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Genesee County Economic Development Center

February 11, 2021 - 6:57pm

At first glance, one might think that a major metropolitan area such as Austin, Texas, or Phoenix, Arizona, would have major advantages over the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park – better known as STAMP – when it comes to convincing an international corporation to build a semiconductor facility in the Town of Alabama.

But not so fast, says Steve Hyde, chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, who participated in a video interview with Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, earlier today.

Hyde, when given the opportunity to “sell the STAMP site,” didn’t hesitate -- coming up with several reasons why it would be beneficial for a company such as Samsung, for example, to build a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant at STAMP.

Recent published reports indicated that Samsung was considering STAMP – as well as the Austin and Phoenix areas – for a new semiconductor plant and that the Albany-based Plug Power was planning on operating a “green hydrogen” facility at the Genesee County park.

“STAMP can really compete and they (potential tenants) have got to take a serious look at us,” Hyde said. “That’s why we’re seeing opportunities in a big way right now in the marketplace.”

Hyde backed up that statement by pointing out that STAMP is located between two metropolitan areas (Buffalo and Rochester), has a growing and hungry workforce, and has access to low-cost green energy, and also the fact that New York does not impose “personal property taxes” on manufacturing equipment – a significant savings to these mega companies.

“There are very discreet advantages here in Western New York that you want to seize upon and emphasize,” Hyde said. “And they also need to consider that against some of the challenges in a market that has been a boomtown for 25 years (speaking of Austin) … that you have incredible competition for the workforce there right now.”

He noted that in Austin, the home of Tesla, Oracle, Texas Instruments and Samsung, big companies are competing for the same set of workers.

“Plus, the infrastructure there is overwhelmed and the congestion is crazy. So, there’s some challenges there relative to workforce,” he said. “When you look at us, we’re at a distance of a mile a minute you can literally travel on the highways. And there’s a well-qualified workforce from New York’s second- and third-largest metros. And for the pay rate at STAMP (estimated at $75,000 to $100,000 annually) … those workers will drive 30 to 45 minutes.”

Hyde also said another big advantage is that New York doesn’t charge “personal property taxes.”

“All of the manufacturing equipment in Texas is taxed as personal property taxes. So, when you really look closely at it, we’re going to be really aggressive on the incentive side with the state … and will be far less expensive than Austin because we don’t tax the equipment that will be two-thirds the cost of the project,” he explained.

He also pointed out that this area has good workforce solutions, noting that area colleges, including Genesee Community College, and Genesee Valley BOCES are building degree programs for high-tech industry.

“These big projects that we’re talking about, whether it’s a big renewable project or semiconductor, (they’re) huge power users,” Hyde said. “They want green power and we’ve got the New York Power Authority and we’ve got Niagara Falls less than 30 miles away. We have some of the lowest-cost green energy available in all of North America – like half of what it costs in Austin.

“So, you look at power, you look at operating costs, our labor is about 10 percent cheaper than Austin right now because the market has run up so much. Those factors are a huge part of the cost profile of running an operation like this.”

Hyde’s comments come in the face of a story in the Buffalo-based Investigative Post that indicates Samsung is leaning toward Austin as the site for the microchip factory that would employ about 1,800 people.

According to the Investigative Post report:

  • Austin “appears to have a leg up, as it is already home to Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which has 2,500 employees;
  • Samsung has purchased 250 acres of land next to its existing facility and has applied for zoning variances, and is seeking more than $1 billion in incentives to build there. It quoted Nate Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying Samsung’s odds of expanding there are “north of 90 percent.”
  • Roger Kay, a market analyst with Boston-based Endpoint Technologies Associates, said that Austin has “the inside track” and suggested other sites, including STAMP, “are most likely involved to help the company drive up the value of incentives in Austin.”

Hyde remains optimistic, stating:

“We’ve been eating this elephant a bite at a time as capital becomes available. You know what, though, we’re finally just now arriving at the season where we built the initial pieces of the infrastructure for the site and we can accommodate smaller projects. But we’ve got all of the big infrastructure fully designed, fully permitted and fully ready to build … and now the big projects are inside that window.”

