By Jann Wiswall

The board of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency gave preliminary approval on the applications for sale leasebacks from Community Bank, NA, and Win Sum Ski Corp., the owner of Holiday Valley Resort, at its meeting on Tuesday, March 18. Public hearings will be scheduled for both projects (date and time to be announced on the CCIDA website,

Community Bank has purchased 10 acres of a 17-acre parcel owned by Saint Bonaventure University on State Route 417 in the Town of Allegany and plans to construct a 25,000 sq. ft., back office banking center that will house the bank’s mortgage processing unit. In addition, the company is upgrading and renovating its office facilities located at 201 North Union St. in Olean. The total cost of both projects is estimated to be $6 million.

In its application to the CCIDA, the bank is asking for a 10-year PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) property tax exemption on the Route 417 property and sales tax abatement on taxable building materials and equipment at both locations. The sales tax exemption would save the bank an estimated $240,000. As noted in the project summary sheet prepared by CCIDA staff, “this project will preserve over 200 full-time jobs in the area” and “will create many local construction jobs, as well.” Construction on both projects will be completed by the end of 2014.

Holiday Valley is planning $3.4 million in renovations/improvements to the resort this year and into 2015. The largest project is realignment of Holiday Valley Road. This involves rerouting the road to provide better flow, more parking and improved pedestrian safety. The resort has been working with engineers and the Town of Ellicottville’s Highway Department for several years to determine the best route for all involved. Holiday Valley President Dennis Eshbaugh told the CCIDA board that this project likely will be completed sometime in 2015.

Other major projects include purchase and installation of 54 automated snow guns, continued renovations of the Inn at Holiday Valley, construction of a pool-area cabana and expansion of the third floor of the Mountain Sports Center.

Holiday Valley is seeking a sales tax exemption valued at approximately $272,000 from the CCIDA. Sales tax would not be collected for materials and equipment purchases related to the above projects, as well as for 200-plus other items it plans to purchase, ranging from paint, furniture, carpeting and golf carts to uniforms, toys, signage and a leaf blower.

The CCIDA board agreed that the project would “help preserve jobs and allow for future development at the resort” and that it will “create construction employment, sales tax revenues and will enhance the property tax base,” as Holiday Valley continues to build its four-season resort reputation.

In other business, CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor asked the board to approve a proposal to contract with Upstate Consultants’ President Gregory Sehr to help the IDA attract economic development projects in the county. Sehr will help existing businesses with their “supply chain management needs,” and will work to recruit new businesses to locate here. Wiktor said he and Sehr plan to work closely with Crystal Abers and her county economic development team to develop strategy and tactics. Abers is also a member of the CCIDA’s board of directors.

The board agreed to enter into the contract with Upstate Consultants from April through December 2014. Board member Salvatore Marranca said that, at $1,000 a month, it was a “modest capital investment” to see if “it’s worth doing” over the longer term. If so, he thought outside funding might be available.

Wiktor reported that the public hearing on the Four-Mile Brewing/Hellbender Development’s plan to construct a brewery in Olean was held on March 5 and that Olean’s mayor attended and supports the project.

Public hearings also were held that day on MJ Painting’s application for tax relief from its expansion in Olean, and on Saint Bonaventure University’s application for tax-exempt bonds to support its $10 million renovation and maintenance project on campus. There were no objections from the public.

The board welcomed James Boser, the county’s legislative minority leader (D-District 7), as its newest member, replacing Joseph K. Eade who resigned from the board for health reasons. Boser sits on the Legislature’s Development and Agriculture, Finance and Labor Relations Committees.

The next meeting of the CCIDA board of directors is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22 at 11:15 a.m. at the CCIDA offices at 9 E. Washington St. in Ellicottville.