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Batavia Development Corp.

August 26, 2021 - 3:58pm

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While there has been much activity in the City of Batavia, especially with Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Main Street Grant projects, the same can’t be said about the renovation of the former C.L. Carr department store at 101-107 Main St.

According to the “project tracking” chart generated by the Batavia Development Corp., a $1 million DRI award (of the $5.25 million total investment) was allocated to the Carr’s rehabilitation.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, at this morning’s Batavia Development Corp. board meeting, said building owner Ken Mistler has met with representatives of Urban Vantage of Buffalo, a consulting firm, as he seeks the best course of action to repurpose the space.

“I’ve had several meetings with Mr. Mistler and he would like to move the project forward,” Tabelski said. “The next steps are to see if they want to go after an historic designation for the building – whether it’s worth that and the tax credits – and assuring that they can get architecture, engineering and design on the building done because you can’t do construction until you get that done.”

She said her discussions with Mistler have focused on keeping the bottom floor as commercial space, with the possibility of multiple stores there, and turning the upper floors into residential space.

“We talked about potentially doing furnished corporate loft-type space for some of the companies we have here,” she said. “We’re always getting requests for furnished space.”

The building has one section with three floors and another with two floors.

Tabelski also mentioned the need for corporate rentals and boutique hotel space in Batavia.

“When they look at their return on investment, they’re not just going to look at residential, they’re going to see if some of these mixes could work there,” she offered, mentioning The Shirt Factory Café in Medina as a prime example of mixed-use success.

There, the first floor houses a coffee shop, hair stylist and mead works, while the second floor has an attorney’s office and boutique hotel room in the loft space, and the third floor features boutique hotel rooms.

“In a way, the business model could be very similar to Carr’s. A very different building, very historically-significant -- The Newell Shirt Factory in Medina – but the mix of tenancy could be a great example for them to look at and follow.”

She said some preliminary work was done on the Carr’s site before COVID-19 hit “and now they’re getting back to it.”

“It’s nice to see it get moving along because when looking at all of the projects, that is the one that needed to advance through the necessary stages,” she said.

Contacted this afternoon, Mistler said that he has not contracted with Urban Vantage at this point and any information on what the renovation ultimately will look like is speculation.

Photo by Mike Pettinella

August 26, 2021 - 8:50am

brett_frank.jpgUpdate at 11:30 p.m. from BDC:

"Brett brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business and property development that will help advance the BDC’s mission to improve the quality of life in the City of Batavia through a number or economic development collaborations, programs and initiatives," said BDC President Lori Aratari. “We are excited to welcome him and look forward to his leadership.”

Brett has core competencies in government relations, public relations, communications, business and policy research, statistical analysis, and business intelligence.  His roles with Genesee County were numerous, including Real Property tax apportionment of County/Town, County/City, School and Village taxes, public relations and working directly with the GCEDC in the maintenance and generation of PILOT invoices.

He was responsible for disseminating information to engage property owners in complex residential and commercial valuation projects and acted as liaison to municipal, regional, and state government officials.

“On behalf of the City we are excited to work with Brett in this new position and have confidence that as a City resident he understands the needs of both the business community and residents alike,” said Rachael J. Tabelski, City of Batavia City Manager.  “Brett will be coming to the organization with a list of projects to finalize from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and a 2020 Main Street Grant awarded to the City.  He will also be responsible for promoting development at the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) sites and assisting businesses with loans and grants.”

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Directors of the Batavia Development Corp. this morning approved the hiring of Brett Frank as the agency’s executive director.

Frank (photo at right) fills the position that became vacant when Andrew Maguire accepted the operations manager post with the Town of Batavia in June. He will start on Aug. 30.

A client service specialist at Fieldstone Private Wealth in Batavia since September 2020, Frank was employed at Genesee County’s deputy director of Real Property Tax Services for five years prior to that.

“I think he will do a great job in that position. He’ll be a good fit for that,” said Kevin Andrews, the county’s director of Real Property Tax Services, Frank's immediate supervisor. “His background in real property, I think, will help him in that role.”

Andrews said Frank is outgoing – a people person – and won’t have any problem promoting the projects on behalf of the City of Batavia.

Previously, Frank, a city resident, was a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual and a Batavia City School District maintenance worker.

Frank, an Elba Central School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in Financial Economics from Buffalo State College after receiving his associate’s degree in Liberal Arts from Genesee Community College.

City Manager Rachel Tabelski said Frank's "great background in real estate" will go a long way in accomplishing the BDC's mission.

The position's salary is $70,000 plus benefits.

Comments
July 13, 2021 - 8:23am

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A frequent contributor to the Batavia City Council scene is suggesting that a package deal combining the current Batavia Police Department headquarters and Genesee County Jail parcels may be the ticket to attracting a potential developer in light of the city’s intention to build a new police station at Alva Place and Bank Street.

City resident John Roach, during the public comments portion of the board’s Conference Meeting on Monday night at the City Centre, asked if anyone was talking to Genesee County leaders about their plan for the jail at the corner of West Main Street and Porter Avenue.

The county is exploring its options as it faces a state mandate to build a new jail, with a site near County Building 2 on West Main Street Road as the proposed location.

“You might get a better deal as a combined parcel,” Roach said. “Find out what they’re going to do and it could have an impact on what to do with the Brisbane building.”

The Brisbane building that he referred to is the former Brisbane Mansion at 10 W. Main St. that sits next door to the county jail. That building -- which may be eligible for classification as a historic landmark -- has housed city police for many years but has deteriorated considerably.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, responding to Roach’s inquiry, said she thought it was a “great idea to speak with the county and understand their plans.”

“The front of the jail is certainly an amazing historic building that I hope would be preserved by the county through their transition, but I believe it hosts Genesee Justice and I don’t want to speak for the county and I’m not sure what they’re actually planning,” she said.

Tabelski also said she wasn’t sure if the timelines for a new county jail and new city police station would line up, but it was something worth looking into.

She pointed out the drawbacks with the Brisbane Mansion, notably that there is no American with Disabilities Act accessibility and there are problems with the layout that hinder the ability of the force to conduct day-to-day business.

“We went over the presentation two meetings ago and we looked at the timeline. The city has been wanting to address this for over 20 years,” she said. “We’ve come forward with a proposal and a feasibility study to use the parking lot at Alva and Bank Street.”

The city manager underscored the importance of finding a “reuse” for the building, adding that the city has no intention of moving staff into that structure.

