Local Matters

Community Sponsors

April 13, 2009 - 10:58pm

Batavia council schedules public hearing on Masse Gateway Project

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Masse Gateway Project.

More jobs and a bigger tax base were the selling points in Batavia's council chamber last night as City Manager Jason Molino pitched a proposed redevelopment plan for the Masse Gateway Project.

To get the project going, the city, and property owner Mancuso Business Development Group, could use an immediate cash infusion of $2.5 million from a state program known as RestoreNY.

The application deadline for the program is fast approaching and by a unanimous vote, the council approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on the proposal on April 22 at 5 p.m.

“The Masse Gateway Project does meet the criteria of the program and the city is going to be in a fairly strong position to score well on the application," consultant Stuart I. Brown told the council.

To score well, Molino and Brown told the council, it is necessary to provide a 26 percent local match, or about $650,000 above the requested grant amount. A mere 10 percent, or even 17 or 18 percent, might not cut it because Batavia doesn't qualify, under RestoreNY guidelines, as a distressed urban area.

The entire project is expected to cost $3.15 million, with the matching funds coming from in-kind services ($50,000 in staff time for inspections and simliar services), $400,000 in prior work and in-kind matches from Mancuso, and $200,000 from the city's revolving loan fund for small-business start-ups.

The BDC loan funds were an area of some concern because Mancuso is not expected to pay any of that money back to the fund, but Molino explained that under terms of original grant that created the fund, using the money for a job-growth project such as Masse is acceptable.

He also explained that currently the BDC has $400,000 cash available and $200,000 in outstanding loans, so the BDC board felt confident that there would be enough money left in the loan program to fund future small business start-ups.

This is the second time Batavia has applied for RestoreNY funds. The first application was rejected, Molino speculated, because the city asked for only a 10 percent match and the plan submitted was not comprehensive enough.

Stu Brown added that the 10 percent match included in the plan was largely for planning work aready done and not new development work, which may have been a problem.

“In my experience and after looking over the RestoreNY guidelines, it is my strong recommendation that the city over match the requirements," Brown said.

Architect Ed Smart also explained a bit about the anticipated development, saying that the key to making the entire Central Corridor Project (PDF) viable was improving the edges. The edge work, he said, would make the entire 27-acre area more attractive to developers, investors and businesses looking for new locations.

“Each of the proposed uses would be more job-growth intensive than the previous uses, Smart said, later adding:  “When the business incubator first started, there were businesses looking for 20,000 or 30,000 square feet of space, but today’s businesses want much smaller spaces.”

Some council members asked about the immediate potential for residential uses in the project (which is part of the larger Central Corridor Project), and Smart said residential really wasn't part of the plan right now out of concern there simply wouldn't be demand during this phase of development.

"Building 16 is really versatile and could serve as business lofts or residential lofts," Smart said. "But there is a lot (as in other development) that would have to happen around the building to make it an attractive place for residents to want to live there."

Previously: City may seek $2.5 million state grant to help with Masse Gateway Project

