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Ellicott Station

September 27, 2022 - 6:28pm
posted by Press Release in news, Ellicott Station, batavia, Ellicott Trail.

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Press Release

The bike path located at endpoints of Evans and Jackson streets, South of Route 63, Ellicott Street and North of Salvation Army Family Store in Batavia will be closed to pedestrian and bike traffic for ground and civil construction activities from approximately Oct. 3, 2022 to May 31, 2023.

Traffic will be detoured around the area for the scheduled duration of the project. Local access to businesses will be maintained. Please see the attached reference map for more information.

All construction areas will be marked by barricades and road closure signs. Please abide by all signage and follow designated traffic routes. This scope of work is scheduled to start on Oct. 3 and will be completed by May 31, 2023. The typical hours of construction will be 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

September 2, 2022 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Ellicott Station, batavia, savarino companies, notify.

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Even though the end of summer is now upon us, construction marches on for as long as the weather permits.

Batavia Development Corporation Director Tammy Hathaway recently reviewed a list of projects — from completed and in progress to still in the design phase — throughout downtown.

Hunt Real Estate’s new home at 97 Main St. is set for its debut with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday while architectural and design firms are working out details for a revamped Batavia City Centre and Jackson Square.

Ellicott Station — the $22.5 million project of 55 units within an apartment complex, office suites and a restaurant/brewery is coming along, Hathaway said, sharing that she and City Manager Rachael Tabelski had taken a tour of the south side construction zone.

Standing just outside of the four-story, naked wood complex, one can hear power tools and occasionally see workers on the top floor. Peeking through the window and door cut-outs, one can see traffic along Ellicott Street and businesses on the opposite side of the street.

The project is moving along swiftly, Hathaway said during the BDC meeting at City Hall.

“It’s a gorgeous building,” she said of the defunct Della Penna site that’s part of the project.

Theater 56 will be going into the next phase of construction at its new location in Batavia City Centre, she said. BDC member Pierluigi Cipollone asked if the project was still on course for year-end completion. “As far as I know,” Tabelski said.

Other projects are underway from 99 to 216 Main Street, including a $5.25 million "Carr's Reborn" renovation, and focus has been placed on 60 Evans St., known as Creek Park LLC, Hathaway said. The LLC company is a subdivision of Batavia Development Corporation: "BDC will take ownership of  Creek Park LLC for land development," she said. "To make the unknowns known."

For example, Savarino Companies went through Creek Park LLC for its Ellicott Station project, she said. There is also a piece of property called Creek Park that sits behind the ice arena on Evans Street.

“We’re working on getting that into Brownfield development,” she said.

Brownfields are identified for potentially needing remediation to remove toxic materials from those sites. There has been some interest in the site, so far, Hathaway said, and it's unknown right now whether remediation will be required, so that will need to be explored.

“It’s been extremely exciting lately,” she said. “I have a major crush on this job.”

Three different blocks of projects have so far tallied estimated investments of $2.4 million, $66 million, and $1.14 million, she said, for all of the above sites, plus the Healthy Living campus, which is also under construction, and Ellicott Place, which has been completed on top of the Save-A-Lot building at Ellicott and Jackson streets.

A majority of the $69.4 million investment has been from private developers, with the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and New York Main Street grants providing about $10.8 million toward the cost.

“I would say to pack your hard hat and work boots because so much is going on with tours,” she said to the BDC members.

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Top Photo: Creek Park on Evans Street, Batavia, has been identified as potential development property; Ellicott Station developer Savarino Companies continues to progress toward a 55-unit apartment complex with 52 balconies, nine units dedicated to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, 37 garage parking spots and 44 surface parking spaces, a laundry room, elevator, community room, bicycle storage and an enclosed ADA playground on Ellicott Street. Photos by Joanne Beck.

August 24, 2022 - 8:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, news.

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Workers were still framing atop the third floor of the Ellicott Station apartment complex in Batavia early this evening.

The apartments are part of a $22.5 million project that includes a brewery/restaurant and office suites.

The four-story apartment building will contain 55 units, including 52 with balconies, and nine units meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. There will be 37 garage parking spaces and 44 surface parking spaces, a laundry room, an elevator, a community room, bicycle storage, and an enclosed ADA playground.

The developer is Savarino Companies, a firm in Buffalo that specializes in rehabilitating brownfield properties and old industrial buildings. 

The apartments are expected to house workforce residents with $30,000 to $40,000 in annual earnings.

For previous coverage of Ellicott Station, click here.

July 25, 2022 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, news.

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With construction season in full swing, progress on the Ellicott Station development is more visible.

Crews have begun framing apartments in the four-story complex that is part of the $25 million project. 

