16-Martha-Exterior-Elevation-10-21-2013By Jann Wiswall

The new owners of Ellicottville’s 16 Martha Street, the former site of American Locker Co., have applied for a sale leaseback transaction through the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA). The owners, who have formed 16 Martha Street, LLC, will fully remediate some environmental concerns and renovate existing buildings to construct a seasonal apartment complex consisting of one building with 10 apartments and a second building with four two-story apartments. The apartments will be fully furnished and offered for term rentals. None will be sold.

The company’s initial investment is expected to be more than $4.2 million. If all goes according to plan, said company partner Wayne Bacon, “we may consider adding additional buildings in the future.”

CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor, who led the discussion on the application with the CCIDA Board at its Oct. 22, 2013, meeting, said that the project will provide a unique lodging option in Ellicottville that also will increase foot traffic to village shops and restaurants. In addition, it will “restore/reconstruct a key building” in the core of the village.

Bacon said his company expects to hire about 35 local tradespeople for 6–9 months or more to do the construction and will hire a local real estate management company to manage rentals and daily operations.

Wiktor also pointed out that the new apartments will generate significant sales and bed tax revenues and will enhance the property tax base of the village.

The board felt the project meets its goals and approved a resolution to hold a public hearing on the project. It also approved a resolution to conduct a preliminary State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). Wiktor indicated that the CCIDA likely will be designated as the lead SEQR agency.

If approved for the transaction, the company would be exempted from certain New York State sales and use taxes, real property taxes, real estate transfer taxes and mortgage recording taxes.

Following discussion of the 16 Martha Street property, two representatives from Empire State Development (ESD), New York’s chief economic development agency, briefed the board on the progress it has made over the past year on a number of economic development fronts.

ESD coordinates the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), a competitive grant program that advances the goals of the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). The Western New York REDC, which covers Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, has endorsed 16 projects and submitted them for approval to the state. Two of these projects are in Cattaraugus County: One would rehabilitate the McNallie Fischer building in Randolph to promote revitalization of the town. The other would support the renovation of Gowanda’s historic Hollywood Theater.

ESD representatives Mike Wall and Diego Sirianni both noted that CFA funding is not the only form of assistance ESD can provide to large and small businesses in the region.

“The state is open for business year round to help,” Wall said. “We can usually find a tool that can be used to help almost any business.”

He added that ESD has provided an additional $60 million in business support between CFA rounds over the past year.

In other business, CCIDA board member Crystal Abers proposed to reappoint the board’s officers in the same positions they currently hold for 2014. The board approved.

The next meeting of the CCIDA board will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:15 a.m. at its office in Ellicottville.