ELLICOTTVILLE — An $11.7 million proposal to renovate the former Manufacturers Hanover building in the heart of Olean got high marks Thursday from members of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency board.
It’s the fourth time the IDA has considered an application for tax breaks to rehabilitate and reuse the 105-year-old building in the 25 years since its last office tenant left.
Manny Hanny Development LLC, a corporation formed by Savarino Development of Buffalo, filed the application for sales tax, mortgage recording tax and property tax exemptions worth an estimated $1.1 million.
Project manager Courtney Cox, a senior vice president for development with Savarino, told IDA board members during the IDA’s telephone conference meeting that the company would like to start working by mid-summer.
The project in the seven-story bank building and adjacent Seigel’s building at 107 N. Union St. includes 21 one-, two- and three-bedroom, market-rate apartments, 8,000 square feet of office space that will be used for administrative offices for the Council on Addiction Recovery Services Inc., and another 5,000 square feet on the ground floor for retail.
All the financing — including historic tax credits and $2 million in private equity — came together recently and Savarino decided to proceed with the single-phase, Cox told the IDA. No specific use for the ground floor has been developed yet, although some kind of food and beverage or event center are being considered.
“We’re entering a challenging time in the marketplace,” Cox said. The project will include a fitness center, bulk storage, a bike garage and community meeting space.
The lack of offstreet parking has always hindered the redevelopment of the building, built by First National Bank. Cox said the possibility of securing 20 to 30 spaces in a nearby municipal parking lot and some onstreet parking is being considered. The municipal parking spaces are dependent on city approval.
The city has done a great job with the walkable plan,” Cox said. “We’re pretty confident there are enough parking resources nearby to serve the project.”
The project still needs approval of historic tax credits from the U.S. Park Service. The Manny Hanny is part of an Olean Historic District. Cox estimates the project will be completed in 14 months.
Cox said the project would use the local labor market for a mix of non-union and union labor. Some of the work will require union labor at prevailing wages.
“We use as many local trades as possible,” he said.
The IDA board found the project would have no significant impact on the environment and agreed to set a public hearing within 30 days.
The roughly $12 million Manny Hanny plan was one of six considered by the IDA Thursday worth a total of more than $50 million.
The others included a $2.8 million package requested by Win-Sum Ski Corp., which owns Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville, and four solar farms, one in Allegany and three in Portville.
David Trathen, Holiday Valley vice president for finance, said several upgrades and improvements are planned at the resort.
He said the proposal includes 20 additional automated snow guns, new LED slope lighting, upgrades to Tannenbaum, Yodler and Main lodges and the Inn at Holiday Valley. Also, snow grooming equipment, Sky High Course upgrades and repairs, Terrain Pak upgrades, new touchless payment and remote check-in systems, a shuttle bus, 12 golf carts and five snowmobiles. The estimated cost of the sales tax abatement Win-Sum Ski Corp is seeking is up to $200,000.
The IDA board agreed the project posed no significant environmental impact and will call a public hearing within 30 days.
Dimension Renewal Energy, a Georgia-based company, submitted applications for four solar farms, one in Allegany and three in Portville. “It’s a larger version of rooftop solar, Kieran Siao, a Dimension representative, told the IDA members by phone.
The Allegany site will be on a 14-acres site near Duggan & Duggan’s site on Seventh Street zoned light industrial. The 2.7-megawatt solar project will power 3,200 homes and is the only one that will include lithium-ion battery storage technology, Siao said. The battery will allow power to be stored and released to the grid as necessary.
Algonquin Power, a power of Dimension Energy, will be offering area residents discounted power through National Grid.
Dimension Energy plans to purchase 25 acres of a 108 largely agricultural site at 12188 E. Windfall Road, town of Portville for a 4.55 megawatt solar farm, Saio said.
The third and fourth solar facilities would be at 4081 Breeze Blvd, off Haskell Road near the Haskell Parkway subdivision, also in Portville. Dimension is looking to buy two 30-acre sites for two 4.55 megawatt solar farms. The land is commercial in nature and low density residential. There will be minimal impact to existing wetlands, Siao said. There will be vegatative buffers to shield most residences from the solar farms, he explained. He said there is no impact on land value by having a solar facility in the vicinity, he said.
IDA board members asked for letters of support for all the solar facilities from the towns involved.
Earlier this year, the IDA approved a revised solar policy that placed a value of $6,000 per megawatt for purposes of calculating a payment in lieu of taxes (P.I.L.O.T.) to be divided among the town, county and school district.
Also introduced was a proposed 2-megawatt solar farm in Machias near the intersection of Route 242 and 16 by RIC New York LLC on a 22-acre site.
The project was tabled until next month’s meeting on June 9. Town officials were not aware of the project. “We’ll know the temperature of this pretty quickly,” said IDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor. The company planned to offer a P.I.L.O.T. based on $4,500 per megawatt instead of the $6,000 the IDA recently adopted.
The IDA also approved an application for a P.I.L.O.T. from River Valley Solar LLC for a 4.99-megawatt solar farm on 118 acres it was acquiring at 3127 W. River Road, Allegany.
The P.I.L.O.T. would divide nearly $30,000 between the town, school district and county, with a 3% annual escalation clause.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)