By Lauren Zaepfel
A pubic hearing on whether the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency should grant tax breaks to Summit Outlet LP for sports domes and other amenities at the Summit Mall had a small turnout Thursday afternoon.
Summit Mall owner Zoran Cocov is seeking a10-year property tax abatement and a sales tax exemption on building materials and equipment for two 96,000-square-foot sports domes. Total tax breaks for the project would amount to nearly $560,000.
At the hearing, Robert Federspiel of Jagow Road, the only resident to comment on the project, inquired if there are any owned taxes from any of the mall's previous owners.
"I know the mall in the past has owed a lot of back taxes on the property from previous owners," Federspiel said. "I'm wondering if all back taxes were taken care of on this property to the county or town? ... If they're getting loans and tax forgiveness, I think all back taxes should have been taken care of first. (But) I don't know the situation."
Susan Langdon, NCIDA director of projects and finance, said, "The current owner is current with their taxes. There's no delinquent taxes on the property."
Besides the two domes, renovations of approximately 48,540-square-feet inside the mall are planned. Batting cages, locker rooms, a personal training area, pool area and other amenities recreational offerings are proposed for the mall.
Summit Outlet LP's application, provided by the IDA, states the mall, which has been mostly vacant for approximately eight years, has lost most of its heating, ventilation and air conditioning units and electrical wiring to vandals. Tax breaks granted by the NCIDA would help offset the cost of replacing these items, allowing the project to move along more quickly.
In total, project costs are estimated at $7.3 million.
The NCIDA's public comment period on the project is open until April 3.
Langdon said the NCIDA board is likely to vote on whether it will grant the tax breaks for the project at its April 12 meeting.
For more information, visit www.niagaracountybusiness.com/ncidaprojects_active1.asp.