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Ellicott Station

April 20, 2017 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, Ellicott Station, news, corfu, pembroke, Yancy's Fancy.

Members of the County Legislature expressed support yesterday for two projects that will need some financial backing to move forward.

Mark Masse, VP of operations for Genesee County Economic Development Center, presented the projects to the Ways and Means Committee. There was no formal vote, just a sense of the committee that he should come back at a later date with formal resolutions for the Legislature to vote on.

The first proposal is loan/grant support for Ellicott Station, the proposed brewery, tap room and beer garden at the former Della Penna building on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

GCEDC is proposing using the local development corporation's revolving loan program to provide $210,000 in assistance. Half of the funds would be a term loan, the other half would be a loan that would become a grant if specified project criteria are met.

The money originates from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The brewery and tap room -- a $700,000 project overall -- is the anchor tenant of the $15 million Ellicott Station renovation, and is anticipated to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs, with 75 percent of the jobs going to low- to moderate-income people.

In the past, similar programs have assisted Yancey's Fancy, O-AT-KA, and P.W. Minor.

While the Legislature must approve the loan/grant, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. would administer the loan and monitor it for compliance.

The CDBG criteria require two public hearings, one before approval to consider whether other projects might be more worthy of the funds, and one during the project to take testimony on whether there are any violations of the program requirements.

The other project moving forward is an expansion of the sewer plant in Corfu. Right now it's processing 135,000 gallons of sewage per day, which is the plant's capacity.

The two travel plazas off the Thruway on Route 77 want to start using the facility and, more importantly, Yancey's Fancy, with production facilities on Main Road and a new one just down the street, wants to expand capacity. 

GCEDC has already approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for the expansion, but the lack of capacity at the Corfu plant is holding up the project.

The expansion would consist of adding two processing units capable of handling 75,000 gallons per day (the twin units are needed so use can be rotated for cleaning and maintenance) at a cost of $2.7 million.

The county and school district would be asked to give up some tax revenue (for the county, about $272,000 over 11 years) to help fund the project. The Town of Pembroke currently has a zero-rate property tax, so its share of funding would only kick in if it passed a property tax over the next 11 years.

The travel plazas would pay about $1 million in hook-up fees, the GGLDC has already committed $100,000 to design and engineering plus another $40,000 a year over 11 years, and the balance of about $500,000 would be covered by grants.

The expansion would create 15 new jobs, Masse said.

Legislator Mike Davis, who works in the dairy industry, pointed out how important this project is. Yancey's Fancy's parent company is based in Pennsylvania and has already looked at expanding in that state. The plan here is to expand the original production facility on Main Road by 6,000 square feet and increase production of natural cheese.

The other Pembroke facility is used for processing cheese.

Dairy farmers are finding there is a local shortage of milk processing facilities, so the expansion will help local dairy farmers, Davis said. 

"I would say this is important to us all the way around," Davis said.

December 13, 2016 - 8:48am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Station, Batavia Development Corp., freshLAB.
  • The startup and/or expansion of seven Batavia-based businesses that capitalized on microenterprise grants;
  • The imminent transformation of the former J.J. Newberry building on Main Street into a brewing company and “freshLAB” restaurant;
  • And, of course, the $17 million renovation and redevelopment of the former Santy’s Tire Shop and Soccio & Della Penna Construction site on Ellicott Street into a retail/commercial/residential complex.

These projects, along with a handful of other grant-aided ventures, signal a continuing, successful effort by the Batavia Development Corp. to revitalize the city’s downtown and broaden the tax base throughout the municipality, said the president of the organization’s board of directors.

Speaking Monday night at the City Council meeting, Ray Chaya, a BDC board member for nine years who is “terming out” next month, said Batavia’s positive, can-do message has resonated with regional and state economic development agencies. As a result, grants have been awarded to initiatives to the tune of more than $2 million.

“We’ve come to be a community of believers,” Chaya said, noting that the passing of resolutions by government boards, phone calls from local leaders to regional executives and media coverage were key factors in last week’s awarding of the $1.9 million Consolidated Funding Application grant by the Finger Lakes Regional Development Council for the Ellicott Station project.