“So, we’d like to pursue a path where we put it out for RFP to a developer to take that on and bring that on to the tax rolls,” she advised. “To do that in the best manner possible, you want to make your property attractive to the marketplace and by understanding all of the historical elements inside the building, and having technical assistance reports done of the structure itself and the historical elements …”

For those reasons, she forwarded a resolution – which was later passed by Council – to allow the Batavia Development Corp. to apply for a 2021 Consolidated Funding grant under the New York Main Street technical assistance program.

“I think it is City Council’s wish and I know it is the certainly the wish of many in our community to preserve that building as a historical element in our downtown,” she said. “… if (the grant is) awarded, we would go ahead and do that study. We had a plan to reuse the building at the time we move the police department.”

Tabelski said that the grant-funded study would uncover whether the building would qualify as a historic landmark.

If so, that could open the door for a NY Main Street grant, which the city has been successful in obtaining for the Eli Fish Brewing Co. building on Main Street and Theater 56 at the City Centre.

On another topic, Roach asked about the status of a road project to rehabilitate Harvester and Richmond avenues, which is scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Maintenance Supervisor Ray Tourt said it is currently in the design phase.

In May 2020, City Council appointed the engineering firm of T.Y. Lin International Group of Rochester to provide preliminary and advanced designs with the expectation that they would be completed by the summer of this year.

T.Y. Lin International Group was involved in the city’s Walnut Street Reconstruction Project, the Ellicott Street streetscape project and all of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District streetscape initiatives.

Batavian Robert Radley, PE, is the company’s senior vice president and U.S. East Region director.

Plans call for renovation of Richmond Avenue from State Street to Oak Street and for the entire length of Harvester Avenue (from East Main Street to Ellicott Street). City officials previously reported that 95 percent of the $2 million project will be covered by CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and Marchiselli Funding* streams.

Tabelski also reported that Jill Wiedrick, the new assistant city manager, will be starting on July 21, and the city is advertising for a permanent Department of Public Works director.

*Given the significant backlog of preservation, rehabilitation and replacement of transportation infrastructure needs that exist at the local level, NYSDOT has initiated a process with metropolitan planning areas and municipalities to revise and align local transportation planning and project selection processes with engineering and economic-based preservation strategies. As part of this initiative, NYSDOT will provide priority consideration for State matching funds, under the Marchiselli program, to federal-aid projects that embrace the Department’s asset management based preservation strategy. Municipally sponsored federal-aid projects considered to be beyond preservation treatments may be considered for Marchiselli funding on a case by case basis. Municipal requests for projects that are considered beyond preservation will be reviewed by NYSDOT’s Comprehensive Program Team (CPT).

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Photo at top: Batavia Police Department station (former Brisbane Mansion); Photo at bottom: Front of Genesee County Jail, which currently houses Genesee Justice.

June 25, 2021 - 12:08pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Development Corp., Freed Maxick.

Calling it a “straightforward” audit, a certified public accountant with the Freed Maxick firm in Batavia reported that the Batavia Development Corp. experienced a 16-percent increase in its net position from March 31, 2020 to the same date this year.

At Thursday’s monthly BDC meeting at the City Centre Council Chambers, Nicole Ryan reviewed financial statements from fiscal years 2020 and 2021, giving the agency’s board a comparative look at its activity.

She said that since there was no new activity for Creek Park Batavia LLC, a BDC entity, her presentation focused on the BDC.

The BDC’s net position increased from $172,469 as of March 31, 2020, to $199,931 as of March 31, 2021 (about a 16-percent jump), while the operating revenues increased by about $5,000 from 2020 (from $114,964 to $119,769) and expenditures decreased about $3,000 (from $95,136 to $92,307).

“So, overall, year to year, there wasn’t a large change in the activity – as expected based on the type of year that was had …,” Ryan said. “There wasn’t an abundant amount of information that we had to go over; there was minimal grant activity that took place this year, compared to previous years. Overall, it was very straightforward and a rather quick audit. Very painless.”

Ryan found that the agency’s cash flow increase of only $31,358 from the prior year “again was due to the minimal grant activity that took place.”

Receivables for 2021 totaled $125,750 with $81,428 as part of the financial close of the Ellicott Station and $44,322 as part of the Building Improvement Fund, which will be reimbursed through New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

All told, Ryan said the audit identified no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies, “so I don’t have any exhibits for any type of filings that would have been communicated during the process.”

Andrew Maguire, BDC director of economic development, said that in April the agency was awarded a New York Main Street Grant of $417,000 for the Theater 56 project. That transaction will be reflected in the 2021-22 fiscal year financial statement, he noted.

June 16, 2021 - 8:54pm

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Update June 17, 10 a.m., press release from Batavia Development Corp.:

The Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) will begin the process of seeking a new director of economic development.

Andrew Maguire, the current BDC director of economic development, has accepted a position with the Town of Batavia, his last day with the BDC will be June 30th.

"On behalf of the board of directors of the Batavia Development Corporation, we wish Andrew the very best in his new endeavor,” said BDC President Lori Aratari.

In the upcoming weeks the official employment posting and brochure will be listed on the BDC and City of Batavia’s websites -- www.bataviadevelopmentcorp.org and www.batavianewyork.com.

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Update June 16, 9:10 p.m. with comments from Maguire:

"I'm excited for the new opportunity as I see a great future for the Town of Batavia, as well as the city, and believe that the duties of this job are right in my skill set," Maguire said. "When I saw that it was advertised on the town's website, I felt that with my experience, I was a great fit and that it would be a positive career move. The town definitely has a ton of potential."

Maguire said he was grateful for the chance to serve the city with the Batavia Development Corp.

"I'm still a city resident and want the best for both the city and the town," he said.

When asked about the Ellicott Station project, that has yet to see activity on the former Soccio & Della Penna site, Maguire said it is "still poised to close with the Homes & Community Renewal agency by June 30 and that demolition and site cleanup will be starting soon."

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Andrew Maguire is leaving the city -- sort of -- and heading for the town.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post tonight announced the appointment of Maguire to the position of operations manager with the Town of Batavia, following an affirmative vote by the Town Board at its monthly meeting.

Maguire (pictured above) has served as director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corp. since November 2019.

Post said he will begin his full-time duties with the town in July on a date to be determined.

Predicting that he will be “an asset to the region,” Post said the town is fortunate to have Maguire on board, especially considering his experience as the clerk-treasurer for the Village of Oakfield for more than five years, where he oversaw billing software integration, administration and budgeting of water and wastewater.

“In Oakfield, Andrew ran the water and sewer operations there,” Post said. “He’s familiar with our software, he’s familiar with our metering system and our power connectivity. He was instrumental in getting the Village of Oakfield parallel pathed with the town as they were expanding and upgrading their system.”

