Wednesday, July 24, 2024

IDA OKs tax breaks for Bonacio South & Elm St. rebuilds

Chronicle editor Mark Frost writes: The Glens Falls Industrial Development Agency approved the following tax benefits for Sonny Bonacio’s Spring City Development “Phase One” South and Elm Street projects that will redevelop the Sandy’s Clam Bar, Hot Shots, “incubator” and Juicin’ Jar buildings.

  • 15-year PILOT — Payment in Lieu of Taxes — projected to save $1,580,234.00 in property taxes.
  • Mortgage tax exemption — projected to save the developer $78,825, “based on an estimated mortgage amount of $6,306,000.”
  • Sales and use tax exemption on building material purchases and rentals — projected to save the developer “an amount not to exceed $121,042.”

A question that arose at the previous IDA board meeting was the baseline value to put on the buildings that Bonacio is redeveloping. Should it be appraised value or the newly assessed values?

On three of the four buildings, the difference was relatively small, reported Jeff Flagg, the CEO of the IDA and Glens Falls’s Economic Development Director.

For 41 South, the former Sandy’s Clam Bar, the appraised value was $325,000. The new assessed value is $334,200.

For 49 South (former Juicin’ Jar), the appraisal is $40,000. The new assessment actually went down, to $35,900.

For 36 Elm, the so-called former incubator, the appraised value is $220,000. The newly assessed valued is $234,000.

45 South Street — the former Hot Shots — has the large discrepancy. Appraised: $175,000. Its new assessment is $389,000, a difference of $214,600.

Mr. Flagg took the initiative of questioning that new assessment.

He wrote to IDA Board members, “Given that 45 South has been vacant since 2014, and was essentially vandalized prior to being acquired by the LDC, I looked to see if there were any comparable properties nearby and their new assessed values. I found the following:

128 Glen (Abby’s Cookies) $385,100

132 Glen (Rocco’s) $362,300

178 Glen (Coldwell Banker) $327,500

179 Glen (L.G. Olive Oil) $365,400

Mr. Flagg wrote, “Each of these is an occupied 3-story building in the heart of Glen Street with commercial tenants below rented apartments, all assessed lower than 45 South.”

Mr. Flagg reasoned: “Both 41 South and 45 South appear to have been assessed as if they were intact, fully-occupied buildings on desirable commercial corridors.”

He says that had the LDC grieved the new assessment on its incubator building “it would almost certainly have been revised lower, probably significantly.”

And had the developer grieved the new assessment on the Sandy’s building “it likely would have been lowered as well.”

Thus, Mr. Flagg concluded, “it would seem to me entirely defensible to use the current appraised values in lieu their assessed values” as Bonacio’s baseline.

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