Are mixed-use buildings in Buffalo hurting your pockets?

Posted at 11:54 AM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 11:54:02-04

Mixed-use buildings around Buffalo are helping the Queen City come back to life. Many Developers are receiving tax breaks from the state for turning these old buildings into a mix of office, retail, and apartment space. But, New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan said there’s a problem. 

“It’s been shown that this program is being abused in Syracuse, it's been abused in Albany, and now we're seeing that similar abuse is happening here in the city of Buffalo,” Ryan said. 

Ryan said the 485-A Program is a state tax exemption that gives developers a 12-year tax credit on the new property value when they rehab old buildings. Ryan said developers are not holding up their end of the bargain and it’s costing taxpayers millions.

“Every time we give one of these tax breaks away somebody else is picking up the slack for that,” Ryan said. 

The Public Accountability Initiative released a report accusing Ellicott, Termini Signature, and Benderson Development of abusing the break. 

The report points to the new complex at 301 Ohio Street. It qualified for tax breaks because it has both retail and residential space. But the retail space continues to sit empty. The former Donovan State Office Building at 1 Canalside Qualified for mixed-use tax breaks because it includes one apartment unit of less than a thousand square feet. 

“Sean Ryan is an idiot,” Carl Paladino said. 

Paladino of Ellicott Development called this report “phony bologna” and said these tax breaks don’t hurt the pockets of taxpayers. 

“All of the developers mentioned in that article they are responsible people. they do good work,” Paladino said.

“We go people coming back, living in the city again. why is that? because we've been afforded some tools ok from government that done helped us,” Paladino also said.  

“There's no oversight to this program. that's how you get abuse,” Ryan said. 

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