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April 11, 2009 - 3:31pm

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

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

The Batavia City Council will consider asking the state a second time for Restore NY funding to help launch the Massee Gateway redevelopment project.

Should the city go forward with the application, Restore NY could provide up to $2.5 million of the estimated $3.15 million cost of the project, which could potentially lift the assessed property tax value of the area from $800,000 to anywhere from $3 million to $5 million.

The remaining $650,000 of funds needed for the project would come from in-kind and cash matches from the City of Batavia and Mancuso Business Development Group (the property owner).

The match comes, according to a memo released by the City Manager's Office, from $400,000 of prior work on the project by Mancuso, a $50,000 in-kind match from the city (meaning inspection time, site plan review and grant oversight) and $200,000 available from a 1982 Urban Development Action Grant.

"The City's contributions to this project will not effect the general fund expenses or require any financial burden or support from the tax levy," City Manager Jason Molino writes in his memo.

The council meets in special session Monday at 7 p.m. to consider the application.

The goal of the project is to demolition and refurbish buildings near Masse Place, between Swan Street and Harvester Avenue. About 40,000 square feet of building would be demolished and another 200,000 120,000 square feet restored.

In using $200,000 from the UDAG fund, the city will draw down the grant money, which has been used for a revolving loan and grant program to help establish small businesses in Batavia. Molino's memo says current economic conditions has made issuing small business loans and assisting economic development difficult.

A memo from consultant Stu Brown about the application states, "Recent discussions with the owner of the complex indicates that he is proceeding with the plans for the project. The approval of a major state grant would enable the project to move forward much more quickly and permit the owner and the city to achieve the goals for the redevelopment of this important site."

The city applied for Restore NY funding for the Massee project once before and the application was denied.

The Restore NY application is due by May 4. Should the council pass the appropriate resolution Monday, there would be a public hearing on the application Aprill 22 at 5 p.m.

Download: Part 1 of Council Packet (PDF) for Monday's meeting, which includes Jason Molino's memo.

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