John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 23 hours ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
How does this make the Town of Batavia want to merge with the city? giving away money we stand a good chance of not seeing again? We have $200,000 in loan money out on loan now and not all of it will be paid back. And now we are gving a private property owner another $200,000? Why do some people have to pay it back, but not Mr. Mancuso? Why can't he be made to pay it back? I remember Mr. Mancuso, when he was on City Council, voting to deny Dr. M. Chess the right to buy vacant property in the Mall that the city had taken for taxes. Dr. Chess didn’t ask for a loan, or a grant. He wanted to take a risk and spend his own money to expand his business and open new businesses. Mr. Mancuso didn’t approve and said no. Now, he wants us to give him our money. Seems Mr. Mancuso believes in different rules for special people.
william tapp
william tapp's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: May 9 2008 - 8:38am
I fully agree with John Roach, let Mancuso spend his own money, not tax payers. Tax payers get off your lazy butts and let city council now your opinions
Karen Miconi
Karen Miconi's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 5 2009 - 4:48pm
Are they having a problem finding ways to spend OUR money?? How about fixing Batavia City Streets. And I don't mean the traffic circle. This reminds me of the S at Tim Hortons. S for Stupid. How about sending the city bills for a front end allignment. This is embarrassing to our city. I've never seen streets in other towns in the condition Batavia's are. Why are we giving money to Mancuso's?? They have enough to sustain themselves, and own half of Batavia. Is there some kind of PayOff we are missing?? We The People need to follow, and keep tract of all the Stimulus, down to the penny. You know how the money can, and will dissapear without notice. 1000 here 1000 there. Before you know it, moneys GONE...........
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
Of course, none of the RestoreNY money can go to any other infrastructure needs. If it's not spent on redeveloping Massee, it will be spent on some other project in some other city owned by some other private owner. One way or another, it will be spent, it is your tax money. If you don't want it going to property owned by Mancuso, then you must want it to go to Utica or Syracuse or Albany or Buffalo or Jamestown or anyplace but Batavia. If you want to stand on that principle, that this whole program is philosophically wrong and therefore Batavia should just reject any shot at the money, fine, but to say it shouldn't go Mancuso just because Mancuso shouldn't get it, or because the city has other needs is to completely ignore the reality of what RestoreNY is all about.
Beth Kinsley
Beth Kinsley's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: Aug 22 2008 - 9:43pm
Howard - that kind of puts it in perspective. I would hate to see us "lose out" but I also hate to see our tax dollars spent on this. We are struggling enough as it is, especially with the STAR rebates being taken away. The Daily News site says that no local tax dollars will be spent on this project but instead, the City's contribution will be in the form of "in-kind" services which, lets face it, we are paying for. The article on that site further states that "The Batavia Development Corp., a non-profit group that oversees low-interest loans to local businesses, would put up $200,000 toward the project". My question is, how is the Batavia Develpment Corp. funded? Also, the Daily doesn't mention anything about whether or not they would be required to pay it back. My understanding from discussions on this site is that they won't. If this non-profit's purpose is to provide loans, how could they continue to operate if they are just going to give this money away?
Charlie Mallow
Charlie Mallow's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm
The Batavia Development Corp is funded by a Federal grant. Their mission is to fund projects to help develop our city economically.
Charlie Mallow
Charlie Mallow's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm
The fact is that our community’s business leaders support this plan. Not because it helps a particular person but, because it helps the business climate in our city. That is the same reason the vote from council was unanimous last night. It’s easy to complain without bringing another solution and that is exactly what I see in these threads. You can’t complain about spending money on roads, and then complain about efforts to repair them. You can’t complain about the lack of jobs and then complain about efforts to change the business environment. I don’t think complaining is the purpose of this site. Howards intent was to have conversations about local issues and inform the public so they could speak in a constructive way to them.
Julie A Pappalardo
Julie A Pappalardo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 5 months ago
Joined: Mar 3 2009 - 12:23pm
