Goshen Plaza developer asks for financial help

Goshen. Neil DeLuca said retail projects involve risk. County agencies expressed their overwhelming support for the project and tax breaks to help it along.

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  • A rendering of the future Goshen Plaza (goshenplazany.com/project-details)

  • The site plan (goshenplazany.com/project-details)

“It’s outrageous not to be able to shop at a supermarket in the county seat."
Lynn Cione, Orange County Chamber of Commerce

The Orange County Industrial Agency held a hearing to gather public comments on the Goshen Plaza Associates application asking for financial assistance in the form of sales and use tax exemptions, a mortgage recording tax exemption, and partial real property tax abatement.

The June 6 hearing was held at Village Hall in Goshen.

Neil DeLuca, representing Goshen Plaza Associates, said that the company is “looking for help with the debt” to revitalize the 13.70-acre parcel on Clowes Avenue.

The project consists of complete demolition of all existing buildings and new construction that includes a grocery store, a stand-alone CVS building and other retail shops. DeLuca also said that Orange Regional Medial Center has strong interest in occupying a walk-in medical facility.

Improvements in mechanical systems, storm-water retention, lighting systems, HVAC, fire-prevention systems, computer systems, and a parking lot are included in the project.

Mentioning the risk that Goshen Plaza Associates is taking with investing in retail, DeLuca said he’d like to see the tax savings go directly to Orange Regional, CVS, and the grocery store.

“They’re taking a chance with us,” he said.

The Goshen village board held a special meeting on June 5 to formulate their position of the project’s Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) application.

In a letter to the chief operating officer and executive of the IDA, the board expressed support for the overall development of the site and for a property tax exemption for the project, one that doesn’t decrease the tax revenue, which the village is now collecting on the property.

Currently the village is collecting approximately $39,000 in revenue from the Goshen Plaza. The board’s concern is not to lose money with a PILOT — payment in lieu of taxes — agreement.

Village board members were unanimous in supporting Goshen Plaza’s application for tax help.

“We’re happy they’re here,” said Village Trustee Chris Gurda. "We want to help them along."

Representing the Goshen Town Board, Supervisor Doug Bloomfield said in a letter to the IDA: “Today’s economic climate, especially in the retail sector, makes shopping center development a risky endeavor, so having Goshen Plaza Associates step up and be ready to invest $30 million of their own money is something I can readily support. And any help the OCIDA could provide would make that development just that much less risky.”

The Orange County Office of Economic Development, Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and Goshen Chamber of Commerce expressed overwhelming support for the project.

“It’s outrageous not to be able to shop at a supermarket in the county seat,” said Lynn Cione, president of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. She said reconfiguring the mall will make it more attractive.

“People will be welcomed by an open area, not a loading dock," she said.

One public comment cautioned attorney Kevin Dowd, local counsel for the IDA, who conducted the meeting, to look at all the facts carefully before coming to tax abatement decisions.

The public hearing was closed.

About the exemption

Section 485-b of the New York State Real Property Tax Law authorizes a partial exemption from real property taxation for commercial, business, or industrial property.

Generally the amount of the exemption in the first year is 50 percent of the increase in the assessed value attributable to the improvement.

The exemption amount then decreases by five-percent each of the next nine years.

The declining percentage continues to be applied to the increase in assessed value determined by the first year of exemption.

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