He added that the BDC also expects to receive a $500,000 Restore NY grant for environmental remediation of the Santy’s/Della Penna site, and the developer, Savarino Cos. of Buffalo, is in line to receive federal new market tax credits “to help close the gap” and make the project worthwhile.

City Manager Jason Molino said the BDC is looking into “multiple funding sources to offset the cost,” including Brownfield cleanup tax credits and the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity fund – a partnership of the City of Batavia, Genesee County, Batavia City School District and Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“The Pathways to Prosperity addresses the anti-poverty issue and is a feather in the cap,” Molino said. “The way we were able to transfer the property as an LLC to the BDC and then to the developer is the first of its kind on several different levels … and that’s what has drawn attention to it.”

Chaya named seven businesses that participated in the BDC’s microenterprise grant program, which empowered the agency to piecemeal the distribution of $200,000 to qualifying entrepreneurs who participated in the program.

Those businesses are Hidden Door, Batavia Brewing Co., Gams Sweet & Savory, Teddy Bear Day Care, T-Shirts Etc., Amy’s Fluffy Friends and Trash Away. All of the businesses’ expenditures are closely monitored by the BDC and the state’s Office of Community Renewal, with milestones and metrics having to be met per grant regulations.

The Batavia Brewery Co./freshLAB project also has been boosted by several performance-based grants, Chaya said, namely a $500,000 Main Street anchor grant, $60,785 from the United States Department of Agriculture and a $100,000 National Grid Revitalization grant.

Additional tax credits could come if the building – which also will house market-rate apartments on the upper floors -- is put onto the National Register of Historic Place as sought by owners Matthew Gray and Matt Boyd.  

Chaya said that bidding on construction is taking place through Jan. 6 and work is expected to begin in late winter. The overall cost of this project is estimated at $1.5 million.

The city also received two other FLREDC grants -- $25,000 for the Downtown Batavia Healthy Living Campus’ feasibility study and $12,500 to the Batavia Business Improvement District for a Downtown Batavia Public Market Study.

Chaya also reported that an Empire State Development grant in the amount of $15,000 is being used to develop a plan for the Harvester Park subdivision.

December 8, 2016 - 4:45pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Station, Batavia Develoment Corp..

The Batavia Development Corp. and Buffalo developer Samuel Savarino received the news they have been waiting for today when the Finger Lakes Regional Development Council announced the release of $1.9 million in funding for the Ellicott Station project on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

“This is fantastic for Ellicott Station, phenomenal for the City of Batavia, but what is really great is that the governor (Andrew Cuomo) and the regional leaders believe that we can transform Batavia, and they’re ready to help us do that,” said Julie Pacatte, BDC coordinator.

The $1.9 million Consolidated Funding Application grant is the second-largest award of this round of funding in the Finger Lakes Region – surpassed only by the $2 million awarded to the Sibley’s project in Rochester.

Gov. Cuomo announced that more than $700 million in economic and community development funding was awarded today to the state’s 10 regional councils through Round VI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

In the press release from the governor’s office, he said that “through the Regional Economic Development Councils, we have replaced the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to economic growth with a ‘ground-up’ strategy that focuses on cooperation and investing in regional assets to generate opportunity.

“By bringing together ideas from local government and community leaders with state resources, we are giving these councils the tools to create jobs and drive economic activity in their communities for generations to come.”

Rachael Tabelski, marketing director for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, applauded the news, adding that the support of FLREDC Co-Chairs Anne Kress and Danny Wegman gives the city a strategic edge.

“It’s a major, major project for downtown Batavia that is going to transform everything, and the backing of the regional co-chairs ensures that this project will happen, and happen on its full scale,” she said.

