October 21, 2021

83-85 Main St. project applies for tax breaks

Todd R. McAdam/Managing Editor

Jamie Yaman, left, chats recently with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin outside 83-85 Main St. Yaman and his partners are seeking a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement to renovate the 16,000-square-foot building.

A proposal for a downtown development to receive tax breaks from the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency will be discussed at public hearing 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at the IDA office at 37 Church St.

The property in question, 83-85 Main St., is one of the properties selected as a recipient of state money as part of the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Developers Steve Franco and Jamie Yaman said they plan to develop the second and third floors of the building as 12 market-rate rental apartments, six one-bedroom and six two-bedroom, and the first floor as mixed- used commercial. The project has been slated for $500,000 in state DRI funds.

According to a legal notice advertising the public hearing, the developers seek to expand the 16,200 square feet of floor space into the original 20,000-square-foot footprint of the building. Nearly 4,000 square feet of space that has been unused would be restored.

Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Industrial Development agency and Business Development Corp., said the building is one of the largest on Main Street.

Yaman has said that an old upper-story theater will be lost in the renovation. He said he expects interior demolition to begin next year.

“The IDA is contemplating incentives to allow the buildout of that property to take place,” VanGorder said.

VanGorder said redevelopment of the building, which has been vacant since at least the 1950s above the first floor, “wouldn’t be possible without the IDA’s participation.” “It’s just a very expensive project,” he said.

The proposal to be discussed at the public hearing would include “potential exemptions from certain sales taxes, real estate transfer taxes, mortgage recording taxes and real property taxes” as well as an agreement for payment in lieu of taxes, or a PILOT agreement, according to the public hearing notice. The property would be exempt from property taxes and an agreement would dictate a schedule to pay some taxing authorities for a specific period of time.

VanGorder said that even though the developers have secured $500,000 in DRI reimbursement, the proposed development will be at “fairly significant cost to themselves,” and this is why the IDA is partnering with them to provide tax incentives.