UTICA, N.Y. -- Leaders announced a major step forward in the transformation of Utica's Harbor Point on Thursday.

The Utica Harbor Point Development Corporation now owns the first parcel of land necessary for the project. 

The 17-acre area was previously used by the Canal Corporation to deposit dredge from the canal.

Plans are to turn the area into residential and retail space.

"It's the first step which is the biggest step, right? We actually have been negotiating with the Canal Corp for the transfer for five or six years, but we never had the plan nor the financing to do it. And as soon as we did, without a blink of an eye they transferred it to us and we got started immediately," said Utica Harbor Point Development Corporation Chairman Vincent Gilroy.

A request for proposals for the land's development was released in May. Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on September 28, 2018.