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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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Comments
October 25, 2021 - 9:29pm

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.

Comments
October 22, 2021 - 5:11pm

The introduction of new computer software means that it’s time to say good-bye to an old -- and outdated -- permitting and licensing fee schedule for the City of Batavia, according to a memo from City Manager Rachael Tabelski dated Oct. 25 and sent out ahead of Monday’s City Council Conference Meeting.

Council will convene at 7 p.m. for the Conference Meeting, which features a full slate of agenda items. A Special Business Meeting set up to vote on three of those items will follow.

In the memo, Tabelski promotes Energov software, a program that creates digital files for permits and licensing that will make life easier for Inspection Bureau staff. However, some of the current fees are not articulated clearly enough to jive with that software.

Additionally, she reports that a review of the city’s current processes and procedures – along with permit fees – was conducted.

Noting that the fee schedule hasn’t been updated in at least 15 years and has resulted in varying, inaccurate cost calculations, she is proposing a new fee schedule – a revised list of charges for certain projects that was approved by the Inspections Bureau, Plumbing Board and Bureau of Maintenance.

“In order to ensure that permit fees can be calculated in Energov and to create a permit fee schedule that is fair to all, a new fee schedule is proposed,” Tabelski wrote. “Many permits are proposed to be a flat fee. Permits that are not a flat fee have been structured for easy calculation by staff, the public and will easily compute in Energov.”

The memo indicates that work performed by the property owner will be calculated by square foot. If the project is not included on the list of flat fee permits – such as a porch rebuild or removal of a load-bearing wall – then the value of the cost of the project would be multiplied by 1.2 percent to determine the fee. Also, the fee will triple if work is done without a permit.

If approved by Council, changes would take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Tabelski put together a chart showing items up for revision and compared the proposed new cost to fees in Canandaigua, Lockport, Rome and Glens Falls.

Items on the list for revision, followed by the current fee, proposed fee (in bold), and fees in the four cities listed above in order:

  • Re-roof all 1-family dwelling (2,200 sq ft - $13,000) -- $52, $65, $100, $59, $75, $50.
  • Re-roof porch only (350 sq ft - $1,800) -- $40, $35, $100, $51, $75, $50.
  • Re-roof commercial (1,200 sq ft - $26,000) -- $113, $312, $100, $150, $200, $150.
  • Six-foot vinyl fence ($15,000) -- $65, $65, $50, $20, $75, $25.
  • Six-foot wood fence ($7,000) -- $43, $65, $50, $20, $75, $25.
  • Entire house vinyl siding (1,600 sq ft - $14,000) -- $53.50, $65, $480, $47, $75, $400.
  • 1-family (375 sq ft - $22,000) -- $115.50, $264, $300, $150, $100, $200.
  • Commercial addition (1,400 sq ft-$105,000) -- $550, $1,260, $500, $350, $200, $350.

Other Conference Meeting agenda items are as follows:

  • Agreements with the Town of Batavia for city personnel to repair and maintain 31 street lights the town is putting up on Park Road in the area of Batavia Downs Gaming and a traffic control device the town is installing at the intersection of Route 98 and Federal Drive, north of the city.

In both cases, the city would invoice the town for labor and material costs.

Currently, city employees maintain the traffic light for the town at Veterans Memorial Drive and the Towne Center.

  • Acceptance of a $500,000 Restore New York Grant that was awarded to the city in 2017 to assist Savarino Companies for demolition, rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the existing former National Grid electric building in connection with the Ellicott Station project.

As a condition of disbursing the funds to Savarino, the Buffalo developer is required to enter into an “Undertaking Agreement” with the city to assume a portion or all of the obligations of the city under the grant.

  • Mid-fiscal year transfers due to expenses incurred in excess of budgeted amounts set in April.

These include $30,000 from the contingency fund into the legal services budget for increased litigation costs, $12,000 from contingency into the information technology budget for an increase in the number of monitored computer servers, and $25,000 from the public works administrative salary account to the DPW engineering account for expenses owed to LaBella Associates in light of the city’s ongoing search for a DPW director.

Comments
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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Comments
April 2, 2021 - 3:09pm

savarino_1.jpgEllicott Station.

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

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

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

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

Closing Could Happen in May

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

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

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

Savarino said the parameters of the venture have not changed.

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

Resurgence Not Part of the Brew

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

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

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

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

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

Housing Tax Credit a Big Factor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several Funding Sources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HCR to Decide When Things Advance

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

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

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

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

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

Comments
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

Comments
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​

Comments
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.

Comments
January 7, 2020 - 1:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, business, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider accepting an application for assistance for the proposed $22.5 million Ellicott Station project in the City of Batavia at the GCEDC’s Jan. 9 meeting.

The Ellicott Station project is a mixed-use brownfield redevelopment project including adaptive reuse and new construction of a blighted property in a key gateway entrance site to Downtown Batavia. Considerable brownfield remediation, site improvements, and construction are proposed by project developer Savarino Companies.