Besides the apartments, other buildings on the property -- a combination of the former Della Penna building and the Santy Tire location -- will include office space and a restaurant/brewery.

The four-story apartment building will contain 55 units, including 52 with balconies, and nine units meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. There will be 37 garage parking spaces and 44 surface parking spaces, a laundry room, an elevator, a community room, bicycle storage, and an enclosed ADA playground.

The developer is Savarino Companies, a firm in Buffalo that specializes in rehabilitating brownfield properties and old industrial buildings. 

The apartments are expected to house workforce residents with $30,000 to $40,000 in annual earnings.

Photo by Mike Pettinella.

May 3, 2022 - 10:15pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Ellicott Station, batavia, notify, Savarino.

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Switching gears from the fast track to market-rate housing, businessman Sam Savarino now believes that Batavia — more specifically Ellicott Station — is more about being affordable.

“It’s difficult for people to afford housing, and then there’s a shortage of quality, affordable housing,” Savarino said to The Batavian after the ceremonial groundbreaking of Ellicott Station Tuesday. “In any event, the market study showed that there was a top end of the market that people could afford to pay in this area, otherwise, it wouldn’t be successful.”

Savarino, of Savarino Companies, was joined by City of Batavia and Genesee County leaders to pitch some dirt as a symbolic gesture for the beginning phase of a 3.31-acre mixed-use redevelopment project of vacant and abandoned industrial brownfield land downtown.

Abatement, demolition of two dilapidated buildings, land remediation, reconstruction of public storm drainage infrastructure, and construction of a 55-unit apartment building is on the way toward a summer 2023 completion. The site is to also offer adaptive reuse of the building to be used as a brewery, restaurant and/or events facility, plus improvements made to a public ‘Rails to Trails’ walking trail.

The total project cost is $20.7 million for 74,000 gross square feet, four stories, 55 units, 52 balcony units, nine units meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, 37 garage parking spaces and 44 surface parking spaces, built-in laundry facility, an elevator, community room, bicycle storage and an enclosed ADA playground.

Another portion has a $4.2 million price tag and includes 11,285 square feet, 5,000 of which are for an outdoor landscaped beer garden, 25 dedicated surface parking spaces and rear access with loading dock and storage areas.

Savarino wants to build housing for people that can and will use it. And the state will help out “to close the gap” by providing housing tax credits and financing for such housing projects, he said.

“So, in return, they’re going to expect you to make sure that those rents are — remain — at that affordable rate if you don’t take advantage of what they offer,” he said.

Otherwise defined as “workforce housing,” with one and two-bedroom units, the Ellicott Street complex will most likely attract people earning about $20 an hour or below, he said. Ellicott Station should be affordable to them, he said.

“The idea being that nobody should be expected to pay more than a third of their income for occupancy that includes rent, or a mortgage, and their utilities,” he said. Part of the idea was if you’re creating jobs here, you want to have safe, modern quality housing for those workers that they can afford.”

The project is part of Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization initiative and is located within a state-designated Brownfield Opportunity Area, which requires abatements and remediation from prior use of toxic materials on the property.

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Top photo: Local government leaders literally pitch in to celebrate the groundbreaking of Ellicott Station with project owner Sam Savarino, shown in second photo; and Genesee County Economic Development Center Executive Director Steve Hyde and above, Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski say a few words in praise of the development. Photos by Howard Owens. Renderings courtesy Savarino Construction.

December 21, 2021 - 4:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, news, downtown.

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The former Santy's Tires building on Ellicott Street, which along with the former Soccio & Della Penna building, is part of a redevelopment effort downtown known as Ellicott Station, is nearly gone as construction on the $22 million project continues.

The brownfield redevelopment site has been vacant for many years and has been a challenge to redevelop because of environmental contamination.  Grants and tax abatements, about 15 percent of the project's funding, help offset the cost of environmental clean-up.

Savarino Companies of Buffalo is the project developer. It will include 55 apartments, office space, and a restaurant.

November 3, 2021 - 12:35pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

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Sessler Environmental Services of Rochester will be at the Ellicott Station project site for the next few weeks to tear down the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy's Tire Sales buildings on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

“This building (Soccio & Della Penna, photos at top) knockdown should take about a week to knock it down and load it out," John Christman said today. "And the Santy’s Tires will be probably another two weeks from today.”

Christman is Sessler's project manager for the Santy's portion of the demolition.

He said the demo of the Santy’s building won't start for a couple weeks – not until the Soccio & Della Penna structure comes down. The garage on the property has been razed.

The photo at the bottom shows a building that will remain -- earmarked for renovation as part of the $22.5 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative mixed-use venture being developed by Savarino Companies of Buffalo.

Plans call 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.

Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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October 25, 2021 - 9:29pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city council, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

Batavia City Council members and city management tonight exhibited varying degrees of trust in the Buffalo development company charged with turning the eyesore on Ellicott Street into the multi-million dollar Downtown Revitalization Initiative project known as Ellicott Station.

Council, during its Conference and Special Business Meetings at the City Hall Council Board Room, had the task of considering two resolutions in connection with the mixed-use endeavor on property that once was the home of Soccio & Della Penna Inc. construction and Santy’s Tire Sales:

  • Whether to take receipt of a $500,000 Restore New Grant that would support Savarino Companies in its demolition, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the former National Grid electric building;
  • Whether to approve a resolution requiring the developer to enter into an “undertaking agreement” that would protect the city by transferring all or a portion of the obligations of the grant to Savarino Companies.

Although City Manager Rachael Tabelski emphasized that if Savarino doesn’t perform the work, it won’t get the grant, some Council members were skeptical to the point of believing that the project will never get off the ground.

Rose Mary Christian called the Brownfield Opportunity Area in its current blighted condition as “disgusting and deplorable.”

“I don’t have any faith in this company,” she said, while voting “no” to both measures.

Fellow Council member Robert Bialkowski said he had “great concerns” as he voted yes, while Council President Eugene Jankowski agreed, but feared that squashing the grant proposal could jeopardize the start of demolition.

“It’s my opinion that there’s a lot of small, complicated parts to this project of that magnitude,” he said following the meeting. “You have a large project that’s a brownfield, and on top of it you’re trying to put together all of the funding for it. It’s not an easy task.”

Jankowski admitted that he “got his hopes up” early on when the project was submitted, but understands that outside factors such as working with New York State, COVID and cost overruns likely contributed to the delay.

“At this point, we need to give them the opportunity to start construction in November like they said, and I am going to be optimistic that that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

During the meeting, Tabelski said that Sam Savarino, company president, told her that the final closing with the New York State Office of Community Renewal, which has jurisdiction over the project, is scheduled for the first week of November.

The Batavian received that same information when talking to Savarino prior to environmental testing that was conducted on the property last week.

“I have no doubt that when they start, they will finish (the project),” she said, noting that Savarino Companies has paid the Batavia Development Corp. for the transaction of creating a Limited Liability Company and paid the city for permit fees and extension fees. “The developer does projects all over the state and he doesn’t want to lose the trust of the OCR.”

Unfortunately, after five and a half years since the announcement of the Ellicott Station residential/commercial/entertainment venture, the same can’t be said for some of those serving on City Council.

For the record, Council did vote 7-1 to pass both resolutions related to the grant.

Also, tonight, the board approved a resolution to accept a $7,500 STOP-DWI grant from Genesee County to combat impaired driving through the utilization of specified high-visibility engagement campaigns.

October 15, 2021 - 11:53am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

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Pre-construction work and environmental testing is taking place today on the grounds of the former Soccio & Della Penna Construction Co. and Santy's Tire Sales locations on Ellicott Street in the city -- the future home of the Ellicott Station project that is part of Batavia's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program.

Two employees of Savarino Companies of Buffalo, the company that is behind the mixed-use development (apartments, office, retail and entertainment space), were on site. Indications are that demolition of the buildings will start in November. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

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July 16, 2021 - 9:54am

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Although the date is a bit late in the construction season, Buffalo developer Sam Savarino nonetheless is relieved that the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal finally has scheduled the financial closing for the Ellicott Station project.

Ellicott Station, part of the City of Batavia's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, is the name given for the redevelopment of the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy’s Tire Sales properties on Ellicott Street.

“On Thursday, the HCR board met and approved the closing date for October 15th,” Savarino said this morning.

When asked if he was hoping for a summer date, he said yes, but quickly pivoted to a “here’s what comes next” mode.

“We’re making our plans to get going, so the day we close, we’re out there working,” he said. “I’m hoping that we get our remediation done in the fall, which is a big step for us. We’re planning to do that right now.”

The closing with HCR involves filing of the documents pertaining to the low-income housing tax credits and additional subsidies awarded to the project.

Savarino said the state agency is providing $1.2 million per year for 10 years in low-income housing tax credits – incentives that are tied to the developer securing an investor or investors to back the project.

As previously reported, the apartments are geared toward a mixed-use workforce with a $30,000 to $40,000 salary range for tenants.

HCR also has granted subsidies of around $5 million.

“We make what’s called a unified funding application with the state. The state assesses your request and they grant it,” he said. “You’re asking for the low-income housing tax credit (based on a formula) and you’re asking for additional subsidies that the state has to approve to aid those projects because the low-income housing tax credits are not enough. When you get the award, you get both of those.”