Maguire’s primary responsibilities will focus on management of water and wastewater billing, meter reading and budgeting, but he also will assist with capital project planning and management, procurement of goods and services and administrative support of other town functions.

“Plus, he gained much experience in financing and grants during his time with the BDC,” Post said. “He’s very well rounded and he seems like a very smart guy … and I was very pleased to accept his application this evening.”

The position is a “new title for a similar position that a couple of other people have filled in the past,” Post said. Maguire’s starting salary is $74,880, which represents about a $15,000 raise from his BDC salary.

Post said the town has been funding Maguire’s duties by using existing staff and indicated the job will not affect the town tax rate or water and sewer rates. He said it will be funded primarily from the water and sewer accounts.

“We have seen what Andrew has been able to deliver and his thorough knowledge of the Sensus Flexnet system, water meters, and billing software the town has deployed. His knowledge of governmental finances, capital project management, grant administration, community planning, and communication skills will be an asset to the Town’s growth and prosperity,” Post added. “All of these skills are critical to delivering results and helping our community grow and prosper.”

Maguire holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from St. John Fisher College with a concentration in Finance. He is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Genesee.

As a lifelong resident of Batavia, he has served as a volunteer on numerous boards, committees, charitable and civic organizations. He and his wife, Jamie, have a newborn child, Greta.

Post said it is imperative to have an experienced professional running the water and wastewater operation, which continues to increase.

“We’re looking at the administration of over 3,000 water/sewer customers that we’re now serving in nine communities that we contract with, and probably soon to be 12,” Post said. “It’s a large undertaking and we need the staff for the future if we’re to be sustainable. We’ve got good growth and a lot of irons in the fire, and I am thinking that he will be an asset to the region, not just the town.”

Maguire could not be reached for comment tonight.

File photo taken by Mike Pettinella.

May 27, 2021 - 3:59pm

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Directors of the Batavia Development Corporation this morning approved a revolving loan fund grant request of $18,800 from VJ Gautieri Constructors for sidewalk replacement at Ellicott Place.

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative project will result in 10 new market-rate apartments on the upper floor of the Save-A-Lot building at 45-47 Ellicott St., as well as the rehabilitation of 18,000 square feet of vacant commercial space.

“The Ellicott Place project, located in the Batavia Improvement District and the Route 63 redevelopment corridor, is a key DRI project in alignment with the City’s Comprehensive Plan,” said Andrew Maguire, BDC director of economic development. “We’re thrilled with the progress Mr. (Victor) Gautieri and his team have made and we all look forward to the economic impact that Ellicott Place delivers.”

In his application, Gautieri, the company president, said the grant will go toward replacing the private sidewalks that are adjacent to the building, indicating that an increase in the cost of materials has put the project over its budget.

Maguire reported that Gautieri’s commitment to replacing the sidewalks is an eligible use of grant funds that cover masonry repairs, façade improvement and storefront upgrades.

The $3.1 million project received $1.15 million from the state’s DRI award to the City of Batavia.

The capital investment for the sidewalk replacement is pegged at $47,000.

In other action, the board approved a resolution to apply for a National Grid Urban Center/Commercial Revitalization grant for up to $250,000 for the Jackson Square project.

Maguire said that funding could provide for furniture and more lighting elements in the public entertainment area located between Jackson and Center streets.

HEALTHY LIVING CAMPUS PRESENTATION

The board also heard a presentation from Rob Walker, chief executive officer of the GLOW YMCA; Daniel Ireland, president of United Memorial Medical Center, and David Ciurzynski, representative of the two entities, on the progress of the Healthy Living Campus on East Main Street.

The $30 million DRI project will combine services of both the YMCA and the hospital under one roof.

BDC Board President Lori Aratari said the video presentation “got everybody a little more excited to see a visual of what this transformational project is going to bring to Downtown Batavia and how far they have come.”

She said she was impressed with video of the proposed YMCA, mentioning the childcare area, walking track on the second floor overlooking Main Street, fitness area and aquatics center.

“It’s a bright and open area that will be a totally different Y than what we have today,” she said.

Ciurzynski said the venture is a big piece of many projects that will generate new business for the city and Genesee County.

 “This is all part of a plan that will stimulate the growth of our city. Not every single project is going to be the answer to everything, but when we start stitching them together we will have something really nice after a while,” he said.

He shed a bit more light on the timetable, starting with finalizing the design as a prerequisite to obtaining approvals from planning boards and other agencies.

“We have to do an approval for the hospital piece to the (New York State) Department of Health and we’ve got our permit reviews. Hopefully, sometime in September or October we will be able to get it out to contractors for bid,” he advised.

Ciurzynski said demolition of Cary Hall will precede regrading of the site and establishment of the building pad. Once the pad is down, crews will be able to work on the foundation and utilities.

“We really would like to get some of that work done over the winter so when springtime comes, we can hit the ground running and get the building up in the air,” he said.

He mentioned that the schedule could be altered depending upon the availability and shipping of materials -- a problem in the construction industry of late.

Aratari said she is looking forward to the day when the many projects taking place in the city are complete.

“The next couple years are really going to be amazing for Downtown Batavia,” she said. “Hopefully, these will bring the community to downtown as now we’re finally getting back out there.”

Photos: Top, The sidewalks around the Save-A-Lot store will be replaced as part of the Ellicott Place project; bottom, view of the west side of the building, which is being painted bright white. The outside of the second floor, which will have 10 apartments, also has been painted. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

April 2, 2021 - 3:09pm

savarino_1.jpgEllicott Station.

The concept was born five years ago when Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corp. at the time, introduced Samuel Savarino, chief executive officer of Savarino Cos. of Buffalo, to an excited group of municipal leaders who gathered at the site of the former Santy’s Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna construction company on Ellicott Street.

Savarino proceeded to announce that his firm was selected to repurpose the 3-acre parcel in the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area into a development featuring office, retail, residential and entertainment space.

Fast forward to today and one would assume that not much has happened since that March 2016 press conference. To passersby, the location looks the same -- run-down buildings with broken and boarded up windows; an eyesore, to say the least.

Behind the scenes, though, much has taken place. And Savarino, in a telephone interview today with The Batavian, said that the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” is in clear view.

Closing Could Happen in May

“I expect there will be a date in May when there will be a closing,” Savarino said.

What that statement means is Savarino believes that New York State Homes and Community Renewal, which is allocating around $5 million in low-income housing tax credits to the project, may be at a point where lawyers can sit down, pull together all of the financial pieces and set the stage for demolition and construction.

“The closing with HCR (is the next step). The day after that we will be out there working; maybe a little bit before that, actually,” he said.

Savarino said the parameters of the venture have not changed.

