By STEVE JONES Staff writer
A developer with interest in purchasing the former Woodhaven housing complex is seeking financial incentives from the county.
The complex, which once served Griffiss Air Force Base housing needs, was sold by the federal government to a private developer called Park Drive Estates, which renovated several units in recent years to sell. The New York City-based developer bought the 270-unit site for $2.05 million and has been trying to rehabilitate the 70-acre site at various paces and with limited results.
California-based Woodhaven Park Development is seeking incentives from the Oneida County Industrial Development Agency to support its planned purchase, according to IDA Executive Director Shawna Papale, in reference to its June 28 meeting.
The company stated in its application to the IDA that it anticipates renovations at an estimated $10 million.
The company requested a six-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal, with sales tax and mortgage filing tax exemptions. The IDA typically does not support housing projects, preferring to steer clear of market competition. It countered with a four-year PILOT with the developer paying full taxes for four years based on current tax rate and current assessment. The IDA’s offer included no exemption for sales or mortgage filing taxes.
The IDA is willing to consider supporting a project there because of the deteriorated condition of the mostly vacant complex, Papale said. The new project would eliminate blight.
The IDA response is preliminary and conditional, Papale noted. It has requested a market analysis and study, with the developer to hire a firm to conduct the study.
In addition, there will have to be a to-be-scheduled public hearing. Also, it would be up to the developer to decide whether or not to accept the IDA’s revised tax-payment offer
Mayor Joseph R. Fusco Jr. said the city wants to make something good out of what has been "an ongoing bad situation." He said his administration has been in communication with the proposed buyer and has communicated its expectations.
The city avoided having to take the company to court two years ago to get it to board up some vacant buildings and tear down a few more.