WHEATFIELD – North Tonawanda Clerk-Treasurer Scott P. Kiedrowski, who joined the board of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency only two months ago, was named its chairman today.
The board also granted property and sales tax breaks to two Niagara Falls hotels and two Lockport projects.
Kiedrowski was chosen as the successor of Henry M. Sloma, who resigned as IDA chairman at the January meeting.
Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker, who had been vice chairman, was offered the chairmanship but turned it down. “I’m certainly very busy where I am. My priority is the city,” Tucker said.
Kiedrowski said he will investigate with the IDA staff how active Sloma was and how much he can contribute in his new role.
“My first priority is my position with the City of North Tonawanda. As time warrants, I will be as active as I need to be to promote economic development in Niagara County,” Kiedrowski said.
The other IDA officers, including Tucker as vice chairman, will remain in place, Kiedrowski said.
In project matters, the board altered the terms of a tax break requested by the developer who plans to convert the former Moore Business Forms plant in Niagara Falls into an 84-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
B.F. Patel, who also owns the Niagara Falls EconoLodge, had asked for an alteration of the usual 10-year commercial payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, arrangement.
Patel, applying under the name of Indian Ocean LLC, had sought an extra two years of a 100 percent tax exemption at the outset, under the terms of the IDA’s Opportunity Zone program for depressed downtown real estate in the county’s three cities.
IDA counsel Mark J. Gabriele said the City of Niagara Falls objected to that idea, so Patel will receive only the 10-year sliding scale PILOT, along with sales tax exemptions on building materials and furnishings. However, Gabriele said the city will try to find other funding sources for the $6.65 million Buffalo Avenue project, which is projected to create 33 jobs.
The IDA board also approved a 10-year PILOT and sales tax exemptions for the makeover of the Comfort Inn – The Pointe in downtown Niagara Falls, owned by the Maid of the Mist Corp.
The Maid had asked for a tax break to help it invest $4 million in the 23-year-old, 117-room hotel so it can be updated to satisfy the Choice Hotels chain and keep it from revoking the Comfort Inn franchise.
Also approved were tax incentives for a new winery and a new office for a tourist attraction, a block apart in downtown Lockport.
Scott D. Geise, a former Newfane dentist who served federal prison time in 2010 for tax evasion and insurance fraud, received a five-year, 100 percent Opportunity Zone tax exemption on the value to be added to Old City Hall, 2 Pine St., by the new Flight of Five Winery.
The winery, to be operated by Jacqueline R. Connelly, formerly of Niagara Landing Wine Cellars in Cambria, is scheduled to open in Old City Hall in May. Geise’s tax break will save him an estimated $79,000. Twenty jobs are to be created within three years.
Also, Hydraulic Race Co., operator of the Lockport Cave underground boat ride, received a 100 percent, five-year tax exemption for its new ticket office and visitor center, under construction at 5 Gooding St. The company, formerly located in Old City Hall, will save an estimated $25,200 on its $104,000 project, which will create five seasonal jobs.