The $22.5 million project calls for construction of a five-story apartment building with 55 new, modern workforce housing units, as well as a brewery, restaurant/beer garden and potential further development on 3.31 acres. It is expected to create 20 jobs in the city’s downtown area.

Resurgence Not Part of the Brew

He did report, however, that Resurgence, a Buffalo-based brewery, is no longer part of the plan.

“They sort of timed out,” he said. “We’ve got another plan in there for a brewery, and we’ll probably have a hand in operating it.”

Savarino acknowledged that he has heard the grumblings from city officials and others about the time that has elapsed since the initial announcement, but he said he let people know from the beginning that “we had our work cut out for us.”

“I said that it would take quite a while because we had, by our initial calculations, between a $5 million and $8 million gap in funding to make the thing work. There was a lot of work that had to be done to close that,” he said.

“We had one path we were going on with new market tax credits and after a year and a half or two years of heading down a path toward closing, and we were informed by the state that that wouldn’t work.”

Housing Tax Credit a Big Factor

He said his company was able to pursue a different strategy involving the acquisition of low-income housing tax credits.

“We identified the funds and brought them in, and closed the gap and have done what we said -- that we would work hard to do (this) from the beginning. I know that it has taken a lot of time to do it, but we’re on the cusp of beginning construction over there and overcoming the challenges that we had.”

In September of last year, HCR announced an award of $5.7 million in low-income housing tax credits for the project, but since then, that amount has been reduced, Savarino said.

“Part of the delay beside COVID and HCR is that the market had changed. One of the things we needed to have is an investor for the low-income housing tax credits that we have. But because of COVID and other things, the market kind of fell out for things like that,” he advised.

He said the market has recovered to a certain extent – and he has lined up the necessary backing from financial institutions. But that $5.7 million figure is now closer to $5 million.

“We did not get as much in the sale of the credits as we had anticipated, so it’s costing us some money out of our pocket,” he said. “But we made the calculation that even though it is costing us many hundreds of thousands of dollars more, to delay this any further would cost us more still, and that we would be disappointing a lot of people by losing the season and we don’t want to wait any longer.”

Several Funding Sources

The Ellicott Station project will be getting $425,000 from Batavia’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award and has been approved for $3.6 million in tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. Back in December 2016, it was awarded a $1.9 million Consolidated Application Grant through the Finger Lakes Regional Development Council.

Savarino said that the entire deal closes at the same time.

“There’s funding coming in, there’s private financing that comes into it. So, there’s a lot of moving parts, but it all comes together at a project close. After that, you can start (construction),” he said.

He said that his company has done everything it could to prepare for the financial closing, including required remedial work connected to the Brownfield applications.

“There are literally hundreds of matters that have to be attended to … prior to the closing. The good thing is that we have been at this so long that a lot of those things have been taken care of,” he noted.

But as far as shovels in the ground, nothing yet.

“When we have been notified of any issues, we have done our best to attend to them over there,” he said. “And I think we boarded up some windows and secured the fence a couple of times. I will tell you that I know some people are impatient for some activity on that site.”

Savarino said he hopes to learn the actual closing date with HCR, but realizes that the agency is dealing with many other projects across the state.

“Although we have to seek the permission of HCR to do this, I have said to people in the city that once we know we have a closing date, we can do things like let contracts out for the work and actually have equipment on the site on the day of the closing,” he said.

HCR to Decide When Things Advance

He said his company may be allowed to demolish the old garage and the Santy’s building ahead of or right after closing, but emphasized that HCR is calling the shots.

“We don’t what to get ahead of the state in this – HCR – by announcing when we’re going to start and things like that,” he offered. “Every time we do, we hear from them. We have dealt with them on several other projects. We have done our part to reach the closing, and it’s just a matter of scheduling it.”

Locally, the Batavia Development Corp. continues to be a player in the project, and Andrew Maguire has been the director of economic development for the city-supported agency since November 2019.

“The BDC continues to work with the developer of Ellicott Station -- Savarino Companies,” Maguire said. “The proposed project aligns with Batavia DRI investment strategy and the Batavia Opportunity Area plan to advance redevelopment of strategic sites in the city. Ellicott Station is one of the key sites identified.”

File photo: Sam Savarino addresses City Council, November 2016.

April 1, 2021 - 2:53pm

In modern and jazz dance terms, the Batavia Players’ Main Street 56 Dance Company is just a “fan kick” away from the start of a new era at its new home at 35 City Centre.

Project Manager David Ciurzynski, of Ciurzynski Consulting LLC, of Attica, today said that the $417,000 award from the New York Main Street Anchor Grant Program to the Main Street 56 Theater and Dance Company project likely will allow the dance studio portion to open for business sometime in June.

“(The funding) is going to allow us to design and build a new façade on the front of the building so you won’t have that old ‘mall’ look, and it will also help us with the lobby space in the areas that we had cut back on our design to fit into our budget,” Ciurzynski said. “So, it really balances out the project and allows us to complete it properly.”

Ciurzynski said interior drawings are almost done and building permits for the dance studio have been received.

“People at the mall may have seen some activity there as we have put up the drywall and installed some doors for the dance studio,” he said. “With that being said, we’re hoping to have it open in June.”

As far as the theater is concerned, he said design development drawings are expected by the end of the week “so we can start looking at finalizing the budget for that, getting permit review and get that bid out.”

Ciurzynski said he anticipates the theater being complete by the end of the year.

The Batavia Players has hired Thompson Builds of Churchville as the general contractor.

The project is being funded by a state Downtown Revitalization Award of $701,750, the recent NY Main Street Anchor Grant and a fundraising campaign.

“Part of the budget is being covered by volunteer labor as well,” he said. “It’s getting easier because we have funding; work is getting done. This is a real thing now for people.”

Ciurzynski said his involvement in the project has opened his eyes to the Batavia Players’ contributions to the community.

“It has been just an honor to work for these people. I never realized how many children and how many families that they reach through their educational and dance programs,” he said. “These are programs that people will be able to use during the reduced school times for their art classes for school. It’s really a big benefit to have this right in the middle of our city.”

In related action, the Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors this morning formally approved acceptance of the $417,000 grant, which is awarded through the Housing Trust Fund Corporation and the Office of Community Renewal, to rehabilitate 14,000 square feet of vacant space for the theater.

Healthy Living Campus Update

Ciurzynski is representing Rochester Regional Health and the GLOW YMCA on the development of the Healthy Living Campus in Downtown Batavia – a $22.5 million project funded by a $4 million DRI award, $7.5 million grant from the Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program II and a local fundraising campaign.

He said the project is at the design development stage, which means that the submittal of site plans to county and city planning boards isn’t too far away.

