IDA grants fee break to Promenade

— Enterprise file photo

 The Promenade at University Place on Western Avenue has been hit hard by the pandemic. It’s resident count is in the 25- to 30-percent range.

GUILDERLAND — Meeting for just the third time in 12 months, the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency on Monday granted a modicum of financial relief to the already hard-hit Promenade at University Place on Western Avenue while also being updated on the activity of an otherwise quiet year for the agency. 

It has been a “slow year relative to new projects,” chiefly due to the pandemic, said IDA Chairman William Young. 

During an audit presentation to the board, it was noted the IDA took in about $29,000 less in fees in 2020 than in 2019 — from $39,037 in 2019 to $10,297 in 2020. While its net position at the end of 2020 was about $49,000 less than it was at the year prior — from $680,322 at the end of 2019 to $631,678 at the end of last year.

One of the more recent projects the IDA had dealt with, the car wash on Western Avenue, Knockout Car Wash, YOung said, is now open and operational — the car wash received sales-tax and mortgage-recording-tax exemptions totaling close to $60,000.

The other project the agency had worked on in the past year or so, the Summit at Mill Hill, is at 50-percent occupancy, and is due sales-tax and mortgage-recording tax relief.

There have been frequent “nibbles,” said Donald Csaposs, the IDA’s chief executive officer, naming a compressed-gas storage facility at the Northeastern Industrial Park that is “apparently going forward,” but won’t happen for another year. 

Pine Bush Senior Living Facility slated for Carman Road is a “live approval at the town-level,” Csaposs said. “There’s an interesting notion floating around that part of that property may be sold for an affordable senior-housing project, which would be a little different in Guilderland, I can assure you. So, they may be in discussion with us, then we’ll see where that goes.”



Promenade, an assisted-living facility at 1228 Western Ave., requested a waiver for a $9,250 administrative fee it pays to the IDA on $32 million in bonds that were issued to finance its conversion of the Best Western Sovereign Hotel. 

The pandemic took a toll on occupancy and the accompanying revenue that would have been generated from those residents, Csaposs said during the March 22 meeting, but there’s also a connection with Promenade’s prior problems with legionella. 

There was an outbreak at the facility in February 2019, while a number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease were linked to the building in 2010 and 2012, when it had been a Best Western.

Csaposs said the census count is in the 25- to 30-percent range, while capacity is around 192 — the facility had 52 residents as of March 1 and 57 residents at the end of 2020. “The decline in census is due to the closing of admissions for most of 2021,” Promenade’s letter to the IDA said. 

Csaposs said Promenade has been a responsible client but also pointed out the IDA had granted relief in the past and posited whether it should continue to do so. 

In August 2020, Promenade sought and was granted an amendment to its tax agreement with the IDA.

Csaposs told The Enterprise in August 2020 that, when the current owners of Promenade were in the process of acquiring the former Best Western Hotel and converting it into an assisted-living facility, they approached the IDA for financial assistance. 

The board was concerned with the potential impact on property-tax revenue for the town, county, school district, and library, Csaposs said, and, in particular, the board got some feedback from the school district “evidencing concern” that the tax revenue it derived from the property would go down. 

After much discussion, Csaposs said, the board came up with what it thought was a reasonable compromise: The IDA would give Promenade a Payment in Lieu Of Taxes, but it would get a floor, an amount that the annual payment could not go below. 

At the August 2020 meeting, Promenade asked to do away with the floor, which the IDA board agreed to do for a period not to exceed three years. But the facility was required to notify the IDA on a quarterly basis of its occupancy rate and, once that rate hits 85 percent, the elimination of the floor payment is rescinded — the IDA relief goes away and Promenade goes back to making its regular PILOT payments. 

Promenade is not currently on the town assessment roll because it’s covered by a PILOT agreement, Csaposs said at the time; however, all properties in Guilderland have an assessed value assigned to them. If there is a PILOT agreement in place, he said, the assessed value is called a notional or nominal value. 

Promenade’s property had a notional value of $2.1 million as of August of last year. In 2020, Promenade paid the town and county approximately $19,000 in taxes, and paid the school district about $60,000.

“The notional value times the tax rate divided by 50 percent — in other words, a PILOT payment with the floor removed — would be on the order of [$34,000 or $35,000],” Csaposs said at the time.

At the March 22 meeting, Csaposs recommended and the board agreed to cut the administrative bond fee in half, by $4,625.

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