Genesee County agencies approve economic development spending

Genesee County agencies approve economic development spending

The Genesee County Economic Development Center board of directors has adopted a Phase 1 Housing Policy. The policy establishes incentives and criteria for multi-family rental/market-rate and multifamily rental/affordable housing projects.

The Phase 1 Housing Policy is the result of the findings from a study and assessment of
Genesee County’s housing stock conducted by LaBella Associates in 2018 and an economic development strategic assessment of Genesee County conducted by the Rockefeller Institute of Government in 2019.

Key findings of both assessments include:
• Genesee County has an extremely aged housing stock with an average median age of more than 73 years
• There is a marketplace demand/need for roughly 4,800 new housing units, market-rate apartments and owner-occupied units of $100,000 or more
• Grants and/or incentives should be provided to promote new housing construction
• Incentives should be created to spur investment in the housing stock
• Failure to meet market housing demand will negatively impact economic development, including potential out-migration of current residents

“I want to thank and acknowledge the great work of the members of the GCEDC Housing Committee, including our housing committee chair Paul Battaglia, that took a methodical approach in developing this policy,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “It is irrefutable that there is a demand in the marketplace for new housing and if we do not address the supply there will be negative economic impacts.”

The GCEDC Phase 1 Housing Policy will offer property tax exemptions for new construction and/or rehabilitation of multi-family rental market rate and affordable housing projects; sales tax exemptions for the purchase of construction materials, equipment rentals and purchases; and mortgage tax exemptions. These are the typical incentives available through the GCEDC for projects across the county.

“The members of the Housing Committee and the GCEDC Board recognize that housing is an integral part of economic development, including the demand among employers who are concerned about being able to attract new workers as they expand their operations because of a lack of quality housing near their workplaces,” Battaglia said. “We are confident in the review by our legal counsel that we can begin to offer these incentives to developers to improve the County’s housing stock and we are excited about moving forward to get some projects started.”

Also in Batavia this week, the board of directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) passed a budget for fiscal year 2021 that anticipates cash outflows of roughly $2.1 million.

“The mission of the GGLDC is to foster local economic development by making real estate development investments that prepare sites in Genesee County for new corporate tenants,” said GGLDC Chairman Don Cunningham. “The GGLDC also provides strategic investment funding to support the GCEDC’s ongoing economic development and workforce development programs.”

The anticipated 2021 expenditures of the GGLDC include operations and maintenance for the MedTech Centre building, site/corporate park maintenance, an economic development program support grant to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), continuing support of a dedicated workforce development consultant and professional services.

Other significant items include an $820,000 pass-through grant from the state Department of Transportation that furthers the ability of the tenants of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park to access rail; $407,000 in debt service payments supporting development at the MedTech Centre campus; as well as $93,000 in expenses related to the GGLDC’s commitment to expanding utility capacities at the Buffalo East Technology Park for current and potential tenants.

A major source of revenue is rent of $696,000 from the MedTech Centre facility. Additional cash receipts will include $320,000 in principal and interest payments from several companies repaying loans made in previous years.

“The GGLDC will continue to actively market our shovel-ready parks in collaboration with the Genesee County Economic Development Center in 2021,” Cunningham said. “We have been working on a few projects that we anticipate will come to fruition by the end of 2021.”

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