Several Utica officials were on hand today assisting United Auto Supply break ground on their new distribution center and store.

Chief Executive Officer James Ranalli says he plans to build a 21,000 square foot center on the former Bossert site, and will close his former business in New Hartford. Those working at the current store will be moved to the new location, and others will be hired to fill other jobs.

"All of our stores, wherever we put them, we always hire the employees right there local," "Back in Syracuse, it's kind of funny, we have a lot of people - we probably have 50 people that walk to work at our Syracuse facility. I would imagine it'd be the same here, we'll hire right close by."

Ranalli noted that those jobs will be moved to the new Utica center. He also said the decision to come to the city and build on the Bossert site was easy.

"We like the... easy on and off, it's a good site for us," Ranalli said. "The highways are right here, we can get on and off easy. And I'll be honest with you; it was easy to work with the mayor. It was easy to work with your codes people. Everybody's really welcomed us well."

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

The nearly seven-acre property at the corner of Oswego Street and the North-South Arterial was placed on the state's Superfund List in 1986, but was taken off that list in 2008 after more than $10 million was spent cleaning up the property.

The City of Utica had been in control of the property since 1997, but entered into a land contract with Ranalli in February 2012.

Mayor Robert Palmieri says this is the latest in a series of announcements that are bringing new life into Utica.

"I think in the last maybe year or year and a half, we've probably had more economic development in the City of Utica than we've had in ten years," Palmieri said. "We're working very hard, we have a great product to sell and we're selling it."

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Palmieri cited the recent successes the city has also seen in terms of other business and economic drivers coming into the community.

"This is an opportunity, and when you at things along these lines, these are opportunities," Palmieri said. "There are businesses out there. they're not going to come to your doorstep, you have to go to them, and you have to tell them why this makes sense."

Ranalli says once construction begins, it will take roughly four months to be completed.