“With Genesee County, the City of Batavia, and the Batavia City School District, we are working collectively to revitalize the city,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “The cleanup and redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site is a critical component of achieving our collective vision for Batavia’s Pathway to Prosperity.”

If the application is accepted, a public hearing on the proposed incentives will be scheduled in the City of Batavia.

The Ellicott Station project has been updated from a previous application that was approved by the GCEDC board in November 2018. The project proposes a five-story apartment building with 55 new modern workforce housing units, along with a brewery, restaurant/beer garden, and the preparation of an additional development site on the 3.31-acre campus.

The proposed project supports the Genesee County’s EDGE economic development strategy of creating housing for entry-level workers at Genesee County’s growing businesses.

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.

The proposed incentives are aligned with a request for financial support from the New York State Office of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

“We believe that the proposed project can be economically viable as the market-rate housing component checks a number of boxes that support the state’s interest in funding these types of developments,” Hyde said.

“The fact that there are a growing number of employment opportunities in the surrounding area to attract workforce talent to our region is certainly another factor we hope the state will consider in its decision.”

Comments
December 9, 2019 - 1:09pm

Savarino Companies of Buffalo, developer of the mixed-use Ellicott Station project that has been in the works for three and a half years, reportedly will be filing an application for residential funding with the New York State Homes and Community Renewal agency on Friday.

“The application deadline is Friday and we’ve been told that one will be filed for the 55 units,” Pier Cipollone, president of the Batavia Development Corporation, said at this morning’s BDC meeting. “They (apartments) are geared toward a mixed-use workforce with a $30,000 to $40,000 salary range for tenants.”

Cipollone said that a decision by HCR on the funding hopefully will come in April or May of next year.

The total cost of the residential part of the project is expected to be around $18 million, Cipollone said, but he noted that the BDC is "not privy to how much Savarino will be asking for in the HCR application."

Cost of the complete Ellicott Station project, which includes apartments, commercial office space and the Resurgence Brewing Company business, is estimated at $22.7 million.

“We’ve been waiting a long time to get a shovel in the ground,” Cipollone said. “We’ve asked Sam (Savarino) to knock down a garage on the (former Santy’s Tire Sales and Soccio & Della Penna property on Ellicott Street) to start the process.”

Cipollone said once the garage is down, officials can proceed with rezoning the property into three lots -- separating the residential from the commercial per HCR requirements.

He noted that Savarino bought the property from the BDC for $60,000, and still owes all but a $5,000 down payment.

Cipollone also announced that he will be stepping down as president at year’s end due to commitments as an IT consultant. He said he will be speaking with Vice President Wesley Bedford about the pending vacancy.

In other developments:

-- Batavia City Manager Martin Moore said that Theatre 56 has signed a lease with the City, setting the stage for the design phase of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project and necessary construction.

-- BDC Executive Director Andrew Maguire reviewed the 2020-21 budget that shows revenues of $110,000 (from the City) and $5,721 (referral fee from Genesee County Economic Development Center) and primary expenses of $65,000 (salary), $35,000 (professional services contracts) and $4,000 (marketing and public relations).

-- The board approved the 2020 meeting schedule, which sets the meeting time and date at 8:30 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month at City Hall second floor.

Comments
September 10, 2018 - 9:12pm

Acting on Interim City Manager Matt Worth’s analogy that the City will benefit from “a thinner piece of a larger pie,” the Batavia City Council on Monday night agreed to set a special business meeting to vote on a new sales tax agreement with Genesee County.

A revised sales tax arrangement with the county is necessary since the current 10-year pact – which gives the City 16 percent of the county’s 50 percent share of the 8 percent sales tax -- expires at the end of this year.

County legislators, looking at future big ticket items such as bridge replacements and a new county jail, balked at extending the existing agreement, setting the stage for negotiations between the two entities.

The proposed deal calls for the City to receive its current 16 percent of the county’s share through this year, with provisions for that amount to grow in future years by a maximum of 2 percent per year.

“This allows the City to increase in growth by up to 2 percent a year until the City’s portion of the pie becomes 14 percent,” Worth said. “So we go from 16 percent to 14 percent as that pie gets larger and larger.

At that point, once that floor of 14 percent hits, all the restrictions go off and there’s no more restriction of 2 percent growth. So if the sales tax goes up by 5 percent, and we’re at 14 percent, the City gets a 5-percent increase as well.”

In any event, the City’s share will be no less than 14 percent for the remainder of the 40-year contract, Worth said.

“The 14-percent floor is an additional safety net for the City to share in good years above 2 percent, once that threshold is reached,” he said, noting that historically sales tax goes up by 2.5 percent annually.

The County Legislature is expected to vote on the matter on Wednesday of this week, while City Council scheduled a business meeting to address the agreement in conjunction with its conference meeting on Sept. 24. From there, it goes to the state comptroller’s office for approval. If approved, it would go into effect on Jan. 1.

The new agreement, unlike the current one, does not include wording about allocations to Genesee County towns and villages because, according to Worth, the towns have no taxing authority and are not a “sign-on” to the contract.