The problem I am having is: When the government starts handing out money, EVERYONE puts their hand out. All anyone has to do is look at what has been happeneing with the TARP money. takes the TARP money or they will go bankrupt ANY second (acording to the banks in question). Then decides that they don't like the restrictions that have been put on them, so they RETURN the funds. To me this means they really didn't NEED the money in the first place! Does Mr. Mancuso really NEED the money to fix up his property? If so, will there be any restriction and (gasp!) oversight on HOW that money is spent? An accounting of where EVERY penny of that money went should be required and the taxpayers should have access to that information as well! If it is going to be taxpayer money to fund this project, can we do it right this time?? So we don't have a repeat of "Urban Renewal"? How long is it going to take? Are the buildings going to be required to be energy efficient? And finally, when this new and improved industrial complex is finished, HOW are we going to attract business with our punishing tax rates? Is the City planning on taxing the CRAP out of Mr. Mancuso once the project is finished which would just KILL the whole thing? Look, there is no doubt that the industrial center NEEDS to be redone somehow (bulldozed to the ground). It has been a TERRIBLE eyesore (dragging down its neighbors property values)for way too long! We just have to make sure that THIS project gets done correctly, that there is proper accounting. We need to avoid costly mistakes that have been made in the past: 1. The "mall" 2. Sidewalk benches facing the wrong way 3. $11,000 flowers on Main St Batavia needs GOOD paying jobs that offer a CAREER. Low paying part time jobs at Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and are great jobs for High School kids, retirees and maybe a Mom or Dad just trying to take home a few extra bucks. Now where is MY bailout so that I can redo Backhoe's??? That area is going to need a restaurant when this is all said and done! :) [img_assist|nid=5498|title=Caffeinated Julie|desc=Trying to be functional in a dysfunctional world|link=node|align=left|width=0|height=]
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
To put a finer point on the BDC money, the grant that eventually created the fund was awarded in 1982. Jason said last night the BDC was created in the 1990s to oversee the fund and take oversight out of the hands of the Council (he didn't say it, but I guess to make it less political). The BDC is community business leaders who decide how the funds are dispersed. The funds are loans. Many of the loans have been paid back or are being paid back. The implication during the discussion last night is that the fund has grown over years via the small amount of interest paid by the businesses that get the loans. The BDC leaders said they are confident that between the $200,000 cash left in the fund and the $200,000 in outstanding debt that they expect to be repaid with interest, the BDC will continue to have enough funds to operate, including providing loans to new businesses that might want to start-up in the Massee project once completed. I do mention in my post that Mancuso will not be required to pay back the $200,000, but according to Jason, the original grant stipulations would allow this grant money to be used for this project without repayment. As for complaints -- nobody particularly enjoys complainers, but that doesn't mean we all have to agree, either. If people who had doubts or were in opposition didn't raise their concerns, we might never fully examine proposals and ideas effecting the community. So long as people are nice about it, and especially don't engage in personal attacks, then raising objections is an important part of the conversation.
Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm
How about an up date on our shovel ready projects..Thats where tax payers spent 450,000 dollars..to get all this new street and sidewalk work going..Shouldn't we get those projects off the ground first..Seems like we don't get one project going before were jumping into something else..And what about this Police grant,the fed pays the wages for the first three years and then who pays after that.Is this just another way to add to the city payroll...Hope we see some positive results from all this ...
Charlie Mallow
Charlie Mallow's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: Apr 28 2008 - 9:05pm
Mark, are things going too fast for you? I don’t think so, you seem to be keeping up just fine. The street plans are being drawn up and we are waiting for the state to begin to award them. The announcement about Oak last week was unexpected. It seems like the state used some of the stimulus money for state projects they had planned to use state funds for in the past. As for the police grant, because a police officer was laid off we are eligible for a federal grant to reinstate the position and have the salary covered for three years. We would have to cover the salary for an additional 12 months after the three years were up. That officer would focus on neighborhood enforcement. The problem we have is that a very large number of our officers are eligible for retirement and it takes a long time to have a new one trained and brought up to speed. This will help us get a head start in planning for potential retirements.
Richard Gahagan
Richard Gahagan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 1 month ago
Joined: Nov 18 2008 - 4:29pm
Our economic strength, compared to the federal budget mess and other states’ troubles, is evidence that Texans know what’s best for Texas. We’re proof that good things happen when governments lower taxes, reduce spending and encourage private sector growth. When Washington interferes with our proven approaches, experience tells us what the outcome will be, and it isn’t pretty. Like the Constitution and the other 26 amendments, the 10th Amendment has been the subject of extended debate, by scholars and lawyers of every sort, but I come down on the side that favors state’s rights over unrestrained federal power. I believe the Constitution does not empower the federal government to override state laws without restraint. I agree with Texas’ 7th governor, Sam Houston, who once said, “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.” We didn’t like oppression then and we certainly don’t like it now. I believe the federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. Texans need to ask themselves a question: do they side with those in Washington who are pursuing this unprecedented expansion of power? Or do they believe in the individual rights and responsibilities laid out in our foundational documents? Texans need to stand up and be heard, because this state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. Returning to the letter and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, and its essential Tenth Amendment, will free our state and, ultimately, strengthen our Union. Perry continued: "Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, DC trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas. The governor credited Texas’ low taxes, reasonable regulatory structure, and economic development incentives to relocate to the state. Approximately 70 percent of the jobs created in the U.S. from November 2007-2008 were in Texas, with 7,300 jobs created in November 2008 alone. My focus has been, and continues to be, cultivating an environment that creates more jobs for Texans,” Gov. Perry said. “Because Texans prefer a paycheck over an unemployment stipend, I will continue to call on lawmakers to cultivate an economic climate that decreases burdens on employers, encourages investment and creates more jobs for Texans.”
Tom Gilliatt
Tom Gilliatt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: May 17 2008 - 7:54am
I would love to see a poll on this topic lol
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 23 hours ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
My issue is not with the stimulus money. I agree with Howard, it's out there and if we can get some, great. We will be taxed for decades to repay it even if we don't receive any of it, so I say go for it. My issue is with the $200,000 City money. Why can't that be paid back? Except for a private club, how many other businesses have been given grants from this fund and not required to pay it back? That information should be made public so we know if grant to Mr. Mancuso is fair. Mr. Ferrando stated this subject has been around for 8 or so years, then why has no private bank or firm been willing to bank roll it if it is such a great thing?
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
In the end,Mr.Mancuso gets his properties spruced up.And if he does find tenants,he'll fill his pockets with rent money.It's a win-win situation for Tommy!On tax payers dollars! I'm not sure,if we build this, will they,the businesses come? Will it take down these"For Sale"signs off these homes?Will Batavia be bursting at the seams? Example:Beautiful Dwyer Stadium?We can't even fill up that,and we're still paying for it! I'm a local truck driver,I work out of Buffalo N.Y,we pick up and deliver goods from businesses,large and small.And let me tell you Western New York is in TROUBLE!There are dozens of businesses whom closed up, either moved over seas or have fallen on hard times.And some of the ones that are still standing,they've cut their work force,cut the work week to four or three days per week.Also the high taxes in NY too, drives them out. It's not just Batavia,Genesee County or New York it's America.And its FREE TRADE!Has destroyed us ! Til we wake up,its not going to matter if we give the B.I.C a face lift.
Tom Gilliatt
Tom Gilliatt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 11 months ago
Joined: May 17 2008 - 7:54am
Like the old saying "Money talks #$##@@" well we know the rest.
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
It don't sing and dance,and it don't walk..... Maybe Janie,oops"Tommie gotta gun." If I were a rich man?diddle,diddy,dum... You got to pick-a-pocket or two,isn't that right tommy. So that's, April 22 @5pm.The circus will be in town, along with some of the clowns. And The Ring leader Molino. I better get my popcorn ready,eh?I wonder if T.O will show up too?
C D
C D's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 9 2008 - 10:40pm
I believe you meant "Janie's got a gun".
Karen Miconi
Karen Miconi's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 5 2009 - 4:48pm
Charlie, Howard, Has anyone tested Masse for ground contamination from metals, asbestos, ect, from Masse Harris Metal? With the building being as old as it is, there is a good chance, and a threat to public safety. Oh and More Hidden Cost. Why don't they just demo it and make a park for GCASA's patients, so they aren't standing out on Main St. smoking all day, and staring at traffic. "America, open your eyes. pay attention. look around. ask questions. demand answers. don't be fooled. be informed. know what's going on!"
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
Yes!Karen, I like your ideal,it would make a beautiful park!You could even section off a part of it for the city dog owners"dog park". There be less crap around our city.And you know what,it's getting" pretty deep". Let's get back to the Mr.Mancusos' bail out money.I'll tell ya a true story about the Mancuso Management Company "the B.I.C"My brother was employed for Tommy,I'd say back in the late eighties.Tommy received a grant to improve his building(s).One day they,his workers were told to" make it look like they did some improvements",the banks are coming in today. Get out the paint and the brushes. Where did the rest of the grant money go to?Family vacation,co.x-mas party,pay roll,property taxes,etc? Another thing,If you people ever drive down Harvester Ave.South end of the building,across the St.on the corner of the cemetery near the tracks. The city D.P.W put in extended curb so when the trucks back into their docks,they wouldn't drive over the curb and ruin the lawn.With our TAX DOLLARS!Mancuso couldn't fork the bill? My brother called John Morris from the D.P.W, he told him"you're not going to like my anwser" So, you think Mr. Mancuso has no pull in Batavia? Guess again . And when our Fire Dept. performs their fire inspections on Harvester Ave.It's like alittle stroll in the park,They don't turn their heads much. " ENOUGH!"
