Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente has unveiled a visual concept for his plan to develop an Arts, Sports and Entertainment District around the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The "U" District would include an American Craft Beer Museum, the Utica Commons Casino and an expanded Auditorium.

Picente calls it a "bold vision" that is do-able.  He says the project would build upon the recent success of the Auditorium and transform its surrounding area into a thriving arts, sports and entertainment district that will create jobs and spur economic development.

Picente says the Oneida Indian Nation is prepared to invest $50 million in the casino project.

The "U" District would include the following features:

An Expanded Utica Memorial Auditorium

  • Luxury suites, exclusive loge seating, women's bathrooms, restaurant and office space, along with upgrades and renovations


  • The Aud's Sports Epicenter for recreation and tournament-based play
  • Year-round multifaceted sporting opportunities
  • 350,000 projected annual visitors

The American Craft Beer Museum and Innovation Center

  • 500,000 projected annual visitors
  • 100 full-time jobs and 75 seasonal positions

The Utica Commons Casino

  • $50 million investment by the Oneida Nation
  • 750,000 projected annual visitors
  • 200 full and part-time jobs

“As we near the end of phase one, the AUD continues to be the catalyst for ‘The U District,’ a vision that has been in the works for five years," said Mohawk Valley Garden President Robert Esche. "’The U District’ will greatly enhance tourism, in turn sparking a prevalent rise in economic development. These concepts hold true to be very exciting for not only Utica but the region as a whole, as we narrow our vision to create a sports, arts and entertainment hub unheard of in like markets."

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri issued the following statement on Picente's proposal:

“While I have not had a chance to thoroughly review the County Executive’s proposal, I look forward to taking a more in depth assessment of the site plan and will be happy to discuss further at that time.”



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