Savarino said he would like to get on the site prior to the closing date to start some of the abatement in anticipation of the demolition work, but that is subject to HCR approval.

He also confirmed a July 21st closing date with the Genesee County Economic Development Center to finalize the tax exemption and Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements.

The GCEDC Board of Directors approved nearly $3.7 million in benefits for the $22.4 million DRI project, which calls for renovation and construction of more than 72,000 square feet on 3.3 acres in the Brownfield Opportunity Area.

Plans include the development of 55 apartments as well as office, retail and entertainment space, leading to the creation of an estimated 30 full-time equivalent jobs.

Incentives from the industrial development agency include $850,000 in sales tax exemptions, $200,000 in mortgage tax exemptions, and $2,105,952 in property tax exemptions.

Additionally, the project will be receiving an estimated $529,492 in Batavia Pathway to Prosperity PILOT increment financing related to cleanup and site work investments on the targeted brownfield site.

GCEDC Marketing Director Jim Krencik said that the project will generate $6.10 for every $1 of public investment, including DRI funding.

Contacted this morning, Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said, "Understanding the delays with COVID and various other funding delays, I'm glad to see that it's finally going to move forward. I think everybody in the community is glad to see that it finally is going to move forward."

Batavia Development Corp. President Lori Aratari could not be reached for comment.

April 22, 2021 - 12:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, bdc, batavia, Business.

Buffalo developer Sam Savarino, who has been working for years to close financing on Ellicott Station (former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy's Tire properties), met via Zoom this morning with the Batavia Development Corp. Board of Directors and gave the members an update on the progress of the project, which should start with site cleanup soon.

April 2, 2021 - 3:09pm

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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.

January 26, 2021 - 4:21pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, bdc, Ellicott Station, freshLAB.

If you’re looking to see the value in the Batavia Development Corporation, look no further than what was accomplished through the Eli Fish Brewing Company and Newberry Lofts project that rejuvenated the former JJ Newberry building at 109-111 Main St.

That’s was the centerpiece of a PowerPoint presentation by Andrew Maguire, director of economic development for the city-supported agency, during Monday night’s City Council Conference meeting.

Maguire said his mission was to highlight the BDC’s “history of success through various programs and the economic impact they carry, current projects the BDC is working on in the city and future goals and continued economic development.”

Regarding the Eli Fish venture, Maguire called it a “transformative” project and outlined the ways the BDC played a part in its success:

  • Built in 1881, it was the original home of JJ Newberry’s store for more than 60 years. Its assessed value in 2015 was $250,000;
  • Vacant for several years, it needed substantial rehabilitation;
  • It was purchased in 2015 with the goal to rehabilitate the building and create a brewery, restaurant and seven market-rate residential apartments on the upper floors;
  • The BDC secured a $500,000 NY Main Street Anchor Grant for the proposed project and sought other funding sources, including a $100,000 National Grid grant and then secured a $67,835 USDA Rural Business Development Grant for a project inside of this project.

“It was a first of its kind in our area – two restaurant incubators inside of brewery, coined FreshLabs, which offered cooking competition to entrepreneurs and the two winners receiving a grant, loan and incubator space inside the Eli Fish brewery to help them start their business,” Maguire said.

He reported that the project – which turned out costing more than $2 million – began in 2016 after all of the funding was secured, and that the BDC played a “critical role in project setup, capital stack (funding), and project and grant administration to see the project through to completion.”

As a result, the project was completed in 2018 and features a brewery, three restaurants and four market-rate apartments created in the vacant, historic building.

Maguire said the proof of the project’s worth is in the increase of the assessed value to $987,000, while sales tax has increased, tourism has been generated and more than 30 jobs have been created.

The Eli Fish project is one of several being facilitated by the BDC through the NY Main Street Grant, Downtown Revitalization Initiative Building Improvement Fund and Downtown Revitalization Grant, Maguire said.

He revealed a chart showing 28 projects received $11.3 million in grants but generated $54.4 million in private investment. Included are 103 residential units and 96 commercial units.

Maguire said the BDC continues to pursue other grants, such as the revolving loan fund grant, National Grid grants and USDA Rural Development Block grants, and also have attracted NYS Empire State Development Restore New York and Brownfield Opportunity Area Study grants.

These projects have increased the assessed value of the parcels by $5.79 million, Maguire reported, and noted that the Main Street Theater 56 project will generate more than $44,000 of annual rent revenue after moving into underutilized vacant parcels from the City of Batavia.

“These projects and programs create a vibrant city people want to work in, live in and play in,” he said. “… The results we have obtained and the future goals we shall obtain will carry a positive impact on our city’s quality of life for generations to come. It is critical that we do not lose sight of this and we continue to have boots on the ground to help these projects from the starting line to the finish line and continue this process for years to come.”