February 3, 2021 - 11:55am

gcedc_solar_1.jpg

The Batavia Town Planning Board was introduced to another community solar project on Tuesday night – a plan to install a 1.65-megawatt system on vacant land owned by the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. on R. Stephen Hawley Drive (College Road) – and, right away, was peppered with comments about the need to shield the array from a nearby home.

Planners held a public hearing in connection with a special use permit request by Batavia Solar LLC to put the ground-mounted solar farm at 99 Med Tech Drive, near the Genesee County Economic Development Center office.

James Taravella, senior civil engineer with LaBella Associates, Orchard Park, told the board that 5.63 acres of the 7.95-acre parcel, located in a Planned Unit Development district, will be fenced in for this solar array. He said the project calls for the installation of approximately 4,500 modules using a fixed access racking system.

Other features of the project include an access road with a 13- by 20-foot equipment pad and a 6 foot high chain-link fence around the entire layout. Taravella said all setbacks are in line with requirements of the PUD District – 50-foot front setback, 30-foot side setback and 40-foot rear setback.

As soon as he finished, Tim Morrow, a resident of Ellicott Street Road, asked if the owners of a home near the proposed solar array have been contacted about the project, stating that he is “looking out for the town and the community because I have the situation out by my house.”

Morrow has spoken out at previous public hearings and meetings against the Trousdale Solar I and Trousdale Solar II projects proposed for land owned by Donald Partridge at 5117 Ellicott Street Road.

Taravella: 'We're Communicating with the Neighbors'

Taravella said that representatives of Batavia Solar LLC are communicating with Robert and Michelle Wood of 8244 Batavia-Stafford Townline Road, whose home is in close proximity to the proposed solar array.

Morrow then asked if the developers planned to shield the solar farm with a berm or trees.

“At this early stage we have not put any screening but it is typical for a screening plan to be implemented as the project progresses,” Taravella said, adding that he plans to work with the Woods to “develop something that they will be happy with.”

Town Building Inspector Dan Lang informed those on the Zoom call that the Town of Batavia has specifications for its solar projects, including a decommissioning bond and a call for trees, berms and surface vegetation to ensure a view “that is as natural as possible in accordance with our code.”

At that point, Michelle Wood spoke up, acknowledging that she and her husband are the landowners.

“We really would like a berm put along the back of it – it protects us and our house,” she said. “We’re OK and in favor of a solar farm there. We would prefer a solar farm versus a cement industrial building there, so we don’t have a real problem with it. We would just like for them to come to us with what their ideas are and what they’re planning to do.”

Planners Want Extensive Screening

Later on, during the regular meeting, planners asked Taravella to develop a screening plan that shields the Wood house “not only from looking out their back window but also from their side window, over to the driveway” and asked him to create visual simulations showing as such.

Furthermore, board members requested screening around the entire project, including the view from College Road. Taravella said that is an early consideration as developers have to make sure that some of the fixed-angle panels are not shaded by trees or berms.

Going forward, Town Engineer Steve Mountain advised that developers should submit a long-form State Environmental Quality Review to provide as much information to the planning board, which then voted in favor of seeking lead agency status for the project.

Planning Board Chair Kathy Jasinski said the board will invite Taravella back after getting the SEQR form, which takes about 30 days, and talk about the special use permit.

In other action, the planning board:

  • Following a public hearing, approved a special use permit for Janice Smith, 9149 Creek Road in the Town of Batavia, to convert an existing barn in an agricultural-residential district as a venue for weddings and other events.

“I have a large barn; I have property,” Smith said. “We went through this last year with my son where he got married, and he didn’t have a place to have it, so I would like to offer that (option) to other people. We don’t really have anything like that around here so …”

Discussion centered around the number of parking spots available on the property and whether the surface would be paved or left as grass.

