Former Hotel Oneida to be renovated as apartments and renamed ‘The Oneida’

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former-hotel-oneida-to-be-renovated-as-apartments-and-renamed-‘the-oneida’
Former Hotel Oneida to be renovated as apartments and renamed ‘The Oneida’

ONEIDA, N.Y. — Oneida city officials and developers announced the Hotel Oneida will be renovated, ready for business, and renamed “The Oneida” by September 2024 at a press conference in city council chambers Tuesday afternoon.

The project will be paid for through New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and will cost an estimated $8.8 million to complete. When The Oneida opens it will contain outdoor dining for warm weather months, a Shaughnessy’s Pub restaurant and 19 apartments through the building’s upper three stories. Shaughnessy’s will employ 54 workers, 18 full-time, in its dining and catering business when it opens.

“This is very exciting news,” Mayor Helen Acker said. “I’m looking forward to what The Oneida will bring to the downtown area.”

Construction and renovation of The Oneida will be overseen by Edward Riley, a  licensed architect who serves as a Managing Member of Hotel Syracuse Restoration, LLC.

The Oneida’s concept design was completed in August 2022. Site plan approval and application process to Madison County will happen in February and the county Industrial Development Agency application and process will begin in April. “We are moving right along,” Riley said.

Construction is scheduled to start in June and be completed by August 2024. Restaurant hiring and apartment marketing will begin in July 2024. The opening of Shaughnessy’s Pub and apartment rentals are scheduled to begin in September 2024.

The project budget is $1.3 million in soft costs, $7 million in construction and $475,000 in fixtures, furnishings and equipment. Softs costs are indirect expenses that include architectural, engineering, financing, and legal fees, and other pre- and post-construction expenses.

“We are assuming the cost,” Riley said. “There are no risks to the city. We took on this project because of its great potential.”

The ground floor will have an outdoor dining terrace for warm-weather months and the ground floor will have a bar and public and private dining. The second floor will include six one-bedroom and one two-bedroom apartments. The third floor will contain five one-bedroom and one two-bedroom apartments. The fourth floor will have five one-bedroom and one two-bedroom apartments.

“We are marketing the apartments to young professionals in their twenties through their early forties and their families,” Riley said.

The project has been cleared by the State Historic Preservation Office.

“We have looked into any possible historic elements in the building, and because of the building’s disrepair there are none left,” Riley said.

During the press conference, one audience member asked where parking at The Oneida will be located. Acker said parking spaces will be available behind the Kallet Civic Center and Oneida Office Supply, among other places nearby.

“We’ve been walking to the hotel since it opened and we can manage it now,” Acker said.

Another audience member asked if The Oneida would bring in a larger criminal element to Oneida, and whether that would demand an increased police presence in the area.

“We live in a city, and we have a good cross-section of people who live here,” Acker said.

A third audience member asked about asbestos abatement. Robert Sullivan, the former Hotel Oneida owner who bought the building in 2009 and has sold the building to Oneida Redevelopment, LLC, said it would not be a problem.

“The majority of asbestos removal has already been completed,” he said.

Asbestos pollution occurs when construction materials like roofing, flooring, and insulation are broken down during demolition. During the demolition process, safeguards are in place to keep workers and passers-by safe.

Sullivan has overseen the maintenance of the building and kept it safe from water damage and any danger of asbestos since purchasing it. His stewardship has allowed the renovation into The Oneida.

City officials and business owners said they are anticipating good things when The Oneida opens.

“In ten years you won’t be able to recognize downtown Oneida…and I mean that in a good way,” Oneida City Supervisor Matthew Roberts said.

“This is fantastic news,” Bella Vita Cafe owner Lori Seef said. “It will bring more foot traffic to the downtown. That’s traffic and customers whose business we need to survive.”

The former Hotel Oneida is located at 181 Main St. on the corner of Main Street and Lenox Avenue. It was built in 1925 and opened in 1927. Visitors included former President John F. Kennedy. The hotel was converted to a restaurant and hotel in 1982 but had fallen into disrepair and was closed in 2009.

Oneida received $10 million credited towards downtown projects on Dec. 7 last year through the DRI. The city was one of the Central New York region winners of the fifth round. City officials had submitted 11 projects for state approval. The city will split the cost of the projects with money provided through the DRI.

The city received $2.9 million to renovate the vacant Hotel Oneida. Other projects include:

-Improving Downtown Infrastructure and Streetscaping – DRI Award: $1,521,000. Improve streetscape and pavement to portions of Main St., Broad St., Madison St., Farrier Ave. and Vanderbilt Ave., with bicycle infrastructure added to Sconondoa St.

-Restoring and Upgrading the Devereaux Building – DRI Award: $1,569,000. Restore and upgrade the Devereaux building into a mixed-use residential, retail and commercial redevelopment.

-Redeveloping the Lerman Building for Commercial and Residential Uses – DRI Award: $1,141,000. Redevelop an underused building to leverage all 20,000 square feet, including the creation of townhouse-style apartments and commercial spaces, and expand the existing Oneida CoWorks space to include new offices and a conference room.

-Developing a Downtown Business Assistance Fund – DRI Award: $600,000. Create a matching grant fund for façade improvements and interior improvements, including heavy equipment and permanent installations. The fund will be administered by Madison County.

-Establishing a Form-Based Zoning Overlay District – DRI Award: $100,000.Create a form-based code and overlay district for the DRI area to ensure that future development meets the aesthetic intent of the city.

-Upgrading Facilities at Veteran’s Memorial Park – DRI Award: $1,059,000. Install an ADA Splashpad and a Pickleball court on the Veteran’s Field campus and implement repairs and upgrades for the bathhouse facilities. Develop a new memorial area at Veteran’s Memorial Playfield to honor veterans from various armed forces.

-Developing Area Youth Soccer Organization Soccer Fields – DRI Award: $760,000. Build soccer fields and parking areas on former flood sites to encourage downtown area sports. FEMA has already approved of these uses being built on this site.

“Of all the ideas proposed for this money the Hotel Oneida was always the number one project mentioned in our polls,” Acker said.

A picture of a rendering of
A picture of a rendering of “The Oneida.” (ROGER SEIBERT – MEDIAEWS GROUP)