Afterward, Council Member Rose Mary Christian asked Maguire about the status of the Ellicott Station DRI project on the former Soccio & Della Penna and Santy’s Tire Sales property on Ellicott Street.

He said the developer, Savarino Companies, is “poised to close by the end of this quarter (March) … and plan on construction starting in early spring 2021.”

Christian praised V.J. Gautieri Constructors for their work on renovating the Save-A-Lot building across the street, but called the condition of Ellicott Station “deplorable.”

October 26, 2020 - 10:52pm

Batavia City Council members are so hungry for news that the Ellicott Station project is moving forward that even budget amendments pertaining to a couple of grants approved two and three years ago are cause for celebration.

At tonight’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski introduced a draft resolution amending the budget to reflect a National Grid Urban Corridor grant of $250,000 on behalf of Savarino Companies LLC of Buffalo. That's the developer of the $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield project on the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction company and Santy’s Tire Sales on Ellicott Street.

Ellicott Station is one of several city ventures that have been awarded funds from the state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Plans for the project were first announced more than four years ago.

Tabelski said the National Grid grant that was approved in 2018 along with a Restore New York grant for $500,000 approved in 2017 are “pass through” items that the City facilitates for the developer.

She said it was an oversight that the grants previously weren’t put into a resolution form and given expenditure and revenue account designations, and “will not affect our bottom line in any way.”

“The Ellicott Station project, which everyone has heard about for many years, was awarded two grants back in 2017 and 2018 – one from Empire State Development called the Restore New York grant and that is a $500,000 grant to rehab the old electric building that’s on that site,” she said following the meeting. “That will be rehabilitated to house a microbrewery business, and the city has had success with Restore New York grants in the past. That will come to Council at the next Conference meeting next month.”

She said tonight’s National Grid resolution recognizes the city as the applicant “but the work will be done by Savarino Companies.”

“The grant is for $250,000 to enhance the Ellicott Trail on the property area right behind the Savarino campus,” she said. “The trail will be enhanced with lighting, benches, (and) there will be parking areas there as well for people to utilize the trail starting in that area. The hope is that they will also use the restaurant and brewhouse that will be on that site.”

Tabelski said the grant funds won’t be turned over to Savarino Companies until the specific projects are completed.

Council Member Rose Mary Christian expressed that her patience (and apparently that of her colleagues) has been wearing a bit thin, waiting for some activity on the large parcel that is plagued by unsightly buildings with broken windows.

“We’re still up in the air (on this),” Christian said. “I just want to be sure it’s going to go through.”

Tabelski said that Samuel Savarino, the company’s chief executive officer, is looking to close on the entire project in November and December and will be required to have all of his ducks in a row at the closing.

On Sept. 16, The Batavian broke the story that Savarino Companies received nearly $5.7 million in low-income housing tax credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Savarino called the HCR award “a critical component, which all the other commitments of the project which are in place have been waiting for.”

He said he hoped to start construction “anywhere between the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.”

Savarino’s plan is to construct 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.

Cost Adjustment Necessary

Council also moved to its Nov. 9 Business Meeting a resolution approving a contract increase of $26,013 for the creation of Ellicott Trail, a 9.7-mile bike and walking route that snakes through the city and down from Williams Park to Seven Springs Road.

The $1.7 million project was mostly paid by state Department of Transportation funds, with the City of Batavia and Town of Batavia sharing about 10 percent of the cost.

A complete analysis of the final expense indicate that the city owes $196,763 -- $26,013 more than the budgeted amount. The resolution authorizes the city to use some of its Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funding to make up the difference.

Public Works Director Matt Worth said the city has a large enough CHIPs balance to absorb the additional cost without affecting future scheduled projects. He also said that maintenance of the trail should be minimal – mostly labor to periodically regroom the trail (adding stone dust when necessary).

Council Member John Canale commented that Ellicott Trail is becoming “the gem of the community,” adding that its popularity has proved the “naysayers” wrong.

Other Items Move Forward

The board also advanced resolutions pertaining to the Jackson Square DRI project, Carolwood Drive Extension, natural gas commodity contract, amending the municipal code to include public garages in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit, acceptance of a STOP-DWI “crackdown” award and Rotary Club grant for kayaking activities at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.

Watch for details on those projects on Tuesday on The Batavian.

Previous story: City Council set to receive update on Jackson Square project consultant selection process

September 17, 2020 - 11:04am

Update: 1:30 p.m. with comments from Steve Hyde, president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

"Through the support of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, more than $60 million is being invested in Batavia through brownfield redevelopment, historic building renovation, and new construction.

