By Jann Wiswall

Win-Sum Ski Corporation, the corporate parent of Holiday Valley Ski Resort, has applied for NYS State Sales Tax Abatement and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) benefits from the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) for its purchase and renovation of the former Burger King Property on Route 219 at the intersection with Holiday Valley Road.

The CCIDA Board considered the application at its Tuesday, Dec. 8 meeting and authorized CCIDA Executive Director Corey Wiktor to schedule and hold a public hearing on the matter. The CCIDA will also coordinate a State Environmental Quality Review of the project with the Town of Ellicottville’s Planning Board or other authorizing agency.

If approved, Win-Sum will receive sales tax exemptions (i.e. abatement) on the purchase of construction materials, furnishings and other items related to renovation of the building. The IDA also will consider giving Win-Sum a property tax break (PILOT) on the project.

Win-Sum recently purchased the property and plans to move its Holiday Valley Realty and Rental Management offices there, probably in March.

In its review of the application, the CCIDA noted that the project will give the resort a “larger venue and more centralized location to serve its rental customers who visit the resort each year, thus improving the customer experience. The purchase of this parcel of property also enables the resort to have additional control over its campus of land.”

The total estimated cost of the project, which includes the $800,000 property purchase price as well as renovations, is $1.1 million. Win-Sum expects to hire three new employees for the realty and rental office.

The IDA Board agreed that the project is consistent with agency policy and IDA legislation, it will enhance and control overhead and operating costs for the resort, it will position the resort for additional future growth, and it will create construction jobs, generate sales tax revenues from customers and enhance the property tax base.

Win-Sum annually applies for and receives CCIDA-authorized sales tax relief for development projects at the resort. The CCIDA expects resort representatives to submit tax relief applications for the 2016-17 season improvements in March.

The IDA’s associated organization, the Capital Resource Corporation (CRC), also met on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (the two organizations share a board of directors) to approve the final documents authorizing the CRC to issue and sell tax-exempt revenue bonds to St. Bonaventure University in an “aggregate principal amount not to exceed $8 million…” The actual bond amount is estimated to be closer to $6.3 million.

The University will use the bonds to refinance existing bonds on a now-completed renovation project, saving the institution some $100,000 per year for 22 years.

Wiktor provided the board with a summary of IDA activity in 2015, noting that it “proved to be another busy, exciting and challenging year…”

Wiktor listed nine projects that the agency closed on in 2015, including four projects in Ellicottville (two Holiday Valley projects, one HoliMont project and the 1887 building renovation project), totaling $57 million.

The largest project by far was National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation’s Hinsdale compressor station, which totaled some $42.5 million.

The IDA is a self-funded entity that charges fees for its services based on the total value of approved projects.

In 2016, the agency expects to fine-tune its processes and policies, improve its marketing collateral and work with other organizations, such as the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership and the recently formed “Cattaraugus County Economic Development Team,” to coordinate economic development efforts.

The next meeting of the CCIDA board will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 at 10 a.m. in the CCIDA’s Ellicottville offices at 9 East Washington St.