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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • IDA OKs tax breaks for CFA, new hotel

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  • The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency has approved a package of tax incentives for the renovation of Corning Free Academy, and given preliminary approval to tax breaks for a new hotel in downtown Corning.
    According to executive director Jamie Johnson, the IDA will give property, sales and mortgage tax breaks to Watertown developer Mark Purcell, who is planning to renovate Corning Free Academy – the middle school on the city’s Southside – into about 60 upscale apartments.
    CFA will close for good this week, and the Corning-Painted Post school district will clear out the building as quickly as possible, Superintendent Mike Ginalski said. Construction of the apartments is expected to begin by August.
    The property tax breaks will span 20 years. Since it’s a school, there are currently no taxes being paid on the building, Johnson said.
    “Anything that is going on the tax rolls there is new money, so even with an abatement, there’s still a positive impact to the community, because currently it’s off the tax rolls and there’s nothing being paid on it,” Johnson said.
    The IDA board of directors also gave preliminary approval to a package of property, sales and mortage tax breaks for a new 125-room upscale hotel to replace the Days Inn off Bridge Street.
    The property tax breaks will span 12 years, decreasing until the hotel is fully taxed at the end of 12 years. The arrangement will give relief from the jump in the assessment expected when the new hotel is finished.
    Days Inn owner Kerry Fitzpatrick has told The Leader he wanted to build a new hotel in part to accommodate tourists visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, which is expanding.
    Demolition of the Days Inn and several former businesses adjacent to the hotel is already underway, and construction of the new hotel is expected to begin in late summer or early fall. The new hotel will feature a restaurant, meeting rooms, an indoor pool and a fitness center.
    It hasn’t been determined what kind of hotel it will be, Johnson said.
    “They are working with several franchise flags right now,” he said. “I know they plan on it being a higher-end flag, but they’re still working through that.”
    The hotel project was also awarded $2 million in state economic development funding in December.
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