"In this instance, we deeply appreciate the funding support by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal for Ellicott Station. The agency is a tremendous partner in helping to revitalize our community. HCR's support for transformational projects like the redevelopment of Ellicott Station is another significant step forward for our community's continued growth."

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Buffalo developer Samuel Savarino this morning said the allocation of nearly $5.7 million of low-income housing tax credits for the Ellicott Station project is the key to moving the project forward.

“This is the critical component and major milestone,” said Savarino, chief executive officer of the Savarino Companies of Buffalo.

Savarino said that the commitment from New York State Homes and Community Renewal will enable his company to “get the investment in for the tax credits, which we are working on right now.”

“Closing and commencement of construction could occur anywhere between fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year,” he said. “That depends on a number of factors, including New York State being ready to close. We’re not the only transaction they have.”

The $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield development project on the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction company and Santy’s Tire Sales on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia has attracted other funding streams and tax incentives since being announced more than four years ago.

Savarino said the HCR award -- reported first on The Batavian -- is a “critical component which all the other commitments of the project which are in place have been waiting for.”

“We’re very pleased to have gotten the award. There are an awful lot of projects and an awful lot of communities competing for these awards, so I think it speaks well (for) not only the project but (also) the efforts of everybody in Batavia. It certainly is good news,” he said.

It is anticipated that construction could last for up to a year and a half.

Andrew Maguire, director of economic development for the Batavia Development Corporation, expressed his thanks to HCR and the Housing Trust Fund Corporation for their continued support and investment into the City of Batavia and its downtown.

“HCR has also provided the city several New York Main Street grant programs in the past that were executed successfully,” he said. “Most recently, the City of Batavia was successful in obtaining an award for another round of New York Main Street grant funding in the tune of $300,000.”

Maguire said state funding sources “will continue to help building owners complete rehabilitation projects with a focus on additional residentials units, which is an identified need in our city and county.”

“As we continue to see increased economic development in our city with catalytic projects like Ellicott Station, and many other projects coming to fruition, HCR, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and many other state agency programs have been an integral part of that process,” he noted.

Previously: BREAKING: NYS Homes and Community Renewal approves $5,691,573 award for Ellicott Station​

September 16, 2020 - 10:34pm

The New York State Homes and Community Renewal agency has approved an award of $5,691,573 for Ellicott Station, a mixed-use brownfield development project to be built on the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction company and Santy’s Tire Sales on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

Minutes from a July 14th teleconference meeting of HCR’s Housing Trust Fund Corporation, a subsidiary public benefit corporation of the NYS Housing Finance Agency, reveal that Savarino Companies of Buffalo, project developer, was one of 19 initiatives receiving assistance.

The minutes also indicate that the committee members "hereby provide that this authorization will lapse after 360 days if a closing on all sources of construction financing sufficient to complete the project has not occurred."

The plan for Ellicott Station, with a price tag of $22.5 million, is to construct 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.

The venture has received funding ($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.

In December 2016, the project was awarded a $1.9 million Consolidated Application Grant through the Finger Lakes Regional Development Council. It was introduced to the public by Batavia Development Corporation officials at a press conference nine months earlier.

A telephone call and text message to Chief Executive Officer Samuel Savarino have yet to be returned.

Batavia's Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski said that Savarino Companies have paid all of the building permit fees to the city, a sign that activity could be underway in the near future.

According to its website, the HTFC’s mission is to further community development through the construction, development, revitalization and preservation of low-income housing, the development and preservation of businesses, the creation of job opportunities, and the development of public infrastructures and facilities.

Financing resources include agency-issued tax-exempt, taxable, and 501(c)(3) bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and subsidy loans.

The HTFC also authorized a $4 million award to Home Leasing LLC of Rochester for its Liberty Square project, a 55-unit, four-story apartment building that is under construction on a parcel of land that had been the site of homes at 552, 554 and 556 E. Main St., Batavia.

Twenty-eight of the apartments will be set aside for homeless veterans with the remainder designated as affordable for lower-income residents.

The total cost of that development is expected to exceed $12 million.

July 30, 2020 - 10:39am

Batavia Development Corporation board members this morning sounded off about the lack of security and activity at the former Soccio & Della Penna/Santy’s Tire Sales property on Ellicott Street that has been designated as the site of the proposed Ellicott Station mixed-use redevelopment project.

Initially announced to the public in March 2016, Ellicott Station is a $22 million project of the Savarino Cos., of Buffalo, headed by CEO Samuel J. Savarino. Plans call for mitigation of the three acres in the City’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, followed by construction of a 55-unit apartment complex, restaurant, beer garden and brewery.

