Pyramid proposal is for ordinary apartments and doesn’t deserve a tax break

To the Editor:

This is the statement I made to the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency.

Pyramid, which owns Crossgates Mall, has asked the Guilderland IDA to award it a $1.55 million tax reduction for the construction of 222 apartments near its mall.

I am opposed to granting the tax reduction.

For more than 30 years, Crossgates has been buying property near its mall. Everyone has presumed that Crossgates will develop this property. More construction by Crossgates is pretty much guaranteed. A tax reduction is not necessary to induce Crossgates to build yet again.

Additionally, every city of any significance has apartment buildings similar to those proposed by Crossgates. What makes this set of apartments so special that it deserves a tax reduction?

There is no claim that a significant social purpose is included in the planned development. For example, Crossgates has made no announcement that it will provide apartments at below-market rents to homeless veterans.

Moreover, Crossgates has not said that the construction will be architecturally significant or that it will draw more people to migrate to the region or that it will help develop new industry or bring new employers to the area.

It is just an apartment complex. It is ordinary — like a house — and should pay its full property taxes like everyone else. Nor can anyone convincingly claim that Crossgates needs the money.

If the tax reduction is not granted by the IDA, then local governments will have more revenue to provide public services — and I think nearly everyone agrees that our communities need more public services.

Finally, I feel confident that the majority of Albany residents would vote against a tax reduction for Crossgates if they were given the opportunity to vote.

I hope that the IDA members will vote against the requested tax reduction for Crossgates.

Don Reeb

Guilderland

Editor’s note: Don Reeb is the former long-time president of the McKownville Improvement Association. See related story.

More Letters to the Editor