“We need to make sure we have all the funding sources in place … and also the material pricing and availability,” he offered, adding that he hopes that work will be bid out and some construction will start this fall. “We will try to balance that all out with the market, which is extremely difficult right now to do on a large project like that. Steel and copper pricing is unstable right now, and we just have to make sure that we can minimize its effect on our project.”

Ciurzynski said the plan is to take down Cary Hall on East Main Street, construct a new building and move the current YMCA operation into it.

“After that, we’ll take down the old Y,” he said. “It’s a good 12 to 15 months’ worth of construction for the new Y. If we start late this year, it will be late 2022 or early 2023 before that building comes down.”

He also said he would like to see the Office for the Aging (which is attached to the current YMCA) be a part of the Healthy Living Campus.

“We’re in talks with the Office for the Aging but right now the plan is to keep it where it is. That’s a work in progress. We would have to develop a plan to separate the building, and put in new utilities to make sure it is operational,” he said.

“The hope would be that we could find a way to incorporate them into the overall campus and save people money and be able to provide the same services and make the buildings work all at the same time.”

Calling it a “dynamic process” due to the fact that the venture includes two nonprofit organizations and the City of Batavia, Ciurzynski said it will take “time, patience and understanding to bring all the parts and pieces together.”

“But when we’re done, it is going to be a very transformational program in the center of our city that will provide much for health care and wellness for youth and seniors,” he said.

Previous: Healthy Living Campus consultant: Access to services at forefront of large-scale Batavia projects

March 25, 2021 - 12:14pm

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corp. is pleased to announce a New York Street Anchor Grant for $417,000 for the Batavia Players Inc. Main Street Theater 56 project.

The Batavia Development Corporation and Batavia Players Inc. were successful in being awarded a New York Main Street Anchor Grant through the Housing Trust Fund Corporation and the Office of Community Renewal to assist the Main Street 56 Theater project.

Batavia Players, a not-for-profit organization for more than 80 years is the longest continuing regional theater company in New York State. The mission of the Batavia Players Inc. is to bring affordable theater to the community by making theater accessible to everyone with a variety o fquality productions that enhance artistic growth of participants and encourage audiences to think, feel and develop an appreciation for theater.

“The new Main Street 56 Theater project and our Board of Directors are humbled and very appreciative of this grant," said Patrick Burk, president and executive director of the Batavia Players. "We have all been heartened by the continued support for this project, which will genuinely affect our downtown community and the City Centre property in such a positive manner.

"This will allow us to build a beautiful, state of the art facility in our city as well as continue to bring many visitors and theater patrons to see our performances and support other downtown businesses. We could not be more excited with this new development. Our project has been blessed by the support of a lot of people who genuinely care and have been with us from the start. I would like to thank City Manager Rachael Tabelski, the City of Batavia, the Batavia Development Corporation and all of our partners for their ongoing dedication to our project." 

The Main Street 56 Theater and the Main Street 56 Dance Company will occupy a vacant and underutilized space in the City Centre. The City of Batavia and the Batavia Players will rehabilitate approximately 14,000 square feet of tiered space into the state-of-the-art performing arts center, educational facilities, dance, and set development with a Main Street entrance at 35 Batavia City Centre.

This project will leverage grant funding from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant program and the New York Main Street Anchor Grant program.  

“The BDC has proven successful in obtaining grant funds to continue to revitalize the City’s commercial hub," said Eugene Jankowski Jr. City of Batavia Council president. "Delivering the Main Street Anchor Grant for the Main Street 56 Theater project is another example of City and BDC working together to deliver on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) goals of arts and culture for the City."

In alignment with the Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Investment Strategy the Batavia Players will foster and promote more arts, culture, entertainment, healthy living, wellness and prosperity. Filling vacant and underutilized structures has been a common goal across many of Batavia’s planning efforts as identified by the Brownfield Opportunity Area and The City’s Comprehensive Plan. 

“There are many catalytic and complimentary projects happening in our Downtown and this is one of the many," said Andrew Maguire, director of Economic Development for the Batavia Development Corporation. "Projects like Main Street 56 Theater will create more vibrancy, help increase commerce overall, and will deliver a better quality of life.

"We are thankful to New York State, the Office of Community Renewal and Homes and Community Renewal, along with all the other New York State agencies that continue to invest in the revitalization of Batavia.” 

The Batavia Development Corporation excited to be awarded this New York Main Street Grant," said Lori Aratari, president of the Board of Directors for the Batavia Development Corporation. "The New York Main Street Grant program is very competitive and the Batavia Development Corporation continues to be successful in identifying and executing grant opportunities that help projects, like the Batavia Player’s, for the betterment of our community."

The Batavia Players Inc. and Main Street 56 Theater consists of a dedicated group of professionals and community members whom have brought theater and the performing arts to our community. They are unique in New York State with their ambitious schedule of performances while maintaining a high level of quality and diverse productions.

For more information regarding the Batavia Players Inc., Main Street 56 Theater, and Main Street 56 Dance Studio, please visit www.bataviaplayers.org.

June 20, 2018 - 8:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., batavia, business, news, notify.

The Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors agreed this morning to hire Rachael Tabelski as the new economic development director, replacing Julie Pacatte, who left a couple of months ago to pursue a new job opportunity.

Tabelski is a Batavia resident and has been marketing and communications director for the Genesee Economic Development Center for more than seven years.

Board President Pierluigi Cipollone, who served on the search committee, praised Tabelski as clearly the most qualified among a field of five candidates, that included two from Buffalo, one from Texas, and a native New Yorker from the Finger Lakes region who currently works in Massachusetts.

"She came to the interview very well prepared," Cipollone said. 

He said she had a spreadsheet of all BDC's projects, worked side-by-side with Pacatte on preparing the city's successful bid for the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative project, and clearly understands economic development.

The job offer to Tabelski, with a salary of $67,000 annually, which is $2,000 more than the BDC paid Pacatte, was approved unanimously.

"It's a no-brainer," said Board Member Steve Pies. "She is well versed in our projects and she is passionate about it.

The fact that Tabelski has been working with Pacatte on city projects as part of her job with GCEDC makes her a perfect fit for the job.

"There will be no hiccup," Valle said. "She is knowledgeable about everything. She has a great vision and goals, and she's fantastic."

Tabelski is married to City Council Member Adam Tabelski. Cipollone said the only conflict of interest will be for Adam Tabelski will be on votes related to his wife's compensation. He will need to recuse himself on those issues when they came before the council.

In the discussion, board members questioned whether the compensation was appropriate. Cipollone said that based on his research the salary range in similar-sized cities in the region is $70,000 to $90,000, so the BDC is on the low-end of the scale, he said.  

