BATAVIA – The Genesee County Economic Development Center’s board of directors Thursday approved a controversial $1.8 million package of tax incentives for a new retailer in the Towne Centre Mall.
COR, the strip mall’s developer, asked for abatements from property, sales and mortgage taxes for Dick’s Sporting Goods, which would take over space vacated two years ago by a Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
The unanimous vote came less than 24 hours after a public hearing at which members of a new Libertarian Committee voiced objections.
The group complained that COR already had received a tax abatement when the mall was built in 2006. The incentives, according to the committee, would subsidize a private business at public expense and could hurt two existing sporting goods stores in the city.
COR wants $622,800 in property tax relief over a 10-year period, a $1.1 million waiver on sales taxes and $56,000 in relief from mortgage taxes.
The developer, based in Fayetteville, plans an $18 million “adaptive reuse” of the 138,000-square-foot store, converting it for Dick’s and other retailers. The store covers about one-third of the entire five-store mall.
The developer says the project will employ 120 full-time people and add to sales tax receipts for Genesee County and the Town of Batavia, where the mall is located.
Dick’s has said it wants to be open this fall. No other tenants have been identified by COR.
The original property tax abatement has four years remaining, and its effect on the new deal is uncertain.