Smith said there would be 157 parking spots on a grass surface, adding that the ground was “completely flat” and that she didn’t anticipate any problems being that the barn would be used during the warm weather months.

Town Building Inspector Dan Lang said that he has made several visits to the site and found “no difficulties” as the ground was solid, and there also were areas of stone and gravel.

Smith also responded to a question about possible noise issues related to music being played at the venue but said there are no neighbors for miles to the east or west and the closest neighbor otherwise were her parents.

Previously, the referral was recommended for approval by the Genesee County Planning Board with modifications that the applicant provide a revised site plan with the location and number of parking spots serving the party venue; and applies for 9-1-1 Address Verification to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office to ensure that the address of the proposed event venue meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards*.

*Enhanced 911, E-911 or E911 is a system used in North America to automatically provide the caller's location to 9-1-1 dispatchers. 911 is the universal emergency telephone number in the region.
  • Approved a site plan and SEQR and declared itself as lead agency for the construction of a LandPro (John Deere sales and service company) sales, storage and maintenance facility at 4554 W. Saile Drive, near the Volvo Rents equipment building.

The venture initially came before the board in December and was also reviewed by county planners.

“I think you might be pretty familiar with the project by now. Obviously, we’re looking to go ahead and build on approximately 14 and a half acres on West Saile Drive,” said Project Designer Andrew Schmieder.

Schmieder said the project consists of a 28,000-square-foot maintenance building with about 15 bays for work on agricultural equipment and another five or six bays for work on turf equipment. He said that the main sales and parts storage facility is around 22,000 square feet and it will include office space to accommodate the transfer of administrative employees to the site.

Additionally, there will be about 7,000 square feet allocated to parts storage and LandPro officials are proposing to erect a 200- by 75-foot pole barn for cold storage, Schmieder said.

“This site lends itself very well to what’s being proposed – we’ve got a lot of room out there,” he said. “There’s an area out front to display some of their turf and ag equipment.”

Responding to concerns over increased traffic, Schmieder said he didn’t expect a significant change. He said during peak hours, they expect 10 to 15 vehicle customers per hour, and three to four cargo deliveries per day to the facility that will house about 65 employees.

Schmieder reported that there will be a minimum of 70 parking spots for employees and another 40 for retail customers, including six handicapped parking spaces.

Final approval is contingent upon final town engineering review and approval. Work is anticipated to be completed in the spring or summer of 2022.

Rendering at top (taken from Zoom meeting) shows the proposed solar project on Med Tech Drive off R. Stephen Hawley Drive (College Road), The Wood residence is at the right.

December 4, 2020 - 2:16pm

From Chris Suozzi (inset photo left), vice president of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

"Coach Swaz." That’s how a lot of people know me, even in economic development circles.

A great team, like the Buffalo Bills and all of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is built on talented players and motivated coaches. Building on our economic growth in Genesee County is achieved through teamwork.

For our youth, that coaching can build connections to careers that put them in a position where they can succeed quickly by tapping into their talents and passion. Through Genesee FAST (Food processing, Advanced manufacturing, Skilled trades, and Technician) we can mentor, educate and train our youth for career opportunities with companies across the GLOW region. This allows us to move fast in helping companies with the job demands in their respective workplaces.

I want to reference a couple of examples of how this is being demonstrated. Graham Corporation recently purchased and installed a new welding simulator for the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center’s Metal Trades Program at Genesee Valley BOCES. It is a great example of how our growing companies are building connections with students in preparing the next generation of skilled welders. I applaud Graham Corporation’s vision and support of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Andrew Geyer’s welding students at the Batavia CTE are currently training on real world scenarios and are encouraged to get even more involved with youth apprenticeships. By taking the appropriate courses, participating in relevant activities and focusing on developing their skills we are providing students the playbook for success.

In 2019, more than 1,000 students, educators and guests participated in a single-day event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds – GLOW With Your Hands. In my role as cochair of GLOW With Your Hands along with GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony, we knew our entire volunteer team had to make a dramatic pivot for 2020 because of the pandemic. And we achieved success by going virtual.