That prompted Steve Casey to ask if, notwithstanding her ties to the community, a low salary might encourage her to move on to another job sooner rather than later. Cipollone noted the BDC has limited funds to work with and anything paid in salary would mean less available for projects.

Rachael Tabelski will start her new job July 6.

May 30, 2018 - 10:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., downtown, business, news.

The Batavia City Council is willing to put something on paper expressing support of the Batavia Development Corporation but it can't make a commitment to funding the economic development agency for five years.

The BDC, through its president, former City Councilman Pier Cipollone, was seeking a five-year funding commitment from the council. Cipollone said without long-term support by the council, recruiting a new executive director will prove to be difficult.

“We need to provide some form of stability in the organization to hire a qualified candidate,” Cipollone said.

The executive director’s position has been vacant since the resignation a month ago of Julie Pacatte.

In making his case for the five-year commitment Cipollone cited the agency’s track record of attracting state and federal grants to spur development and the management of its own revolving loan fund to help local entrepreneurs. 

“For every $1 invested in the BDC,” Cipollone said, “the city has over $30 returned in public and private investment.”

Council President Eugene Jankowski explained that individual councilpersons were prohibited from making financial commitments beyond their individual terms of office. He then suggested that council adopt a non-binding “letter of support” for the BDC and place the item on the agenda for the next council business meeting June 11.

Among the accomplishments for the BDC during Pacatte’s tenure was the creation of several new residential units downtown, which have remained at full occupancy since going on the market, the conversion of the former Carr’s Warehouse into a mixed-use office space and apartment complex, and the opening of FreshLAB/Eli Fish Brewing Company.

The largest project still pending, however, is the Ellicott Station development, in which Savarino Companies plan to convert the former Della Penna and Santy’s properties into apartments, offices, and a brewery restaurant for Resurgence Brewing out of Buffalo. The groundbreaking for that project has repeatedly been delayed.

Cipollone addressed some of the frustrations and concerns over project delays and said it’s a very complex project. Because of the environmental problems at the site, there are multiple funding mechanisms from the state to help alleviate those above-market costs. Savarino is also using a complex private-equity-funding vehicle, which adds to the complexity of closing the funding.

The best the city can do, Cipollone suggested, is wait for Savarino to close funding. There isn’t, at least right now, a better option.

“It’s the only hope I’m aware of,” Cipollone said. “We had put it out to bid, and Savarino was the one viable company. They’ve done similar work in Buffalo where they’ve taken on a dirty site and have done an excellent job with them, so they’re used to dealing with this type of grief.”

In other council business, a draft resolution to fund the restoration of the Redfield Parkway entrance pillars failed to be moved to the next business meeting. Council instead asked interim City Manager Matt Worth to research other options to fund the project that has been estimated to cost between $57,000 and $67,000.

The Batavian's news partner WBTA assisted with this story.

April 13, 2018 - 11:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in bdc, Batavia Development Corp., batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corporation accepted the resignation of Julie Pacatte, economic development director in charge of economic development for the City of Batavia. Pacatte has accepted a position for a private-sector employer located in New York’s Capital District Region. 

“To say that she will be missed is an understatement, Ms. Pacatte was instrumental in a number of initiatives to improve the economic environment in Batavia,” said Pierluigi Cipollone, president of the Batavia Development Corporation. “She has advanced economic development in the city to new levels and facilitated more than $30 million in pledged investment into the city."

Pacatte was successful in leading the way to develop the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2), a first in the state PILOT Increment Financing (PIF) district that diverts new PILOT payments from three tax jurisdictions (City, School, and County) to develop the most blighted and impoverished areas of the city.

The program was developed following the city’s success in creating the Brownfield Opportunity Area and identifying sites primed for investment. These efforts lead to the attraction of $20 million investment pledge by Savarino Companies at the Ellicott Station brownfield site. 

Pacatte led efforts to craft the successful $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative (DRI) application, was the driving force behind the BDC’s Public-Private Partnership, the freshLab restaurant incubator, as well as an administrator for loans and grants to aid new and existing businesses in the city.

She has helped bring the BDC to solid ground and advance our mission of new economic opportunities in the city of Batavia. The BDC still has much to do and will continue to work in the city helping small businesses, ensuring that the Savarino project can break ground this summer, working to advance development at Creek Park, assisting DRI project winners and working with all economic development partners in county and across the region. 

“Thank you, Ms. Pacatte for your passionate efforts to make Batavia a better place to work, live and play and I wish you continued success in your future pursuits,” Cipollone 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.

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 11, 2016 - 9:14pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, Batavia Development Corp..

City Council tonight (Oct. 11) unanimously passed a resolution supporting the redevelopment of Ellicott Station, a move that officials of the Batavia Development Corp. hope spurs Empire State Development to act favorably and quickly on the BDC's request for $2.4 million in grant funding for the project.

"We intend to send this resolution to the agencies (ESD and Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council) to show more support and solidarity," BDC Coordinator Julie Pacatte said.

Pacatte was referring to the collaboration among the City of Batavia, Genesee County, Batavia City School District and Genesee County Economic Development Center, which joined together to commit a percentage of payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTS) to a unique program known as Batavia Pathway to Prosperity.

BPP and anticipated capital grants from the ESD -- $1.9 million through the Consolidated Funding Application and another $500,000 from Restore NY -- have paved the way for Savarino Companies of Buffalo to commit to investing millions of dollars into turning the former Santy's Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna construction firm site on Ellicott Street into a vibrant entertainment/office/apartment complex.

The resolution is meant to "reiterate the importance of this $17 million investment in a highly distressed area of the city experiencing 32 percent poverty and nearly 7 percent unemployment," Pacatte said. "We urge New York State to enable us to implement the plan in which they sponsored."

The Ellicott Station project is listed as a Five-Year Pipeline Initiative by the FLREDC within its 2016 progress report and recommended priority projects, which focus on mixed-use development, poverty levels and leveraging private investment.

Pier Cipollone, a BDC board member and former City Councilman, said that "closing the gap" in funding by obtaining these grants must happen before Savarino Companies can put its plan into action.

"If we can get moving on this, then we can turn some of these other sites around," he said, noting that the BDC has identified four other areas in the city (City Centre Mall, United Memorial Medical Center/YMCA corridor, Creek Park behind Falleti Ice Arena and the Harvester Center) for redevelopment.

The four-page resolution traces the city's now seven-year effort to revitalize Batavia's Brownfield Opportunity Area. It emphasizes that both of these grants are "necessary to advance the Phase I component (envirnmental assessment, cleanup, engineering costs, etc.) of the Ellicott Station project and will be matched by substantial private equity investment and significant local resources through the BPP program."

