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Press Release: ECIDA Board approves $475,250 in incentives

 

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Contact: Robbie Ann McPherson

ECIDA Marketing & Communications Manager

716.856.6525 ext. 125 office   310.433.7443 cell


ECIDA approves incentives for adaptive reuse of

decommissioned school, senior housing project on East Side

$475,250 in tax incentives generate $11,541,000 in private investment



Buffalo, NY— The Erie County Industrial Development Agency's Board of Directors revisted a vote on incentives for Ellicott Development's adaptive reuse project at 722 West Delavan Wednesday, approving the project with eleven votes, one more than the required ten votes to approve incentives. Two Board members, NAACP Buffalo President Frank Mesiah, and Harper International Business Development Director Chris Johnston dissented.

Citing a written letter request she received from fellow ECIDA Board member and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Board Chair Brenda McDuffie agreed to bring the project back on Wednesday's agenda for a re-vote. In the letter, Mayor Brown asked that the project be "reconsidered based on the applicant negotiating with my administration to utilize 25% minority business enterprises and 5% women business enterprises."  

BACKGROUND:

The City of Buffalo issued an RFP for the property located at 722 West Delavan, formerly City of Buffalo School 56. The building was decommissioned by the school board in 2011 and has been empty since. Ellicott Development submitted a bid proposing a $5.8 million adaptive reuse project that would create 33 apartments and 10,000 sq. ft. of commercial space for nonprofit entities, and was ultimately chosen as the winning bidder. Part of the negotiation between Ellicott Development and the City was that Ellicott agree to a 25% minority hiring goal.

Ellicott Development applied to the ECIDA for for approximately $171,000 in sales tax savings on construction materials, and a one-time elimination of the mortgage recording fee, estimated at $45,000 for the property's $4.5 million estimated final mortgage amount.

Minutes from the September ECIDA Board meeting indicate ECIDA Board member Frank Mesiah, who is President of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP, voiced concern about Ellicott Development founder Carl Paladino. The project fell one vote short at September's meeting of the Board-majority ten votes necessary to win approval.

Mayor Brown, who had already sent a prior letter of support for the project but was unable to attend September's Board meeting, then sent a letter to Board Chair McDuffie requesting that the item be brought back up for a vote at the next Board meeting, noting that Ellicott Development, under the leadership of Paladino's son William Paladino, had already negotiated with the City the 25% hiring goal.

Chair McDuffie, who according to bylaws has the sole discretion to add or subtract items to the agenda, agreed to bring the item back for consideration. The item was passed at the October meeting. 

 

The ECIDA Board also unanimously approved approximately $248,750 in incentives for 240 Kensington, LLC, which proposed a $5 million, 41,000 sq. ft. senior housing project on Buffalo's East Side. Forty senior apartments will occupy the building's three floors, and in accordance with HUD HOME Rent Limits 2015 requirements the developer will certify annually that resident incomes are between 50% and 60% of the median income in the City of Buffalo. 

Other agenda items included the ECIDA s' 2016 Operating Capital Budget, which passed in a unanimous Board vote.

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The Erie County Industrial Development Agency is an independent, public benefit corporation 

sanctioned by the State of New York to offer tax incentives to qualified businesses, and is dedicated to furthering economic development, adaptive reuse of qualified properties, job creation and ensuring a thriving business environment in Erie County. The staff of the ECIDA are not employees of the City of Buffalo, the County of Erie, or the State of New York. The ECIDA does not receive operating funds from taxpayer revenues. The ECIDA receives its operating funds by collecting fees from businesses that enter into contracts with the Agency, from investments, and from loan fees. 

For more information, visit www.ecidany.com

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