Providing students with hands-on opportunities at the GLOW With Your Hands event last year was extremely impactful. Providing that same experience this year seemed like a monumental task, but we are reaching even more kids than last year making deeper connections with the launch of www.GLOWWithYourHandsVirtual.com

Karyn Winters, the director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and Angela Grouse, director of education to employment initiatives for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, are leading all of our volunteers across the GLOW region in this effort. They once again enlisted companies to turn a hands-on event into an on-demand platform for our students to pursue great career opportunities.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual demonstrates the career pathways that our students can take in securing family sustaining jobs and, more importantly, remaining part of our community by staying here and raising their own families.

I encourage everyone who wants to see Genesee County continue to grow and prosper by putting our kids in a position to win, to please visit the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website and start discussing these careers with our youth. You can be a great coach.

Coach Swaz’s Career of the Month: Welding

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website. This month, I recommend warming up with the welding profile and seeing how welder-fabricators succeed.

Below is a YouTube video about welders and welding at Oxbo International Corp. in Byron, courtesy of the GCEDC.

October 14, 2020 - 10:06pm

A decrease in the Genesee County property tax rate and a much smaller than anticipated increase in the Town of Batavia property tax rate.

That’s the latest word from the managers of both municipalities who shared developments from today’s meetings with the legislature and town board, respectively, concerning their 2021 budgets.

“We’ve had several budget meetings with our county legislature and at this point and time I’m ready to propose a county budget that has a decrease in the (property) tax rate of approximately 31 cents down to $9.80 (per thousand of assessed value) from $10.11,” said first-year County Manager Matt Landers.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post had encouraging news as well, reporting that his current budget calls for about a 39-cent increase – from $2.45 per thousand to $2.84 – which is considerably less than the potential 88- or 89-percent increase that was bandied about a couple weeks ago.

“Everyone should thank the county legislators for their hard work to make it possible for the revenue distributions they have just made,” Post said, referring to a final 2020 payment of $6 million and a pledge to distribute $10 million in 2021 to the county’s 13 towns and six villages. “Now, we feel much better about taking $550,000 from our fund balance to make this happen.”

Both budgets are tentative and subject to change, but in all likelihood any modifications should be slight at this point.

Holding the Line Paved the Way

Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein said she was hoping that her colleagues and management would be wrong in August (when they predicted a dire outcome).

“I’m glad we were, so we could increase this amount up to 10 million dollars,” she said of the 2021 revenue distribution, which is $2 million more than previously announced. She then applauded the efforts of everyone involved, noting that she appreciated their “work and consistency and your sticking with us.”

Landers echoed her sentiments, pointing out that the moves the legislature has made over the past six months, under the direction of Stein and former County Manager Jay Gsell, “have helped put us in a (good) position and helped me to put together this budget.”

“We’ve been able to fund our roads and bridges to the level that I’d like to fund them in 2021 … and they made a lot of good decisions … on furloughs, hiring freezes, deferring capital projects, deferring acquisitions.”

In order to lower the tax rate, Landers is proposing using about $2.3 million of the county’s $15 million fund balance. He said that is necessary due to a projected 20-percent (or more) cut in aid from New York State.

“We still don’t know if there’s going to be a stimulus for governments,” he said. “The stimulus isn’t anything I am looking toward for revenue replacement; the stimulus would benefit Genesee County primarily in that it would provide revenue to the state, and the state would not have to cut us.”

A 20-percent cut in state aid translates to a $2 million hit to the county’s budget, which will come in at around $144 million.

Sales Tax Numbers Better Than Anticipated

“As you saw in the resolution tonight (at the legislature meeting where the revenue allocations were approved), we’re going to budget $10 million of revenue distribution to our towns and villages in 2021,” Landers said. “We are projecting a small reduction in sales tax, but not anything that we would have thought six months ago. There were estimates that sales tax would be down 30 to 40 percent, but now we’re projecting a 5- to 10-percent reduction in sales tax.”

