ON THE MOVE — Cold Point’s current Rome offices are at 5884 Success Drive, attached to the UPS building. The company is set to build and move into a much larger manufacturing space at the site of the former Rome Cable Co. on Erie Boulevard West. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Agency approves incentives for Cold Point relocation

Published May 18, 2018 at 12:09pm

A financial assistance package for Cold Point Corporation’s planned relocation from west Rome to expand into a new facility at the former Rome Cable site got preliminary approval today by the Oneida County Indusrial Development Agency (IDA).

The project until now has been referred to publicly as “Project Blue Crab.” A public hearing on the IDA inducement resolution for the assistance package is still to be scheduled before the IDA considers final approval.

Cold Point plans to move from its location at Success Drive, said IDA Assistant Secretary Jennifer Waters. Plans call for it to build a 50,000-square-foot metal structure at the northwest corner of South Jay and Henry streets, on part of the former Rome Cable complex. Among Cold Point’s products are air-conditioning equipment and systems. The project is expected to cost a total of about $5.5 million.

The company plans to retain 37 jobs and add 15 in conjunction with the project, according to figures from today’s IDA meeting.

The financial package includes a PILOT (payment-on-lieu-of-taxes) agreement and PILOT Increment Financing (PIF) allocation agreement, plus a sales tax exemption on certain purchases relating to the project, and a mortgage recording tax exemption. The PILOT would be for 20 years, initially at 50 percent of the estimated property taxes for the site and gradually increasing to 60 percent at 20 years, said Waters. It would involve estimated annual tax payments of $76,843, she added.

Cold Point has applied to Empire State Development for assistance to fill some project funding gaps, according to a Mohawk Valley EDGE economic development agency document. Without state assistance, the project will be unable to move forward, the document said.

“Project Blue Crab” is the first project in the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative as well as well as the initial proposed project for the PIF district, the EDGE document added. The proposed new Cold Point facility is the first to be developed within the Rome Community Brownfield Restoration Corporation (RCBRC)/Rome Cable development project, according to the resolution.

Also today, the IDA gave preliminary approval for financial assistance for the overall RCBRC/Rome Industrial Development Corporation (Rome Cable) facility. The resolution said RCBRC is requesting that the IDA consider PILOT Increment Financing to reimburse the Rome Industrial Development Corp. some of its costs of developing the site, and agree to essential PILOT terms to apply to the four individual locations to be developed within the facility.

All of the affected taxing jurisdictions will be asked to consent to the PIF allocation structure.

“Everything has come together so that Cold Point is at a point where they could approach the IDA about mortgage tax and sales tax exemptions,” said Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo today. “We’re confident in the strength of the project. We’re awaiting a decision now on the (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) funding, which is very important.” The DRI is a $10 million state grant Rome was awarded last year. The city has submitted a package of projects on which to use parts of that funding, and is awaiting the state OK. One piece is $900,000 for the Cold Point project.

The last piece of the puzzle to get Cold Point into a new facility is approval of the DRI spending proposal, Izzo said. There is so far no indication of when this will be decided, but, she said, “We hope to hear anytime.”

The city was using the project code name without naming Cold Point because the agencies involved were awaiting the company’s board approval its headquarters in Maryland and for its finance department to finalize the spending package so that it could be presented to the IDA, Izzo said.

The mayor said the move is happening because “they were maxed out and there was no space to even expand. They like downtown and would like to be in downtown.” The new site will include room for even more expansion, she noted.

Cold Point’s time table is to be operational in the newer, larger location by the first quarter of 2019, Izzo said, and would be able to add the new employees on a new shift immediately.

The facility continues the city’s progress rebuilding the area in and around the former Rome Cable complex. “All of a sudden Cold Point becomes important as a catalyst project for that whole area, for development in the future,” Izzo said. The city plans to use some of its annual federal Community Development Block Grant funds to construct a short access road to help as a staging point for trucks arriving at businesses in the complex.

Even without the addition of Cold Point, just with the plans to tear down the old Building Four and remediate that plot, the projection is an estimated 15 percent increase in housing values nearby, Izzo said. The Cold Point project and associated clean up will mean even more value. “They’ve waited a long time for that. So we’re really excited for the neighborhood as well.”