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January 28, 2021 - 12:05pm

Shovels in the ground -- BDC director optimistic that 2021 will see much construction in the city

Much along the lines of a circus juggler, Andrew Maguire is determined to keep the balls in the air as he tracks the many City of Batavia projects funded by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Building Improvement Fund and New York Main Street grant programs.

Maguire, director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corporation, went through his list of what he called “2021 milestone projects” and other irons in the fire during the agency’s monthly board meeting this morning via Zoom videoconferencing.

“There are a couple of big ones, obviously,” he said. “Ellicott Station (the mixed-use venture on the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy’s Tire Sales property on Ellicott Street) is hopefully going to be beginning construction in early spring and projections for the Healthy Living Campus (YMCA project on East Main Street) are for the fall of 2021 to begin construction and demolition. Those two big ones alone should equate to almost $50 million of investment into the city.”

Maguire said he was confident that the City Centre Mall and Jackson Square projects also would commence construction this year, as well as Main Street 56 Theater (at the City Centre), 206 E. Main St. (Main Street Pizza Company building), 201 E. Main St. (GO ART!), 39-43 Jackson St. (corner building next to School Street), 97 Main St. (old Genesee Bank building) and 219 E. Main St. (Fieldstone Private Wealth - Ameriprise Financial Services).

“These are all projects that will run through our grant programs. So, they do have time frames they have to comply with so I’m pretty confident that all of these on this list will be moving to the construction phase in 2021 – which should yield over $50 million total investment through the grant funding program,” Maguire said.

He admitted the DRI process is “kind of tedious and relatively slow” but, again, said he expects the City Centre, Jackson Square, Ellicott Station and Healthy Living Campus “will all be hitting the ground running in 2021, which I’m excited about.”

Going down the list, Maguire reported the following:

  • 206 E. Main St. (Main Street Pizza Company building).

He said an asbestos survey was being done and that owner Paul Marchese is expected to finalize the design plan by early February. “As soon as I get my hands on it, it is going out the door to get bid out,” he said.

  • 242 Ellicott St. (corner of Liberty Street).

With a salon downstairs and two apartments upstairs, owners have completed the interior work and are waiting for the weather to break to do the façade work, Maguire said, adding that it should be done in early spring.

  • 99 Main St., (old Mane Attraction building, now a dental office).

“They’re getting some stuff cleaned out right now and hopefully we will see some big dumpsters in the near future,” Maguire said.

  • 109-111 Main St. (Eli Fish Brewing Company and restaurant).

The owners selected Whitney East as their preferred developer and it is going on to construction pretty soon, Maguire said.

  • 39-43 Jackson St. (just north of School Street).

Maguire said he is working with the City Planning & Development Committee to get the site plan on to the latter’s agenda, adding that it needs county planning approval as well.

  • 201 E. Main St. (GO ART!).

He said that GO ART! officials are working with a local lead paint tester to determine the extent of that potential issue.

  • 219 E. Main St. (Fieldstone - Ameriprise).

“We’re working through an environmental checklist there. Obviously, there was an adjacent dry cleaner years ago and that could require further environmental testing,” Maguire said.

  • 97 Main St. (old Genesee Bank building).

Maguire said the plans are top-notch, but won’t be delivered until after completion of State Historic Preservation Office testing.

  • 33-39 Ellicott St. (Batavia Tailors & Cleaners, Domino’s, DiMatteo law firm, Village Audiology).

The building owner (Batavia Tailors) will be contracting for façade work and heating/cooling work, and also is required to perform environmental testing, Maguire said.

In other action, the board:

  • Voted in favor of additional three-year terms for members Lori Aratari, Christine Fix, Nate Varland and Rebecca Cohen, and one-year appointments to the executive committee for Aratari, president; Wesley Bedford, vice president; Jake Whiting, secretary, and Cohen, treasurer.
  • Modified language in the Performance Evaluation Policy to include that a review of the director’s job performance will be conducted by the executive committee, not a “committee” as previously stated.
  • Learned from Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski that the agency’s financial reports, generated by the City of Batavia, won’t be converted to the city’s new software system until sometime in 2022. Varland requested some type of “financial health at a glance” report to make it easier to determine the BDC’s financial standing rather than having to look at multiple documents. Maguire offered to compile a “budget actual, which would be simpler format to look at” moving forward.

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