UTICA, N.Y. — Liberty Affordable Housing Inc. of Rome plans to begin work this spring to redevelop the Olbiston Apartments building at 1431 Genesee St. in Utica.
The company expects the project to take about 24 months but also noted that “immediate work” to secure the roof will take place “in the near future,” per a City of Utica news release.
In mid-2021, the city posted and shut down the Olbiston Apartments due to “gross negligence” of the property owner, per a City of Utica news release. The city’s decision stemmed from the owner’s refusal to address “several” code violations, despite the fact the city said it granted “every opportunity to comply.” The building’s condition became “deplorable and uninhabitable” for the tenants who resided in the building.
Utica then partnered with Oneida County and over a dozen organizations to relocate Olbiston tenants.
Over the past several months, Utica officials worked with Liberty to figure out ways of potentially restoring the building. Liberty on Dec. 22 purchased the Olbiston and plans to invest about $55 million to redevelop the building. The project will reestablish 153 affordable housing units.
“As a local company, and not-for-profit housing developer, the Olbiston Apartments has special meaning for us and our mission to preserve affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods and communities through our efforts,” Randy Denton, executive director of Liberty Affordable Housing, said.
The City of Utica has allocated $3 million from Utica Prosperity Initiative to support Liberty’s project. The $3 million comes from the Utica’s allotment of money from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA.
The office of Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri noted that the preservation and redevelopment of the Olbiston Apartments, along with increasing affordable housing in the city, is a “top administration priority.”