Tough negotiations, eminent domain, likely ahead for hospital parking garage

MVHS has acquired and begun demolishing all of the properties in the downtown Utica hospital building footprint. Oneida County still must attempt to negotiate offers with four holdouts in the parking garage footprint, after negotiations between the holdouts and MVHS broke down months ago.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 6:12 PM

MVHS has acquired and begun demolishing all of the properties in the downtown Utica hospital building footprint. Oneida County still must attempt to negotiate offers with four holdouts in the parking garage footprint, after negotiations between the holdouts and MVHS broke down months ago. County Executive, Anthony Picente, is realistic about the likely outcome.

"You have to assume the ones that have dug in their heels, that they're probably going to dig in their heels with us as well," says Picente.

The County Executive says the county must start the appraisal process from scratch, and can't rely on any figures from MVHS appraisals of the four properties. He expects the appraisal process to begin after the first of the year. The four holdouts are: the owner of the empty lot near the former "Your Store", the owner of the property where Enterprise Rent-A-Car sits, No Hospital Downtown co-founder, Brett Truett, who owns a building in the garage footprint, and the owner of Citation Services, Joe Cerini, who has not been persuaded by the sights and sounds of bulldozers outside his business.

"What's the right price? You know? Twenty years of my life? Fixing up this building to work for me?" asked Cerini, who says he will remain "til they come to the door and pull me out the door."

Cerini has left parting gifts on heavy equipment that's come on property.

"I took my 'no hospital' magnets and put them on the back of their bulldozers." 

If negotiations between the county and garage property owners break down, the county will have to commence eminent domain proceedings.

"We would probably for that situation, seek outside counsel and expertise in eminent domain while our county attorneys would obviously be engaged and be a part of it," says Picente.

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