The venture has received funding ($425,000) from Batavia’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative award and also has been approved for $3.6 million in tax abatements from the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

At today’s BDC meeting via Zoom, Board Member Pier Cipollone reported that the site is not secure and safe while fellow Board Member Steve Pies questioned why at least “one little thing” hasn’t been done to improve or clean up the property.

“I was driving by the Ellicott Station property and I noticed that the gate -- it looked like someone had knocked it through, and there were five young kids at the back of the building, the garage building,” Cipollone said. “One appeared to be trying to jimmy a window and a bunch of others were throwing stones at the top of the building.”

Cipollone said he called police, but did so “more from the position of the … building might fall on them, more than the damage to the building.”

He asked Andrew Maguire, director of economic development, to contact Savarino to secure the property.

“It’s not a safe site right now, especially for kids,” Maguire said. “The last thing we want is somebody to get hurt over there, (and) that’s why it should be closed up and secured properly.”

Maguire said he will contact Courtney Cox, project manager for Savarino Cos., and ask him to fix the gate and make sure it is locked to keep people out.

Pies said Batavia residents deserve to see some activity on the site, considering that more than four years have passed.

“So, obviously we have a new biking trail now (Ellicott Trail), which is awesome, in our community, which literally goes right by that building. I think it’s safe to say we’re in many overtimes right now with this project,” Pies said. “I never want to sound naïve because I know it’s a marathon, not a sprint; I know they all wait for the money and I know COVID and everything else, but if I’m not mistaken, Sam has verbally said, ‘This is my property and am fully committed. I still have to wait for the money, but I am still going forward regardless.’ ”

Pies said all he is looking for is a reason for people to feel confident that the project is still in the works.

“We’re asking for some little things that would go such a long way in this community – like freshening up something or doing one little thing,” he said. “And the fact that he doesn’t seem to do one little thing, when he’s completely, verbally supposedly committed and invested fully, I think at this point, it’s so questionable. Is that a fair statement, in your opinion?”

Maguire said it was a “fair statement” and promised to set up a meeting with Cox.

“Typically, in the development world you don’t see a lot of action until financing is secured,” Maguire said. “Regardless, could we see some action? I hope so.”

Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski said her staff is taking a close look at some of the agreements with Savarino, including documentation concerning an easement for the storm sewer – or grand canal – that runs under the property.

“(That’s) one of the other things that makes the development even more challenging – even more challenging than developing in a flood zone, and we just had that document updated and executed,” she said. “In terms of engagement, when we do need something and we want to work with them, (we expect that) they’re there and willing to work with us. We’re getting that on file.”

She also said the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on grant announcements. Savarino has been waiting to hear about his application for funding through the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal.

“Whatever is happening with grant programs and HCR, specifically, which is the one they’re waiting on, COVID has put us behind any type of announcements like that,” Tabelski advised. “We’re all kind of in this together waiting.”

Maguire said progress is being made despite no actual construction.

“Obviously, we don’t see dozers out there and now, after hearing what Pier had to say, apparently the fence needs to be relocked,” he said. “I will reach out to Courtney and maybe schedule a meeting next week and we can sit down and dive into this a little bit further to see what their plans are, their projections and time frames, what they’ve done, what they need. They are committed to this project.”

Cipollone left the board with a “reminder” that Savarino assured the City Planning & Development Committee after receiving planning approvals that he would secure the buildings.

“He also gave me a verbal commitment as we were walking out of the building – ‘I will board up the windows, I will start demolition on the garage,’ ” he said. “And that’s the first thing he has to do because it is physically sitting on two separate pieces of property – on the property line.”

March 6, 2020 - 4:19pm

Press release:

Projects to revitalize an important downtown corridor in Batavia and to add 22 megawatts of community solar capacity in Genesee County received approval from the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors at the agency’s March 5 board meeting.

The seven projects approved for assistance have pledged more than $45 million of capital investments.

The Ellicott Station project, a $22 million mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project in Downtown Batavia, plans to construct 55 workforce apartments as part of an adaptive reuse of a former manufacturing facility on a brownfield site that would transform a major gateway to the city, and has applied for support from the New York State Office of Community Renewal.

Ellicott Place is a $3.1 million redevelopment of 45-47 Ellicott St. by V.J. Gautieri Constructors. The project includes the construction of 10 second-floor apartments at the existing facility, along with the development of first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements.

Both projects support Genesee County’s EDGE economic development strategy for housing to support the growth of local businesses and were recognized as strategic projects in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) announced by Governor Cuomo in 2018.

Five community solar projects proposed by Borrego Solar include capital investments of approximately $21.6 million, and over 15 years are projected to produce more than $2 million to local taxing jurisdictions, including the Elba, Pembroke, and Akron school districts. Each project would also contribute $25,000 toward a community benefit agreement to support STEM education and economic development initiatives.

