Utica software firm moves into former GE plant

Utica OD

UTICA — A local software company is joining the ranks of about 30 other small businesses housed in a Broad Street building that General Electric once called home.

Covey Computer Software is moving into 901 Broad St., a former textile mill that was leased by GE decades ago. The business specializes in providing software solutions to help manufacturers streamline certain processes and eliminate paperwork.

CoveyCS found a home inside the approximately 550,000-square-foot facility after spending more than two years on Genesee Street near the Utica Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. While 2520 Genesee St. is great for individual offices, it was not optimal for working in large teams, said CoveyCS Vice President Andrew “Doc” Docherty. Its former location is now up for sale.

″(The Broad Street building), being open, allows us to easily collaborate,” he said. “Because of the space available in the building, we’re able to make it as we want to see it for a reasonable amount of money. Any office, you can pretty much modify what you want to, but here, it’s cost-effective.”

CoveyCS has come a ways in the years since Jay Covey founded the business in 2011 in a spare bedroom in Herkimer.

The business employs around 18 people, including 15 full- and part-time developers, to service companies including Assured Information Security and Indium Corp. Its new space is approximately 2,500 square feet — roughly the same size as the former Genesee Street spot, Docherty said, but much more flexible and contiguous to their operations.

Having bounced around from a few locations since the business started, a selling point for CoveyCS to sign a three-year lease with the former GE plant is the potential to expand into an additional 1,400 square feet of space currently walled off within its third-floor unit.

“This is a huge feature just being able to expand when we want to move,” Docherty said. “It’s cool seeing the company grow. We’re really lucky to get to work with the people that we do on a day-to-day basis. We have a really good team. As long as we continue to attack problems as they come — with ‘just-in-time’ solutions — we should keep being able to grow.”

In the 1880s, the large Broad Street facility was built as a textile mill to manufacture sheets that became known to people around the world, said historian Frank Tomaino.

Tomaino said GE took over the building in the 1950s after the knitting mills left. Along with the Broad Street facility, GE occupied a plant the company built on French Road — now home to ConMed — and another facility at Bleecker Street and Culver Avenue. GE’s first Utica location was at the intersection of Bleecker and Kent streets in 1944.

The Broad Street property now is owned by local attorney Walter Pratt through a corporation called Broad Street Industrial Park Inc.

Giannine Malpezzi, property manager for the Broad Street facility, said Broad Street Industrial Park Inc. acquired the property in 2001. Many of the tenants occupying the building now are smaller businesses, ranging from a small company that sews gloves and businesses specialized in technology to light manufacturing and cold storage.

“We really can accommodate anyone and any type of business as long as it’s allowed there,” Malpezzi said.

For CoveyCS, founded by residents of the area, staying in Utica was important.

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us to grow our business and to also help companies that are here kind of get into a newer age and more efficient way of doing things,” said Business Development Manager Chris Mandry. ”… Having roots here is very important to us and being a go-to company when it comes to software in Utica.”

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