Other project awards coming to Genesee County include:

-- $150,000 to Sysco (Western NY Depot) to clear land and build a facility to house delivery management for distribution services;
-- $96,000 to Genesee County Chamber of Commerce (Haunted History Trail of NYS, 2017 initiatives) to conduct a conversion/economic impact study for the haunted history trail, the first and only statewide paranormal tourism trail in the United States;
-- $47,500 to Genesee County (Genesee County Housing Needs Assessment) to complete a housing needs study;
-- $50,000 to City of Batavia to complete a stormwater capital plan;
-- $25,000 to the City of Batavia (Downtown Batavia Healthy Living Campus) for a feasibility study for a comprehensive, multipurpose health campus downtown;
-- $12,500 to the Batavia Business Improvement District (Downtown Batavia Public Market Study) for an assessment and conceptual market master plan for sites in downtown Batavia.

Pacatte noted that the Healthy Living and Public Market grants are for areas within the Batavia Opportunity Area that her agency has been focusing on for redevelopment.

“Both initiatives are BOA-centric, and will improve the core – the civic center – of our county,” she said.

As far as Ellicott Station is concerned, three weeks ago Savarino provided an update to City Council, and specifically mentioned that the CFA grant that came through today along with a $500,000 Restore NY grant and new market tax credits were essential to making the project work.

Savarino’s plan is to convert the former Santy's Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna Construction sites a mixed-use, commercial/retail/residential complex.

The project is expected to cost around $17 million. 

November 14, 2016 - 8:48pm

savarino_1.jpg

Speaking from decades of experience in property redevelopment, Samuel Savarino, chief executive officer of Savarino Cos. of Buffalo, acknowledged the challenges involved in converting the former Santy's Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna Construction sites on Ellicott Street in the city into a successful commercial venture.

But he also said he is encouraged by the "great public support" locally and is hopeful that New York State comes through with the necessary grant funding to make Ellicott Station a reality.

Savarino, whose company was selected by the Batavia Development Corp. in the spring to revitalize the rundown, three-acre parcel in the city's Brownfield Opportunity Area, joined Julie Pacatte, BDC coordinator, and BDC Board members Ray Chaya and Mary Valle at Monday night's City Council meeting to update the governing body on the project's progress.

"We've been refining our plan, and after finding that one of the buildings on the site is unsafe, it will be demolished and is no longer part of our plans," said Savarino, who has spearheaded award-winning projects along Buffalo's waterfront.

However, he said, the main building on the Della Penna lot (phase 1 of the project) features "some unusual characteristics that will work well ... and will become the signature part of the development. Driving down Ellicott Street, you can't help but notice it."

Specifically, he said the Della Penna building that once was a transformer repair facility has room upstairs for a party area that looks out over the production floor.  He said he is "pleasantly surprised" that the building's shape, along with concrete beams and columns, will lend itself to a unique look and feel when completed.

Savarino said his company has been working with engineers and consultants in preparation of possible construction next spring. Plans are contingent on the awarding of an Empire State Development grant -- what Savarino called a "substantial contribution to close the gap" -- for the project, which is expected to cost around $17 million. He and Pacatte said they hope to hear from the ESD in December.

The developer also said that he has applied for new market tax credits to lessen the state's commitment to the project, noting that the fact that the site is in a highly distressed census tract and that Batavia is a rural community work in the project's favor.

He said the project likely will proceed in two phases.

"Della Penna is the first phase; Santy's is the second site," he said, adding that the building there also will come down. "That's the site that the city acquired through foreclosure after we were selected in the RFP process."

Savarino said the plan hasn't changed much from his original vision.

"We're still roughly consistent of what we originally proposed. We're using the existing building as a production brewery and restaurant. We've had some in-depth conversations with two established brewers, both of whom have a strong interest in the site -- I don't think that's an issue.

"We've talked to several commercial tenants for the space -- the two floors of commercial space that we have in both of the buildings. But the first phase would have 16 apartments and the second phase would have 16 apartments, for a total of 32. Commercial space on the first floor could be retail or it could just be commercial office. We've had an awful lot of interest from commercial office users and one bank in particular."

Samuel Savarino talks about the Ellicott Station project at Monday night's City Council meeting. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

October 18, 2016 - 7:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ellicott Station, Ellicott Street, news.

When it comes to redeveloping the Santy and Della Penna properties on Ellicott Street in Batavia, local officials are ready to go, but on the Empire State Development's map of projects, the project is somewhere five years down the road.