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
Hey,It just hit me! I got it,demo it all down, build a soccer stadium.We can get a pro team here,we would draw in people from all over. And there would be reason for people to stop in Batavia,instead of"just passing by".It just might fill up quicker with people than businesses?Ay, I don't know ,look at beautiful Dwyer?Hhhhhmmmmmm. Wait even better,Ralph Wilson might want to dump the Bills.Why not,Batavia Bills?Football Stadium, give Mancuso the naming rights at least.Then T.O would really bring the popcorn.
Gabor Deutsch
Gabor Deutsch's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 5 months ago
Joined: May 24 2008 - 4:16pm
Karen, ya made me laff so hard i spilt my coffee but its true about the smoking folks there. At least we have a place like that for people to go when they want help (or court ordered). I do like the park/dog park idea but there would be few jobs created for long term and quite a bit of money spent.
Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm
Consultant Stuart I. Brown, Architect Ed Smart..What kind of money are they getting paid out of all this..Is Mr.Mancuso paying for their services..Or is the taxpayer..
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
Jason said everything to this point -- if I understood both the question from council and Jason's response -- won't cost the city any additional money.
william tapp
william tapp's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: May 9 2008 - 8:38am
Howard, your such a liberal,all libs think of is spend spend, the money tree is dieing
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
I'm a liberal? My wife's getting a good laugh at that.
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 23 hours ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Howard, Jason said "won't cost the city any additional money", what is additional? Who is paying for Mr. Brown and Mr. Smart? Mark has a good point.
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
Where do i start?They want to do a complete tear down of all the old vacant buildings.And rebuild from the ground up.Will this really work, we have all these other vacant buildings,for rent and sale.In the likes of, United Rentals and the one across from Mancuscos' buildings on Swan St.The old Counrty Max store just to name a few.And these homes that are also vacant,whom people were force out of them. Tell me,is this thing really going to work? Will Batavia be the prettiest,empty little city in Western New York?Why doesn't Tommy Mancuso show the city officials the industries that will come in if we build this.Before we make a go of it? A good example is the Rich family in Buffalo N.Y.He knew that Buffalo couldn't support a major league baseball franchise.So he keep it in perspective, and stayed in the minor leagues system.This makes sense.
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
Mike, they're not tearing down all of the buildings.
Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm
Remember this..town of Batavia 0 percent property tax...City of Batavia 10 percent property tax...Where would your business build...Hey Chris, Business for Dummies,maybe you should buy it...
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
Howie please, 3.5 mill.You have the eye sores on Swan St.The ones behind them,the old winery. These are Mancusos' head aches.It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure all this out. Mr.Owens,I have a question for you ,"Were you born and raised here in Batavia?"If not, you're going against people whom were,that knows how the politicians operated here.A piece of pie for you and you,and you get a big piece Tommy ,you were a good boy!
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 23 hours ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Just call this what it really is, a bail out for a private property owner.
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
RIGHT ON MR.ROACH !!!HATS OFF TO YOU!!!!! I DONT GET IT,WE THE TAX PAYERS ARE LOOSING THE STAR PROGRAM CHECKS.BUT , NEW YORK STATE CAN HAND 2.5 MILL. BEHIND THEIR BACKS TO A PRIVATE BUSINESS MAN?I DONT GET IT!
Richard Gahagan
Richard Gahagan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 1 month ago
Joined: Nov 18 2008 - 4:29pm
The whole WNY area is becoming more and more dependent on the government for everything and thats exactly what the libs want. Government jobs, government programs, government grants, government agencies regulating everything people do. Please give us the money please we have nothing but these old grungy buildings if we knock em down it might get better. Its not going to change or get better. So look in the mirror tomorrow morning and ask yourself why am I staying here?
C D
C D's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 9 2008 - 10:40pm
Mark, I have it. Along with a plethora of "For Dummies" books on dozens of different topics. The digital copies are especially handy.
Mike Del Plato
Mike  Del Plato's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 10 2009 - 3:57pm
First I thought it was $700,000,now it's $2.5 million.Wheres that $700,000 going in Mr. Mancusos'pocket? You know,if we knew this was going to work, we should've done it years ago.We could of had Home Depot or BJ's on tommys'property.At lease we knew they were coming ,and they be right in the heart of Batavia.

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Upcoming

Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button