City Manager Jason Molino said that Savarino Companies will be responsible for about 70 percent of the project's total cost.

Pacatte, in a memo to Molino, wrote that Ellicott Station will create arouind 145 temporary construction jobs in which Savarino has committed to hiring some local unemployed workers. When finished, she noted, the project should result in 160 permanent jobs earning $6 million annually, while generating $500,000 in downtown consumer retail demand and $335,000 in sales tax annually.

She added that total assessed value will increase thirtyfold, and that values of properties within a half mile will improve by 10 to 15 percent.

Pacatte said that Savarino Companies has lined up some tenants and prospects, and she expects an announcement to be made in the near future.  

In other developments, Council:

-- Received word from Molino that the city was one of 76 municipalities to receive an "Operation Keep Our Home" grant available through a settlement by the state's Attorney General. Municipalities with at least 5,000 people and a minimum of 100 vacant homes were eligible for the program.

Molino said the $66,500 award will be used to combat "zombie" and vacant properties along several fronts -- the use of foreclosure prevention counselors, hiring an MBA graduate assistant to collect data on vacant homes in the city, working with agencies such as Habitat for Humanity, marketing, purchase of computer and software to keep track of properties, and to revise city codes relating to neighborhoods.

-- Authorized eight transfers from the city's assigned fund balance to the following dedicated reserve funds for future purchases, renovations, repairs and obligations -- police capital equipment, fire capital equipment, public works capital equipment, Dwyer Stadium, public facilities capital, capital sidewalk reconstruction, administrative services equipment and software, and employee benefit accrued liability.

-- Approved an agreement with Wells Fargo that allows the city to hire a contractor to demolish the single-family residence at 23 Columbia Ave., which has been vacant for quite some time and has numerous code violations, and then receive reimbursement from Wells Fargo for all costs associatied with the demolition (estimated to be around $25,000). 

"Preferably we would like them (banks) to demolish these types of homes rather than us, but in this instance this may be quicker," Molino said.

Molino said the condemed property on Columbia Avenue is "outside the ordinary" and this method could be used again to put pressure on lending institutions to meet their responsibilities.

-- Extended a contract with Environmental Solutions (U.S.) Ltd. to continue its removal of alum sludge from the Wastewater Treatment Plant off Pearl Street, action that adds $400,000 to the cost but still keeps the project under the original budgeted amount of $2.1 million.

-- Approved, by a 7-1 count, with Rose Mary Christian dissenting, a resolution to submit a request for a NYS Department of Transportation grant to construct sidewalks, high-visibility crosswalks and handicapped ramps in the areas of UMMC, downtown, Batavia school properties, NYS School for the Blind and Austin, Centennial and MacArthur parks. Council agreed to pay 25 percent (5 percent more than required) of the cost to better its chances of receiving funding.

Christian said she voted against it because the proposal did not include funding for any sidewalks in her Sixth Ward.

-- Voted in favor of a lease agreement with Dent Neurologic Institute at 35-39 City Centre for 1,122 square feet of space at $16.50 per square foot -- or $1,851.30 per month -- for a year, with two six-month renewal options.

Molino said the lease agreement would act as a "placeholder until we have an idea of bigger development of the mall."

Dent is using about a fourth of the total space at 35-39 City Centre, which recently was foreclosed upon by the city due to delinquent property taxes. Molino said Dent's lease payments will cover all of the city's costs related to taxes, insurances and maintenance of the property.

August 16, 2016 - 8:34pm

Some of the collaborators that helped create the Batavia Pathways to Prosperity investment fund and other strategies to foster economic development in Genesee County are joining forces to launch a new project -- the START-UP Genesee "Think & Drink" Entrepreneurial Series.

Eight local and state agencies have teamed with Genesee County village business districts to offer the series, which kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 31, with a networking event celebrating the Harvester Center's 57th anniversary.

The event will run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Harvester Center, 22 Masse Place, Batavia. Those with hopes of starting their own businesses and others from the public are invited to attend the session, which will feature local food and beverage entrepreneurs.

Sponsors include Canandaigua National Corp., NYS Small Business Development Center, Mancuso Business Development Group, Batavia Development Corp., Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Genesee County Economic Development Center and Genesee Community College and Batavia Improvement District.

According to a press release issued by the GCEDC, the START-UP Genesee network can assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.

Business programs in the "Think & Drink" series will be held every few months following the launch event.

The schedule of tours, all free of charge, is as follows:

-- November, Innovation Zone, Technology-based Start-Ups;
-- February 2017, FreshLAB, Food & Beverage Start-Ups;
-- April 2017, GCC, Mastering Your Business Plan;
-- June 2017, Village of Bergen, Main Street Businesses;
-- August 2017, The Harvester Center, Maker Spaces;
-- October  2017, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Start-Ups.

For more information call Rachael Tabelski at 585-343-4866 or by email [email protected].

March 9, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, Batavia Development Corp., BEST Center.

Press release:

Calling all aspiring entrepreneurs and restaurateurs! Here’s your chance to find out if you have what it takes to achieve small business success. The BEST Center at Genesee Community College is partnering with the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) to offer a three-part “Owning Your Own Business” program designed to inspire creativity, fine-tune skills, and chart a true course to prosperity. Those interested will be able to explore, experience, and connect with resources that can help turn a dream into a reality.

“This round, we are encouraging foodie’s who are looking for an affordable turn-key space to open a restaurant AND qualify for up to $5,000 grant to get started in our new freshLAB restaurant incubator,” said Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation. “However, the series is fitting for all business prospects.”

The professionally facilitated program, “Get Underway: Small Business Ownership Series,” begins with a series of FREE one-hour workshops where participants will explore business opportunities, assessing their personal readiness to own and operate a new business. Each session will run from noon to 1 p.m. in the Richmond Memorial Library, 19 Ross St., Batavia.

The following four sessions are planned and participants are encouraged to attend each one:

  • March 9th         Do I have what it takes to own a small business?
  • March 16th       Can I earn a living through my passion? Why didn’t I think of that business? 
  • March 23rd       How much money do I need to start a business?
  • March 30th       The Sniff Test, assessing your business idea!

The sessions are FREE, you may register online at http://www.genesee.edu/best/ or at the Richmond Memorial Library before class.

The second part of the program goes beyond the basics to help participants fully develop a business concept and transition into becoming a business manager. These five, weekly Wednesday evening sessions are mandatory if participants want to access grant resources available through the City of Batavia Microenterprise Grant Program. The sessions will run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the GCC Batavia Campus. The Wednesday evening sessions also feature topical guest speakers:

  • April 6th           Trials, tribulations & skills of a successful business leader
  • April 13th          Marketing strategies to increase sales
  • April 20th          Using financial information to guide my business
  • April 27th          Learning to “manage” a business
  • May 4th             Business plan presentation and networking

The five-week course costs $125 and participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion. Registration for this course is also available online at http://www.genesee.edu/best/. Questions please contact the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) at 585-345-6380.

