New York State is the latest entity to look at pulling incentives given to the Medley Centre project in Irondequoit.
Assemblyman Joe Morelle says that the state’s economic development agency, Empire State Development, investigated the eligibility of developer Bersin Properties for the nearly $4 million in property tax credits that project has received since 2004.
Bersin’s eligibility for Empire Zone status was the creation of two full-time jobs in Monroe County. As of June 6th, the state decertified Bersin from the Empire Zone Program. Bersin Properties, headed by developer Scott Congel, now has a month to appeal the agency’s decision.
Morelle says the action by the state opens the door for the state tax department to review whether Bersin Properties met the requirements of the Empire Zone Program in previous years. He says that could eventually lead to New York trying to get back state tax dollars Bersin received in previous years.
Morelle says that the Medley Centre project is a good example of what was wrong with the Empire Zone program. He says that program gave tax breaks to a variety of corporations with no clear, consistent, verifiable justification for public investment. The Empire Zone program is being phased out.
Irondequoit Supervisor Adam Bello says the state's decertification of the incentives for Medley, along with the town's effort to terminate the PILOT, or 'Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes' agreement will help ensure that taxpayers are no longer subidizing a failed development.
Scott Congel, the managing partner of Bersin Properties issued a statement which says his company will appeal the state's attempt to terminate the Empire Zone designation. Congel believes his company is in compliance, saying that he has had employees working at the Medley site from 2007 until 2013 before they had to temporarily mothball the project. Congel says his company benefitted from $1.5 million in tax credits and he says any report that the current owners received $4 million in state incentives is "false and misleading." Congel contends that Morelle is including benefits that the prior owner of Medley Centre received from the state.