Oneonta hopes Dietz Street project will help downtown

Oneonta hopes Dietz Street
project will help downtown

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

After years of planning, as part of a downtown revitalization initiative, community leaders broke ground at the site of the Dietz Street loft project Friday April 30, in Oneonta, with the hope of revitalizing and bringing “greater vibrancy” to the city’s downtown.

From left, Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, Mayor Gary Herzig, Senator Pete Oberacker, Deputy director of Mohawk Valley Regional office Allison Novak, Regional Representative for Gov. Andrew Cuomo Samantha Madison and Upstate
East Director of Development Darren Scott, celebrate the official groundbreaking of
the Lofts on Dietz in Oneonta on Friday, April 30.

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich, Empire State Development Deputy Director Allison Nowack and other community and business leaders attended the ceremony and lifted ceremonial shovels for the groundbreaking.
These lofts, which began development in April, will bring more people to the downtown area, Herzig said.

The four story building would include artist lofts, 24 middle-income, two-bedroom apartments and units for people with disabilities.

In addition, the project will include Hartwick College’s Grain Innovation Center on the ground floor, which would fulfill a “long sought goal of having our colleges have an academic presence in our downtown,” Herzig told Iron String Press in a follow-up interview Monday, May 3.

The Grain Center would provide a laboratory, a research center and materials for growing artisan grains and whole grain flour.

The development was green lit by the Common Council in July 2019 by a 7-1 vote. The lot was sold to The Kearney Realty and Development Group. It was appropriated for $16 million. The production was put on hold in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The Kearney Realty and Development Group have also built artist lofts in Peekskill, Beacon and Poughkeepsie.

Ken Kearney said that Oneonta has a “tremendous untapped artist community.”

An article 78 lawsuit was filed by an Oneonta resident last year in an attempt to block the development from being built, saying that it obstructed their view and interfered with their walk to exercise at the YMCA. However, this lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, paving the way for the project to be built. Other potential issues brought up by the plaintiffs, such as parking, were considered by the court and found them to be “unavailing and without merit” and granted a waiver of any additional parking requirements.

2 thoughts on “Oneonta hopes Dietz Street project will help downtown

  1. M I

    “Hopes”, the word itself puts everything in doubt. There are hundreds of homes around downtown Oneonta, but the downtown is empty, and people from those homes and outside Oneonta, are visiting Southside. And how will it help downtown? Southside has no housing projects, but it is still thriving. Does Oneonta want people from the surrounding villages to move into Oneonta, or the organiser expect people from major cities to settle in Oneonta? What will downtown offer to people with disability? Bars, tattoos and antique shops? An all season(covered) farmers market would have been a better choice.

  2. F.L.

    The lofts are ridiculous. They will raise the cost of living in downtown because the lofts will be priced at NYC prices. They literally will begin the gentrification of Oneonta. (The lofts are also illegal btw) Next what will happen is rent will increase, then the price of everyday goods will increase as businesses will want to cater to this wealthier population. Finally property will be sold off because the value of the land will increase thus evicting tenants leading to buildings be remodeled and rented at way higher prices. Gentrification folks. It kills.

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