Oneida County undertook a bold, potentially risky move Wednesday, to restart the stalled Nexus project, in downtown Utica. The vote, by the County Board of Legislators, was unanimous.
"We agreed today, or, in that agreement, is that when they go to bond, they have the backing of this government in order to stand by those bonds, which improves their ability to get the bonding, to get the borrowing in place and to get a very good interest rate," says County Executive, Anthony Picente.
By essentially cosigning for roughly $30 million in bonding, the county is on the hook, should the Auditorium Authority default.
"I'm very concerned and that's why we still have negotiations to do in terms of what the county's piece is gonna be and what the aud's piece is gonna be and what Nexus is gonna generate," says Picente.
Work on the sports complex stopped in May of 2020, when Covid budget hardships kept the county from fronting the money for the project. Then, in September, the contractor sued the county and the Aud. Authority for $10 million. Hueber Breuer would have to stop their lawsuit in order for the project to restart. County Executive Picente says they've indicated that they would. While cosigning for any kind of loan is never without risk, no one makes money while the lot sits with a half-finished structure on it.
"Our hope is that this first step triggers the restart of the project as well as the bonding piece that has to take place," says Picente.
The project has lost more than a year of construction, shifting the projected completion date from late 2020, to June, 2022.