IDA to Hold Public Hearing, Begin SEQR

By Jann Wiswall

Sprague Development Corporation is doing its due diligence as it considers going through with its offer to purchase the 21-plus-acre site at 3864 Route 417 in Allegany, N.Y.

Known as the former K-Mart Plaza site, Kody Sprague, president of the firm that developed both Ellicottville Square and Washington Square (Coffee Culture) in Ellicottville, says he is looking at transforming the dilapidated property off I-86 for mixed-use development.

The 100,000-plus square foot building would immediately require a new roof and façade. Interior spaces would be built out to suit potential tenants. Out-parcels on the property also would be considered.

No potential tenants have been approached to date, Sprague said, “rumors on social media notwithstanding.”

As part of his feasibility research, Sprague sought the support of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency at its board meeting on Tuesday, July 22. IDA backing under its Adaptive Reuse policy would provide tax relief for the project with an estimated cost of more than $3 million.

The IDA board was wholeheartedly supportive of the idea.

Board member Joseph Higgins, a resident of Allegany, said the community wants to see something done with the location just off Exit 24, which is considered an eyesore at the “Gateway to St. Bonaventure University,” the town and village of Allegany, and Olean.

Crystal Abers, director of economic development, planning and tourism for Cattaraugus County and a member of the CCIDA board, noted that this property has long been on the county’s radar for redevelopment. She told Sprague that “the county is willing to share and supervise in the project,” and will help “look to the state for funding opportunities.”

CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor noted that the property, which has been “largely vacant for 15-20 years,” is strategic not only for Allegany but for the entire region, and that the project is a long-term one that could have a long-term impact on the community.

Town of Allegany Supervisor John Hare attended the meeting and said the potential project would be “terrific” for the community. Previous attempts to redevelop the property failed for various reasons — the lack of municipal water and sewer to the site being a major hindrance. He noted that water was extended to Exit 24 four years ago. Sewer remains an issue, he said, but this project could provide the impetus to get that funded and done.

Sprague said he has until the end of August to opt out of the contract with property owner Donald Benson. However, he will be meeting with the Town of Allegany Planning Board on Monday, Aug. 11 and hopes to be able to make a decision that week.

The CCIDA board approved resolutions to schedule a public hearing and to begin the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) of the site.

The next meeting of the CCIDA board will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 11:15 a.m. at the CCIDA offices at 9 East Washington St. in Ellicottville.