“It is my understanding that the comptroller was not comfortable with the towns being referenced in the agreement, and that the county will have separate agreements with the towns and villages,” he said.

Responding to questions from Council Member Adam Tabelski and Interim City Manager Worth, Council President Eugene Jankowski said the new agreement should be a “stabilizing” factor in annual budget preparation.

“We’ve been in a holding pattern for the last couple years, not knowing if the agreement would go through,” Jankowski said. “We’re in a better position now.”

In other action, Council:

-- Voted to send a resolution calling for the rezoning of the St. Anthony’s Church area on Liberty Street from residential to commercial to the City Planning & Development Committee.

City Church, which purchased the former Catholic church in 2016, filed a petition to reclassify the campus to allow for some activities (dance school, art school, community education classes, etc.) that could be considered a business activity and a non-conforming use in an R-3 district.

Should the planning board approve, a public hearing will be scheduled.

-- Approved the placement of 10 bicycle racks and six trash cans in downtown locations per a request from the Batavia Business Improvement District.

-- Voted in favor of two resolutions pertaining to the Ellicott Station project coordinated by Savarino Companies of Buffalo.

One grants a stormwater easement due to the fact that a major city storm sewer lies within the boundary of the project; and the other distributes a National Grid Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization Grant in the amount of $250,000 to enhance the Ellicott Trail Project, which will run along the southern boundary of the Ellicott Station site.

-- Voted to submit an application for Transportation Improvement Program funds for the rehabilitation of four city streets – Harvester Avenue, Jackson Street, Bank Street and Richmond Avenue – that qualify under federal guidelines.

Comments
August 15, 2018 - 10:24am

The Batavia City Council on Monday night voted to move several resolutions forward, including measures to rezone the St. Anthony’s Church area on Liberty Street from residential to commercial and to install bicycle racks and trash receptacles in several locations within the Downtown Business Improvement District.

A memo from Interim City Manager Matt Worth suggests that seven parcels on Liberty Street and Central Avenue surrounding the St. Anthony’s Church campus – which was purchased by City Church in 2016 – should be reclassified from R-3 to C-3 to allow for some “ancillary activities (dance school, art school, community education classes, etc.) that could be considered a business activity and a non-conforming use in an R-3 district.”

City Church, on July 19, filed a petition to rezone this campus of parcels that would annex the property into the adjacent C-3 district, thus bring the property into conformance with zoning regulations, Worth wrote.

Council’s action moves the resolution into the hands of the Genesee County Planning Board for a recommendation and then to the City Planning and Development Committee for review and to schedule a public hearing in accordance with zoning laws.

In late July, the BID sent a request to the City to install 10 bicycle racks and six trash cans at downtown locations.

A memo from Ray Tourt, superintendent of maintenance, listed the sites as follows:

Bicycle racks – Tim Hortons, Save-A-Lot, Court Street (near the former Coffee Culture); outside JCPenney/Batavia Showtime; near the Christmas Tree between the Bank of America and Tompkins Insurance; in front of Game On on Main Street; in front of Southside Deli on Ellicott Street; in front of Pok-A-Dot on Ellicott Street; in front of Bourbon & Burger Co. on Jackson Street; and in front of Glass Roots on Center Street.

The BID has four more bicycle racks that can be used as replacements when needed.

Trash receptacles – Two on East Main Street and four on Ellicott Street from Court Street to Goade Park.

Tourt said the bicycle racks are of a hoop design marked with a feet motif to go with the BID’s “Feet on the Street” promotion. The trash cans are similar to ones installed by the city in 2004.

Council also agreed to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with the Ellicott Station project coordinated by Savarino Companies of Buffalo.

One is the granting of a stormwater easement due to the fact that a major city storm sewer lies within the boundary of the project.

Worth wrote that this is a requirement of the site approval issued by the City Planning and Development Committee, and would serve as an “important legal document giving the City access for maintenance of this storm sewer in the future.”

The other focuses on the distribution of a National Grid Urban Center/Commercial District Revitalization Grant in the amount of $250,000 that has been awarded to the City to enhance the Ellicott Trail Project, which will run along the southern boundary of the Ellicott Station site.

Based on preliminary construction estimates, Savarino Companies has identified $183,477 worth of improvements (landscaping, lighting, seating, etc.) that would be reimbursed by the grant. An agreement with the City would allow Savarino to access up to the full amount of the funds provided by National Grid.

Council is expected to vote on the BID and Savarino resolutions at its Business Meeting on Sept. 10.

Comments
June 20, 2017 - 8:46am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Station, savarino companies, GCEDC.

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. 

Comments
June 2, 2017 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, business, GCEDC, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted an application for assistance from the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in Downtown Batavia at the agency’s June 1 board meeting.

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. For every dollar of public sector investment there is an anticipated private sector investment of approximately $25.

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.  

”The collaboration among various government jurisdictions is simply smart economic development,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman. “The BP2 program is an opportunity to attract development and jobs to the urban core of Genesee County and just as important, create vibrant neighborhoods in economically disadvantaged areas of the city.”

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