With sales tax numbers better than expected, the county is able to provide $10 million next year to support the towns and villages.

Landers said he and department heads went through the budget line-by-line during a couple Saturday morning workshop sessions and he “feels comfortable at this point submitting a budget that has roughly a 31-cent decrease in the tax rate, with a levy increase of approximately $400,000 (due to an increase in the county’s assessed value).

“I wish we could do more; I wish we could reduce taxes more,” he said. “It’s one of those (situations) where I’m glad we could come to a consensus with the legislature. I’m glad that we’ve got a balanced budget that I’m going to be proposing and once it goes from my hands to the legislature, it's their ability to modify it and amend it as they see fit.”

He said he expects the legislature to “tweak a thing or two,” but is relieved to have made it this far in the budget process.

“I’m glad to get through my first budget session. I never envisioned putting one together in a pandemic and a financial crisis, but I am glad that we are able to have a stabilized tax rate for Genesee County citizens,” he said. “I understand that it is going to utilize a little more fund balance than we like to, but that’s what the ‘rainy day’ fund is for. If we potentially didn’t have a 20-percent reduction in our state aid, we might have been able to have the possibility of further reductions (in the tax rate), which would have been great.”

Landers said the county’s fund balance is at 12 to 13 percent of its general fund expenditures – the proper level according to guidelines from the state Comptroller’s office.

The spending plan will be presented at a public hearing scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Old County Courthouse. It is slated to be adopted by the legislature on Nov. 23.

Town Supervisor Breathes a Bit Easier

Post said he expects to get a good night’s sleep tonight for the first time in months after coming out of a budget workshop this afternoon at the Batavia Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

The town received word that it would be getting another revenue check from the county in the amount of $1 million this year and just shy of $1.7 million from the county in 2021.

While the $1.7 million is less than what board members originally had hoped for, it is enough for them to be able to allot $550,000 from the fund balance to lower the tax rate.

“That, plus the fact that our investments are beating the market rate by a factor of six times, puts us in position to do that,” Post said, letting out a sigh of relief.

He attributed the town’s ability to weather the economic storm to its collaboration with the county, City of Batavia and Genesee County Economic Development Center that has resulted in developing “multiple streams of income.”

“This all started 12 years ago … by incentivizing businesses that provide sales tax revenue,” Post explained. “All of these entities have collectively applied those principals to our community and we’re reaping the benefits.”

The town board has indicated it will conduct a special work session at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, prior to adopting a preliminary budget on Oct. 21. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Nov. 4.

May 15, 2020 - 8:51am

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended approval of a zoning text amendment to allow mixed-use buildings in the Town of Pembroke Interchange District, but not before a discussion on the practice of placing housing units in industrial parks.

Tom Schubmehl, a member of the planning board and Pembroke resident, said he had some reservations about the Town Board’s application to modify zoning in the Interchange District -- a wide area around Thruway Exit 48A, extending to Route 5 along Route 77.

“Is there any other district in the county industrial districts that allows residential use? Schubmehl asked, directing his question to County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari.

Oltramari said that the Interchange District was different from a traditional industrial district.

“It can have commercial and it can have industrial … it has the Flying J (Travel Center). It has other things like that and includes an industrial park from the EDC,” Oltramari said, adding that he couldn’t think of other similar areas in the county that permit mixed-use facilities.

Schubmehl said he couldn’t either and said “it is a concern of mine that we start letting residential fill in this space. It's going to be no different than the rest of Pembroke.”

“I know it has no bearing on the impact of inter-community that we're discussing here tonight as a County Planning Board, but as a resident of Pembroke, I think it's bad idea,” he stated.

$3 Million Commercial/Resident Project Proposed

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is touting a $3 million commercial/residential project at its Buffalo East Technology Park, which is situated in the Interchange District.

J & R Fancher Property Holdings LLC has proposed building a 32,254-square-foot, three-story facility on two acres in the park, and is waiting for a public hearing and GCEDC board vote on its application to receive more than $600,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax incentives.