Borrego’s projects will be located at 3104 W. Main Street Road, 3232 W. Main Street Road and 5230 Batavia-Stafford Townline Road in the Town of Batavia and at 241 Knapp Road East and 241 Knapp Road West in the Town of Pembroke.

March 4, 2020 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in Business, GCEDC, DRI projects, Ellicott Station, ellicott place.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider final resolutions for two Batavia Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) strategic projects at the GCEDC’s Thursday, March 5, board meeting.

The Ellicott Station and Ellicott Place projects would add 65 new apartments that support Genesee County’s EDGE economic development strategy for housing to support the growth of Genesee County’s businesses and communities.

Ellicott Station is a $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project by Savarino Companies that includes adaptive reuse and new construction at 40, 50, 56 Ellicott St., a blighted property in a key gateway entrance to Downtown Batavia, and the creation of 20 additional jobs to Downtown Batavia’s business community.

Considerable brownfield remediation, site improvements, and construction is proposed, with the project proposing a five-story apartment building with 55 new modern workforce housing units, along with a brewery, restaurant/beer garden, and preparation for additional development at the 3.31-acre campus. 

Ellicott Station is requesting approximately $3.6 million in economic incentives, with a $2,105,792 property tax exemption, a $790,512 sales tax exemption, and a $180,792 mortgage tax exemption. Revenues from the project will also contribute to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity brownfield redevelopment fund.

Ellicott Place is a $3.1 million redevelopment of 45-47 Ellicott St. by V.J. Gautieri Constructors that includes the creation of and access to residential and commercial spaces in Downtown Batavia.

The project will construct 10 second-floor apartments at the existing facility, along with the development of first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements. The redevelopment of Ellicott Place is estimated to create nine additional jobs to Downtown Batavia’s business community.

Ellicott Place is requesting approximately $130,000 in economic incentives, with a $110,400 sales tax exemption and a $20,000 mortgage tax exemption.

Ellicott Station and Ellicott Place were among eight transformational investments announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as enabling the Batavia DRI’s strategy to drive new, mixed-use development, improved access to local healthcare, and transform public spaces for community use.

Final resolutions are being considered after public hearings were held for both projects on March 3.

February 7, 2020 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Ellicott Station, ellicott place, news, batavia.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved various applications for assistance at the agency’s Feb. 6 board meeting. If the applications for incentives are approved, the projects would generate approximately $49 million in capital investment in Genesee County.

The Ellicott Station project, a $22 million mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project in Downtown Batavia, would receive $3.6 million in economic incentives, including a $2,105,792 property tax exemption, a $790,512 sales tax exemption, and a $180,792 mortgage tax exemption.

The developer, Savarino Companies, plans to construct 55 workforce apartments as part of an adaptive reuse of a former manufacturing facility on a brownfield site that would transform a major gateway to the city. The project is also seeking support from the New York State Office of Community Renewal.

Ellicott Place is a $3.1 million redevelopment of 45-47 Ellicott St. by V.J. Gautieri Constructors. The project includes the construction of 10 second-floor apartments at the existing facility, along with the development of first-floor storefronts and building-wide façade improvements. Ellicott Place would receive approximately $130,000 in economic incentives, including a $110,400 sales tax exemption and a $20,000 mortgage tax exemption.

Both projects support Genesee County’s EDGE economic development strategy for housing to support the growth of local businesses and were recognized as strategic projects in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) announced by Governor Cuomo in 2018.

Mega Properties is proposing to invest approximately $3 million to build a 60,000-square-foot warehouse in the Town of Batavia at the Gateway II Corporate Park. It is the first phase for a project where the developer plans to triple the size of the facility in future phases.

Mega Properties would receive a PILOT -- Payment In Lieu Of Taxes -- valued at $400,497 as well as sales tax exemptions of $128,000 and a mortgage tax exemption of $30,000 for a total savings of $558,497.

Borrego Solar would receive incentives totaling $2.5 million for the construction of five community solar projects. Borrego Solar is investing approximately $21.6 million.

The five projects would generate a total of 26 megawatts* and approximately $2.4 million to local taxing jurisdictions, including the Elba, Pembroke, and Akron central school districts. Each project would also contribute $25,000 toward a community benefits agreement to support STEM* education and economic development initiatives.

Borrego’s projects are proposed at 3104 W. Main Street Road, 3232 W. Main Street Road and 5230 Batavia-Stafford Townline Road in the Town of Batavia and at 241 Knapp Road East and 241 Knapp Road West in the Town of Pembroke.

* A megawatt is a unit for measuring power that is equivalent to one million watts. One megawatt is equivalent to the energy produced by 10 automobile engines.

* STEM is an acronym for: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathmatics.

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