I consider it one of my favorite neighborhoods in Utica, the historic Bagg's Square.  Just north of downtown and straddling either side of Genesee Street, Bagg's Square holds a great deal of the city's past, and perhaps, much of its future as well.

The new businesses and housing developments in Bagg's Square near Union Station are well documented.  Today, the O-D takes a look at redevelopment in Bagg's Square West located on the opposite side of Genesee Street from the train station.

It hasn’t been easy in Bagg’s Square West – which also currently hosts a subsidized apartment building, a strip club and a rent-to-own store.

But city officials say they’re excited about the progress, and are seeking to develop a streetscape plan to cover everything from sidewalks and lighting to parking and better access to the buildings.

“This is a lot of private entrepreneurship taking charge to make things happen,” city Senior Planner Dana Crisino said. “It’s an area that can really explode in the future and hopefully become a new hot spot in the city.”

That’s good news to Frank Elias, owner of Utica Coffee Roasting Co., a retail and wholesale coffee business he has run out of 92 Genesee St. for more than five years.

Elias just recently started regularly opening up the store to retail customers again – and says he can see expanding those hours as the new projects come online.

“I see these storefronts being an attractive welcome to the city,” he said. “I see them being complementary to the image that Utica has in regards to independent businesses and restaurants.”

It's one of the gateways to our city and I fully support any redevelopment efforts, it's great to see.

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