IDA Discusses Various Projects

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Transformation of Facility, HV Investments &Windfarms Among Topics

By Nick Pircio

WPIG, 95.7 FM

Developer Kody Sprague presented an application to the CCIDA and also updated the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency on plans to transform the old Larimer Norton Facility, located at 11-13 Elizabeth Street in Ellicottville. The site has been closed since early in 2007.

The 43,000 square foot building was once used to manufacture lumber products for Louisville Slugger baseball bats, among other uses.  While structurally sound, Sprague said there’s   “a lot of work that needs to be done to it.”  Sprague has been working with local village officials to create a new zoning district for the building.  A public hearing for the site plan review will be held May 8th.  Currently, two businesses are ready to sign up, including a restaurant and bowling center to be operated by Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza Incorporated in Springville.  Sprague said he hopes to “do something very similar” to the building on Washington Street currently housing Coffee Culture and Subway.   They plan to fill up to forty positions, fifteen of which would be full-time.  Construction should start “very, very soon.”

Sprague noted there is some demand for businesses that don’t necessarily fit in on Washington Street, which could be housed at the Elizabeth Street location.  Additional tenants have not yet committed, but Sprague believes others will come once people see “something happening” there.

IDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor will work on establishing the necessary New York State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR), and to set a public hearing on the benefits which they are seeking.  These include a ten-year adaptive re-use PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on the real estate tax, as well as abatement on the New York State sales tax. Added Wiktor, “This is a great Adaptive Reuse project and we are very pleased to assist the redevelopment and private investment made by the developer.  This project will be a great fit to the Community.”

The IDA also plans to schedule a public hearing, probably within two weeks, on an application submitted by Holiday Valley, which is looking for New York State sales tax abatement on the purchase of grounds keeping and snow making equipment, as well as various other smaller projects/improvements.  The approximately $2-million worth of equipment is for year-round use. Added Wiktor “Once again Holiday Valley continues to reinvest into their marquee Resort, we strongly appreciate their vision and commitment to the ‘tourism engine’ that Cattaraugus County is”.

IDA Board members also heard from Kevin Sheen, Senior Director of Development for the Allegany Wind Farm project.   Don’t expect construction of new wind turbines anytime soon.  Sheen said the project hinges on Congressional extension of the “production tax credit.”  Without that approval, all wind projects nationwide would come to a halt, according to Sheen, who does not expect approval before the November election.  On May 14th, the wind developer will be applying to the Allegany Town Planning Board for a one-year extension of their special use permit.  The permit is due to expire in July.

Sheen said a lawsuit brought against the wind farm project by Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County caused the wind company to delay the Allegany project.  He said, “We’re not quite certain where the lawsuit stands” because of legal maneuverings.  Sheen added, “But at this point, I believe the production tax credit is more of an issue than the lawsuit.  However, things could change.”  The Allegany Town Board approved the project last summer, for construction of 29 wind turbines among the hilltops.