On a parallel path, the BDC will help entrepreneurs navigate the many options available to help fund their business start-up or expansion. Loan and grant programs are available from the city, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“We’ll meet individually with entrepreneurs to discuss the best options that match their qualifications and needs,” said Julie Pacatte, Economic Development Coordinator. “We’re very excited to introduce the new opportunity for aspiring restaurant operators, too!”

The Small Business Ownership series is funded, in part, by the New York State Office of Community Renewal Community Development Block Grant. 

See the Small Business Ownership Series program brochure and freshLAB overview attached. For more information, contact Julie Pacatte, Batavia Development Corporation, at 585-345-6380 or [email protected].

February 28, 2012 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Batavia Development Corp..

Among the accomplishments of the Business Development Corp. in 2011 was hiring an economic development coordinator, Board President Ray Chaya told city council members Monday night.

Now the BDC is getting down to the business of growing business.

Chaya and Julie Pacette presented the BDC's action plan for 2012, which includes improving the real estate market, fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and becoming a friendlier city.

The second half of 2011 was pretty good for the BDC, Chaya said -- six loans for small businesses in Batavia were approved in 2011.

"It was quiet for some time, but has picked up," Chaya said. "Julie being on the street, talking to people, is something we’ve never been able to do before, so I really think it’s going to help drive some new business."

BDC Board Member Gregg Torrey is the group's champion for improving the real estate environment, which will include pushing forward with applications for $400,000 in Main Street grants from the state.

To qualify, property owners must cover at least 60 percent of the project costs.

Pacette said the BDC has already received grant applications totaling $700,000 in project costs and is looking for more applications to consider forwarding to the state for approval.

Pacette said the BDC hopes to get the applications through the process pretty quickly.

"We don't want to miss this construction season," Pacette said. "We hope to get the money on the street working this summer."

Chaya will spearhead efforts to foster a greater entrepreneurial spirit, which could include workshops for businesses on a variety of topics.

Brenda Richardson, manager at Coffee Culture, and City Manager Jason Molino, are champions of the action plan for making Batavia a friendlier city, which covers everything from ramping up customer service training for small businesses to streamlining government processes for small businesses.

Council members seemed to react favorably to the presentation.

"It validates the point we've been saying all along," Councilwoman Patti Pacino said. "We have all of the things to make our city a place where, when you drive through you say, 'I want to live here.' It's very exciting. It's happening."

October 24, 2011 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Batavia Development Corp..

Press release:

The Batavia Development Corporation as administrator of the City of Batavia small business loan funds, has approved and closed the fourth loan this year to spur economic activity within the city. A total of $72,000 has been distributed for assistance in business start-up and acquisition, purchase of new equipment and working capital.

“Receiving this business loan has changed my life,” said Kate Gonzalez, longtime resident of Batavia and new owner of the Enchanted Florist on Main Street, Batavia. “I can not say enough good things about this program.”

Gonzalez received a $22,000 loan to use toward purchase of the successful flower shop that gives Gonzalez the opportunity to become her own boss after 25+ years of florist experience.

Last month, Sunny’s restaurant received a loan to purchase new kitchen equipment. In August, master-barber Brandon Armstrong of City Styles received start-up funds to open his shop on Ellicott Street providing hot-towel shaves and contemporary styles like unique fades and brush-cuts. And, Colin Dentino was able to add new equipment and hire additional employees to deliver professional and entertaining “fencing” classes through En Garde.

Overall, these businesses were able to hire three new full-time persons, five part-time employees and retain two jobs with these funds.

The City of Batavia now offers the only small business grant and loan program available in Genesee County allowing requests as low as $1,000 up to $50,000. Eligible applicants must be located within city limits and use funds for business activities within the City of Batavia. Contact the Batavia Development Corporation for more information by dialing 585-345-6380 or visit online at www.BataviaDevelopmentCorp.org

Photo, by Howard Owens: Kate Gonzalez, center, with her mother, Margaret Anna, left, and her daughter, Rachael Heatherman.

August 18, 2011 - 6:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Batavia Development Corp..

Press release:

Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) today announced its appointment of Julie Pacatte as the Economic Development Coordinator for the BDC. Ms. Pacatte was selected following a statewide recruitment process.

Ms. Pacatte has been involved with various aspects of economic development for the greater part of 20 years. From 1993-2003, she worked in real estate development in both Florida and Maryland. From 2003-2005, Julie served as the director of external affairs for the Schoharie County, NY, Chamber of Commerce in the Capital District region. From 2006-2010, Julie served as an economic development associate and Empire Zone coordinator for the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency prior to relocating to Clarence, NY, with her family last year.

BDC President Ray Chaya said, “We are delighted to have Julie join our team. She brings a great deal of experience and background to Batavia and we look forward to working closely with her and other groups in the community to further push the city’s economic development efforts.”

The Batavia Development Corporation is a local development corporation established in 1994 to assist with economic development, redevelopment and job creation efforts within the City of Batavia. Since 2003, the City and BDC have accessed several statewide economic development programs in order to make small business loans and grants locally. As a result, more than $1.3 million has been awarded to 80 small businesses in the city that has leveraged nearly $2.5 million of private investment. Approximately 280 jobs have been created or retained in the last seven years.

“Julie brings a breath of fresh air to our economic development plans for the city. Her experience with communities of similar size to Batavia will be great asset moving forward,” commented BDC Vice President Dan Fischer.

Ms. Pacatte will be focused on administering the city revolving loan funds, assisting with small business development and growth, industrial/mixed use development, downtown growth/revitalization and administering economic development grant programs.

Currently the BDC offers two separate small business loan programs: a loan up to $30,000 to create or retain jobs and a grant/loan program providing up to $10,000 grant/$10,000 loan targeting business owners that are low to moderate income or have at least 51 percent of their employees in the low to moderate income level.

The new economic development coordinator position was funded through a formal partnership between the BDC and the City of Batavia. The partnership between the BDC and the city calls for $90,000 annual budget for a two-year trial period offering a $60,000 salary. The city has contributed $10,000 while the balance of funds are committed from the separate revolving loan program. Ms. Pacatte’s office is located in City Hall on the second floor.

Please contact Julie Pacatte at 345-6380 or visit the Batavia Development Corporation website at www.bataviadevelopmentcorp.org for more information.

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