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Opinion

March 16, 2013

Development will spell ruin for Oneonta

Our city planners are rolling the dice with the economic future of Oneonta. Newman Development Group LLC is poised to build a private student housing complex near SUCO. With numerous landlords reporting vacancies at a 10-year high, and around 80 unoccupied houses, Oneonta has no need for a three-story 325-bed student complex. 

Newman would not spend its profits in Oneonta, like local landlords do, but it would divert millions of dollars in revenue away from Oneonta. The multiplier effect of local business changes that to a number four or five times that size. As if that weren’t bad enough, it would expect a huge reduction in property taxes. Further economic damage would be done by increasing vacancies in the downtown area, and this would devastate downtown businesses. Property values near Blodgett Drive and throughout Oneonta would be hurt seriously. 

A huge source of employment and business revenue, local landlords employ local people to do remodeling, cleaning, maintenance, etc., and keep the money in Oneonta. Local landlords are the ones who have bought rundown properties and fixed them up and made them productive. With the Newman project about to create an additional surplus in housing, it is unlikely that investors will purchase the vacant houses that already exist. Ask a real estate agent if the housing crisis is over. And ask what a 325-bed complex would do to the values of Oneonta real estate. The Newman project would only create more foreclosures and vacancies. 

Let’s not gamble with Oneonta’s economic future. Speak up or the planners will go ahead with this project.

Brian O’Connor

Oneonta

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