 12th, a major milestone for the hospital: groundbreaking.
"That's the last date that we could do a groundbreaking before the site would be unavailable for us to get on. But as you know, we started removal of buildings that will continue right up to groundbreaking and afterwards," says MVHS COO, Bob Scholefield.
MVHS owns all of the properties in the downtown hospital footprint. But there are still four owners, in the garage footprint, who refuse to sell.
"We have not engaged with them for quite a few months," says Scholefield.
Up next-Oneida County's turn. If that fails, eminent domain must be used to take the properties. The County Executive's Office says the county has not yet begun negotiating with those property owners.
Scholefield says nothing in the hospital plans has changed, regarding size, number of beds and other features, and that the planned completion date is still February 2023.