According to the GCEDC, the project consists of 17 market-rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors, with space for four commercial tenants, as well as indoor parking and a fitness center on the ground floor.

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC vice president of business development, was on the planning board’s Zoom videoconference meeting last night, and pointed out that his agency worked with the Town of Pembroke on attracting the venture.

“They were all in favor for it,” Suozzi said. “Certainly, there's a housing shortage need in Genesee County. If anybody hasn't seen the housing study that LaBella (Associates) put out, (it’s) on the Genesee County website. And there's a big shortage of housing.”

GCEDC: 'Live, Work, Play' Model

Suozzi said the GCEDC is promoting a “live, work, play model” and that housing – particularly at industrial parks -- is an essential component in that thinking.

“And I know the location … in Pembroke is a great location because it's across from the school and already has a Tim Hortons that wasn't part of the EDC project, but it has that ability to be right next door to it and also has 7.9 acres in total that is being proposed, of which 2 (acres) are buildable and the other 5.9 are wetlands,” Suozzi offered. “They're all protected. It's a green space.”

He went on to say the project will generate tax revenue for the Town of Pembroke and reiterated that the town board is endorsing it.

Schubmehl then asked Suozzi if the GCEDC was going to consider residential at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama.

“Well, you know, if the town said yes, I would certainly look at it, but it's not really up to Chris Suozzi and it’s not up to the EDC -- it's up to the municipality,” he said, again referencing a housing shortage.

“We look at economic development as a whole, and we bring in these companies … and the workers are living in Rochester and Buffalo, (so) we’re not optimizing the economic benefit of Genesee County,” he said. “And that's what that housing studies are showing; (that) there's a big need and we're missing the boat in terms of that revenue staying right in our county.

“So, to me, this is a new world right now and housing’s a big part of it, and the 'live, work, play' model is starting to change what's going on Downtown Buffalo right now … It's because all these old factories are being recondition and rehabbed and the millennials are jumping all over them and they're seeing growth in their workforce.”

Director Promotes Mixed Use for STAMP Site

Oltramari said he could foresee mixed-use buildings at the STAMP site, especially in a technology district closest to the hamlet of Alabama.

“I could see mixed-use buildings in that because the whole point of that is sort of having like an actual link between the hamlet and the business park,” he said. “You could have commercial businesses on the bottom floor, sort of like a main street kind of scenario. And I think that's been the vision for, you know, that kind of part of the park for a while now. So, I think even the town would be in favor of that at STAMP.”

Schubmehl asked whether or not the “live, work” model was actually in the proposal in front of the board, which prompted Oltramari to say he didn’t see it as a major issue.

“I think the era of separating uses, just for the sake of it commercial from residential or, you know, the whole reasoning behind that is to keep incompatible uses apart,” he said. “I don’t see that as a reason anymore, especially in the business parks.”

Planning Board Chair Laraine Caton then asked for a vote and all members, including Schubmehl, voted in favor of the request.

“No, I'm not opposed to it for the purposes as a planning board, we’re worried about inter-community problems here,” Schubmehl said. “And that's not an inter-community problem.”

In other action, planners:

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit for Jesse and Jolene Coots of Le Roy to operate an ATV, automotive event, hill climb, mud bog and time trial course on 10 acres of a 110-acre vacant parcel of land that they own on Perry Road in Pavilion.

The applicants said they plan to hold events two or three times this year (with the schedule dependent upon the COVID-19 pandemic).

The board’s modifications focus on the applicant obtaining written documentation from NYS Department of Conservation that the project will not be encroaching on wetlands as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for the potential Federal Wetlands. It also asks that the Coots submit an application for 9-1-1 Address Verification to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office to ensure that an address is assigned that meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit request from Waifin Properties LLC of Clarence Center to operate a contractor’s yard in a Commercial District at 850 Main Road, Pembroke.

