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Vista financing gets Bethlehem's OK

If the plan gets the county's approval, the IDA would issue between $6 and $6.5 million worth of bonds, to be paid back over a 25-year term. These would be non-recourse bonds, meaning the IDA would not be held accountable should tenants default on their payments. Investors would only be able to go after a mortgage on the Vista property in a default scenario.

The IDA has been pursuing a financing plan for months now. Though there was a great deal of excitement about the tech park plans, development has been stalled for years, thanks in no small part to the recession. Now that interest is picking up a lack of any infrastructure at the site is holding things back, said Columbia Development's Joe Nicolla, who related a now-familiar story about an interested business owner wondering if he'd have to helicopter his employees in.

Nicolla said he has leases secured from four tenants with plenty more interested in the site.

"Very soon we're going to have those people on the dotted line, as soon as we get going [on the road]," he said.

Those four tenants are for the retail component of the project, though, which Councilman Mark Hennessey cited as his key reason for casting tonight's only dissenting vote.

"Just even one [technology tenant] would give me enough lack of concern that I could support this," he said. "I promised the people in Slingerlands we would push forward with a technology campus, not a retail campus."

During the meeting, Nicolla disclosed that a tech company interested in a 100,000-square-foot building had decided to locate in Clifton Park because Vista would not be ready in time for its relocation.

Hennessey voted in favor of the financing structure as a member of the IDA board, but explained that while a win for the IDA this issue is different from the town's perspective.

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