To help move things along, Julia Pacatte, economic coordinator for the Batavia Development Corp., is seeking support from the County Legislature and the City School District, both economic partners in the project, to pass resolutions asking ESD to speed up the process.

"This is an affirmation that the local community is ready to support the project and asking the state to move more quickly than in the next five years," Pacatte said. "We’re ready to go now."

Most of the money for the $17 million Ellicott Station Project is coming from private investment, with a portion of financial support coming from local tax abatements. But officials are also looking for ESD to follow through on its commitment of $2.4 million in grants to pay for environmental cleanup of the properties.

The property qualifies for assistance under state programs because: of the environmental remediation required; the adaptive reuse of property that was developed but fell into disuse; and the economic struggles of the census tract the property is in, with 30 percent of the residents at the poverty level or lower and an unemployment rate of 7 percent. 

The project is expected to produce 60 temporary jobs and 90 permanent jobs.

There are already tenants lined up for office space and the entertainment and restaurant space within the project, and ensuring those potential tenants stay on the hook is one reason for trying to get a faster response from ESD.

The county's Public Service Committee approved the resolution unanimously and the school board will be asked to act on it tonight.

August 9, 2016 - 8:03am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, Ellicott Station.

The City of Batavia has an excellent chance to receive a trio of grants that deal with "zombie" properties, low- to low-moderate income housing rehabilitation and mixed-use redevelopment, City Manager Jason Molino said Monday night.

He outlined the three opportunities to City Council, which, in turn, is expected to allow his office to pursue the grants.

The grant programs are as follows:

-- A $13 million grant program with funds generated through a settlement by the state's Attorney General that is open to municipalities with at least 5,000 people and a minimum of 100 vacant homes.

Batavia was not on the original list, Molino said, but was added after the city manager reached out to program administrators. He said monies received will go to compile database informaton and to develop strategies to combat the problem of vacant homes.

-- A Community Development Block Grant to rehabilitate homes owned by those with low- to low-moderate incomes who occupy the home. Molino said grants are limited to $24,500 per house.

"We received $450,000 in 2011 and another $400,000 in 2014 through this program and have applied that money to more than 35 homes," Molino said. "Currently, we have another 30 to 40 in the queue."

Council is expected to act on this on Sept. 12 and set a public hearing for Sept. 19.

-- A Restore NY grant program that is providing up to $50 million for redevelopment projects in urban areas.

Molino said Batavia will seek $500,000 to be used at Ellicott Station, site of the former Santy's Tire Shop and Soccio & Della Penna construction on Ellicott Street that has been targeted for mixed-use redevelopment by Buffalo developer Samuel Savarino.

"(Ellicott Station) is a picture perfect property for this project. It is turn-key, and has all the right elements," Molino said, adding that the city has a "high probability" of getting funded.

As is the case with the CDBG grant, Council has been requested to consider this application on Sept. 12.

In other action, Council:

-- Approved a resolution to accept a supplemental agreement, called Marchiselli funding, that would reimburse the city for the cost of the design aspects of the Summit Street Reconstruction Project. This offers a 15 percent funding grant to the project through New York State, in addition to the 80 percent funding already approved through the Federal Highway program, Molino said. 

-- Approved a resolution permitting the city firefighters' union to open a one-year window for entrance into a more lucrative state retirement benefit plan. Molino said the one-time past service cost will be $27,441 and the estimated annual cost for this fiscal year will be $5,485.

-- Moved to the Sept. 12 Business meeting a request from Public Works Director Matthew Worth to trade or auction off five utility vehicles, with an estimated total value of at least $9,500. The vehicles, and their estimated value, are: a 1998 John Deere Gator 6x4 utility vehicle ($2,000 in trade toward a replacement utility vehicle); 1996 Ford LS9000 dump truck and accessories (auction value $3,000); 1997 Dodge Ram van (auction value less than $500); 1993 Jacobsen HR-15 flail mower (auction value $1,000); and a 1996 Elgin Pelican P series street sweeper (auction value $3,000 to $15,000).