The proposed yard would encompass a 100-foot by 100-foot area on a 7.6-acre lot.

The board said the applicant is required to surround equipment and materials storage area with a fence of at least 8 feet high that has a gate, which shall be closed and locked except during working hours.

July 11, 2019 - 10:00pm

Genesee County Economic Development Center directors today accepted an application for $156,312 in tax incentives from Provident Batavia LLC, setting the stage for a public hearing, likely to take place at the Batavia Town Hall at a date to be announced.

In presenting the application to the board, Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of operations, acknowledged the company, known as SCP Distributors LLC at 4430 Saile Drive, has successfully made all of the payments required per a 2005 payment in lieu of taxes agreement and is now on the tax rolls.

“The company is doing what they said they would do,” Masse said, noting that its number of full-time equivalent employees has grown from seven to 15 over the past eight years.

Responding to a question about a New York State Subsidy Tracker report that showed that Provident Batavia LLC lost jobs in 2011 and 2012, while receiving $25,700 in subsidies, Masse said his records reveal otherwise.

“Their application at that time stated that they would retain 12 jobs, not create 12 jobs, and what happened was that it was incorrectly inputted – doubling 12 to 24,” he said, adding that the online tracking system had its share of issues at the outset.

This new request is being tied to a 13,000-square-foot addition to the existing office, warehouse and distribution facility estimated to cost the company $1.194 million, broken down as follows:

-- $1.048 million for building cost;
-- $50,000 in land/engineering/architecture;
-- $40,000 in taxable equipment;
-- $55,750 in other expenses.

The project is estimated to produce a state and regional economic impact of $594,122 and $61,516, respectively, in property taxes over a 10-year period, and would enable SCP Distributors to retain 15 FTE’s with an average salary of $38,000, Masse reported.

Company officials are seeking property tax saving of $86,774, sales tax exemption of $57,988 and a mortgage tax exemption of $11,550. Upon approval after the public hearing, the project is expected to start in August and take about four months to complete.

SCP Distributors has more than 2,000 employees and 120,000 wholesale customers worldwide, and is part of the world’s largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies and related equipment. The company is a supplier to local businesses, including Denny’s Pool World and Deep Blue Pool & Spa.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved a $10,000 contract with Clark Patterson Lee for bidding services related to the Town of Pembroke Corfu Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Masse said the Town of Pembroke and the GCEDC (or Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.) will split the cost 50/50 for the first phase of the project, which will require CPL to provide up to 20 sets of plans, specifications and contract documents to prospective bidders.

The second phase, which will be addressed at a later date, carries a $205,000 price tag for project management, construction administration, construction inspection and stormwater pollution prevention plan inspections.

-- Approved a contract with Leaton Signs for two 4-foot by 8-foot free standing signs as the Le Roy Food & Tech Park and one 4-foot by 8-foot freestanding sign at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen at a cost of $600 per sign.

-- Approved measures connected to the STAMP site in the Town of Alabama for additional surveys (Frandina Engineering & Land Surveying for $2,230), site assessments (CPL, $1,500), to remain the lead agency for an updated state environmental quality review and to dedicate the name of the main road as STAMP Drive (per a resolution passed by the Alabama Town Board).

-- Heard a report from President/CEO Steve Hyde, who expressed his disappointment in the State Legislature’s recent passing of a farm workers labor bill that is set to go to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for signing.

“It’s egregious; very damaging to our farmers,” Hyde said, mentioning that farm owners would have to pay overtime to workers after 60 hours in a week.

The bill also gives farm workers the right to one full day of rest per week, eligibility for unemployment insurance and workers compensation coverage, and the right to organize a union and to collectively bargain.

----

Hyde, following the meeting, provided an update on Ellicott Station in the City of Batavia and called upon Cuomo to step in to kick-start the City’s first big Downtown Revitalization Initiative project.

“We need the governor’s help to make this come together,” said Hyde, noting that program requirements of several state agencies are keeping the Savarino Companies of Buffalo’s plan from moving forward. “This is an opportunity to transform blighted property at the gateway of our city – (an eyesore) that reinforces poverty.”

