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Council talks BOA plan acceptance and the future of 40-52 Ellicott Street

City officials would love to see the Della Penna property on Ellicott Street cleaned up and turned into something useful, but with aging buildings and environmental issues, the property could sit dormant for many more years.

A $266,000 state grant could help resolve the future of the Della Penna property along with at least four other "brownfield" sites within the 366-acre core downtown area.

A brownfield site is vacant or underutilized land that was once developed and productive but has fallen into disuse because the property has unresolved contamination issues.

The city has created a Batavia Opportunity Area plan to help deal with these types of properties. City Council members learned more about the plan, 18 months in the making, on Monday night.

"Getting the city’s BOA plan certified will give additional tax credits for remediation and redevelopment of certain sites in the brownfield opportunity area,” City Manager Jason Molino said. “This is important and obviously we want to encourage redevelopment and remediation. There’s five strategic sites, all of them in the 366-acre downtown core area. Having those sites redeveloped would be very important for the city’s revitalization of Downtown.”

The plan is in its final draft stage. Once the council votes to accept the plan at a future meeting, the city can begin implementation.

With a certified plan in place, property is eligible for grants to developers who would clean up contamination and enable further tax credits for redevelopment of the site.

There will be a public hearing on the plan at the end of May.

There are confirmed environmental issues with the Della Penna property, the council was told. The council will be asked to pass a resolution authorizing an interim foreclosure on the property. Ownership would then pass to the Batavia Development Corporation and eventually then to a commercial developer.

The steps are necessary to apply to the state for the a brownfield clean-up grant. With environmental problems resolved, the property should be more attractive to a potential developer.

“I would not call it shovel-ready," Molino said. "It’s development-ready. Because there’s an unknown element taken out of the equation. If this property is accepted into the BCP Program, if remediated and developed, the developers are now eligible for tax credits for doing so. It adds a marketability to the site."

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