-- Tabled Local Law No. 3, which would amend the Business Improvement District Plan in order for both the City and the BID to continue talks to settle disagreements over the BID's budget management and compliance with General Municipal Law. Molino said he expects to report back to Council with a definitive strategy at the Sept. 12 meeting.

March 16, 2016 - 7:05pm

Photos courtesy of our news partner WBTA. Above, city and county officials gathered at a news conference this afternoon on Ellicott Street where plans were unveiled for the former Della Penna and Santy Tires properties on the Southside.

Press release:

City and county officials gathered today to unlock the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2), a program created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Savarino Companies was selected following a published Request for Proposal issued by the Batavia Development Corporation for the redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site, likely the first project to participate in the program.

Savarino Companies has provided a plan for the development site, including mixed-use residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

When fully realized, the site may accommodate more than 150 jobs and market rate housing to generate around-the-clock consumer demand Downtown.

"We are very pleased that our redevelopment proposal was selected by Batavia Development Corp.," says Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies. "Now the hard work begins. Our team is looking forward to working with all project stakeholders to make Ellicott Station the transformational development it is expected to be."

The project will consist of several phases and the company is expected to seek incentives from the GCEDC, as well as utilize other state and local economic funds for the project.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating.

"Congratulations to the City of Batavia, BDC, Genesee County, GCEDC and the Batavia City School District,” said Batavia City Council President E. Jankowski. “We’re off to a great start, working together to support economic growth in the City of Batavia with the Pathway to Prosperity program. Combining resources will be a force multiplier toward successfully cleaning up distressed areas in our community and benefit all of us who live and work here.”

"Batavia's Pathway to Prosperity is off to a great start with new plans to redevelop Ellicott Station. This program has the potential to increase property values, entice new employers and expand economic opportunities for all residents of Genesee County. I applaud Savarino Companies for investing in our community," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.

“I am very pleased that more economic development will be coming to my hometown of Batavia,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). “I am excited to be a part of the ‘Pathway to Prosperity’ and pledge my assistance in any way possible.

"Public-private partnerships such as this have the potential to provide huge dividends for the local community and its residents. This is a perfect example of government working for the people instead of against them, and I look forward to experiencing Batavia’s transformation firsthand.”

“This is an exciting time for Genesee County. We have the reality of STAMP, new hotels, a new airport terminal and now the redevelopment of the City’s brownfield area. The County will continue to work with everyone involved to make the Pathway to Prosperity happen and keep our County at the forefront of economic development,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Genesee County Legislature chairman.

Supported by the redirection of 50 percent of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites.

“Through the BP2 fund, both the public and private sectors are working collaboratively to increase access to IDA programs and incentives for all project development opportunities within the City of Batavia,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman.

“By targeting highly distressed locations and brownfield opportunity areas, this program encourages investors and developers such as Savarino Companies to take advantage of development opportunities in Genesee County and invest in the future of the city and region.”

Among the goals of the BP2 program include attracting new employers and jobs to the city of Batavia; increasing property values; and, exploring key market opportunities for economic development.

“Working together is essential to achieve a strong, sure, set of outcomes,” added Patrick Burk, Batavia School Board president. “Our Pathway to Prosperity will become a solid road of economic, educational and community growth. With that growth, we will see better jobs, a decrease in poverty and an increase in family stability and educational success. Our integration will make this possible. Our determination will make this our new reality." 

One of the program’s intentions is to target Millennials by creating vibrant neighborhoods and creating job opportunities in previously economically disadvantaged areas of the city.

Over the past several years the BDC has been persistent in championing community strategic development priorities, encouraging Brownfield Opportunity Area site designation and gaining tax credit eligibility for environmental cleanup of this significant tract of our downtown corridor,” said Ray Chaya Batavia Development Corporation Board president.

“The Pathway to Prosperity agreement is a significant development tool today and it will remain valuable well into our future. It is proof that mutually shared goals and a commitment to community transformation is achievable. The BDC is honored to take on the next development phases ensuring that all required entities are involved and unhindered in fulfilling the community's vision for this important site.”

To learn more about the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, visit www.bataviaopportunity.com.

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