Plans for the $20 million renovation of the former Santy’s Tire and Soccio & Della Penna property on Ellicott Street were unveiled in March 2016, but City leaders are still waiting for a shovel to be put into the ground.

Savarino Companies is proposing a mixed-use development of residential, office and retail spaces, including a brewery, small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; as well as an entertainment and event area with outside seating and a tie-in to the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

June 20, 2017 - 9:30pm

Update:

A planned public hearing at Tuesday night's City Planning & Development Committee meeting was postponed until next month to give Ellicott Station offiicals more time to deal with State Environmental Quality Review and other issues, said Duane Preston, chair of the planning board.

"We did a sketch plan review and overall it seems to be a great project," Preston said.

He said questions from the board focused on the height of the five-story apartment building -- "it will result in a bit of an up-and-down skyline," Preston said -- as well as the amount of parking and the size of a glass front facade.

---------------

No one from the public spoke at a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon at City Hall where $1.5 million in mortgage, sales and property tax abatements for the Ellicott Station project were presented.

The hearing was officiated by Chris Suozzi, Genesee County Economic Development Center vice president of business development. The completion of the public hearing now sets the stage for the GCEDC Board of Directors to approve the tax incentives as outlined in a press release below.

Samuel Savarino, president of Savarino Companies and developer of Ellicott Station, attended the public hearing, along with Julie Pacatte, Pier Cipollone and Mary Valle of the Batavia Development Corporation.

Savarino noted that he would be at the meeting of the Batavia Planning & Development Committee tonight, along with the project's architect and site engineer.

The Buffalo businessman said he has encountered numerous "challenges" with the project, but the biggest one -- getting proper financial aid -- already has been overcome.

"We have surmounted the major hurdle, closing the $5 million gap with help from Empire State Development and new market tax credits to make this happen," he said. "Overarching development costs make it difficult to make the economics work (without state assistance)."

Savarino also pointed out that the site of the former Santy's Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna Construction companies also presents flood hazards, is part of the Brownfield Opportunity Area (which warrants remedial work) and sits on top of what is being called a "grand canal" or tunnel that runs from the corner of Ellicott and Jackson streets right through the Ellicott Station property.

A portion of the canal, which is being utilized by the city, is located directly under where one of Savarino's apartment/retail buildings would be constructed.

On a positive note, he said he has encoutered similar problems in his many years as a developer and is optimistic that engineers will be able to work around this water-filled obstacle.

Savarino added that he has lined up investors and lenders, and hopes to start demolition and construction by this fall, with an eye on being "open for business" in the fall of 2018.

The mixed-use development will consist of a retail brewery/restaurant operated by Resurgence Brewing along with 16,800 square feet of office space and a five-story apartment building.

Savarino said rent for a one-bedroom, top floor corner unit will be around $1,200 per month while a two-bedroom unit with two full bathrooms will go for around $1,600 per month. Each apartment will feature a washer and dryer and a balcony, and the 51-unit building will include a fitness center and ground floor parking.

Pacatte said the BDC is looking at Ellicott Station as its "beacon of hope" for the city's bid to receive a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award (see story below).

"We're using Ellicott Station as the anchor for our DRI proposal, focusing on the quality of life piece -- especially on the south side of the city," she said.

Valle, owner of Valle Jewelers on Jackson Street, said that major improvements on Ellicott Street "will raise the bar for all of us" in regards to building upkeep and maintenance.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center will hold a public hearing at 4 this afternoon to consider financial incentives for the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in downtown Batavia. The public hearing will take place at City Hall.

The approximate 64,000-square-foot development will be a mix use of residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

The $17.6 million project is estimated to create up to 60 good paying full-time jobs.

The proposed incentives include $897,293 in sales tax savings, $128,232 mortgage tax savings and $537,398 in property tax savings. 

The project is being done through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program which was created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating. 

Supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites.

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].

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