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Vista Technology Campus is becoming a reality

In months, field and woods turned to first phase of landmark project

A ShopRite grocery store is on schedule to open in the Vista Technology Park in late September, with more businesses to follow.

A ShopRite grocery store is on schedule to open in the Vista Technology Park in late September, with more businesses to follow. Photo by Marcy Velte.

ShopRite and the two banks approved for the campus received an “enhanced” agreement, according to IDA Chairman Frank Venezia, with a 100 percent abatement in the first two years of the agreement and a 10 percent annual decline over the next decade.

Work has also begun on another building whose lead business was offered tax abatements from the IDA. The 6,000-square-foot, single-floor structure that will house the medical practice of Dr. Lev Barats from Community Care Professionals is set to open in early 2013. The practice was granted a tax abatement of $130,000 in incentives and a 10-year payment in lieu of taxes agreement worth $120,000. The lease for the practice is for 15 years.

In all, eight structures have been included in the first stage of development in Vista. Two more mixed-use buildings including retail businesses are set to be built, along with a restaurant at the front of the property. Deforest said 100 workers are on the site at any given time and stage one of the project had created space for 300 full-time workers.

Stage two of development towards the back of the campus will be reserved for technology companies.

“People complain that all the project is is retail, but Vista is so much more than that,” said Deforest, who added a major announcement is set to be made in coming weeks about a firm’s interest into setting up shop at Vista. He declined to discuss specifics.

When fully built, the campus should include 1.4 million square feet of retail, business and residential space.

Town Director of Economic Development and Planning Mike Morelli said interest in the campus has grown now that potential investors can see how the site is developing.

“Now that it’s no longer just a bunch of woods and fields, tenants can see their plans taking shape,” he said. “This has been a remarkable project for the town that is taking place in such a soft economy.”

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