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Silver screen pitched in Spa City

Developer submits plans for Railroad Place movie theater

Downtown Saratoga Springs already has ample parking for a theater, should one be built.  Broadway makes parking and getting to Railroad Place - where a proposed theater is slated to go - appealing and accessible by many.

Downtown Saratoga Springs already has ample parking for a theater, should one be built. Broadway makes parking and getting to Railroad Place - where a proposed theater is slated to go - appealing and accessible by many. Photo by Julie Cushine-Rigg.

— Downtown Saratoga Springs has shopping, restaurants and taverns of every type, but it has long been missing a common Main Street staple: a movie theater.

Developer Sonny Bonacio is looking to change that by developing property on Railroad Place in the Spa City’s bustling downtown area. The city’s Planning Office has received and approved plans for a multi-screen movie theater with office space on a second floor. Now, those plans must be submitted to and approved by the Design Review Commission.

“It allows for a variety of uses. … It will also provide more influx into the downtown area,” said Kate Maynard, a principal planner with the city.

The $18 million project would be attached to nearly $1 million in tax incentives, including forgoing property tax for 10 years and waiving mortgage tax on any property transfer.

“The proposed developer of the theater is asking for certain tax incentives to encourage this project to go forward. I, as commissioner of finance, view this as an investment made by the bodies (city, county, etc.) foregoing such tax revenues in the hopes that … benefits will be realized, and will generate a positive return on the investment,” said Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan in a letter of support for the project.

Bonacio could not be reached for comment.

Mike Valentine, a senior planner with the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency, said Bonacio submitted paperwork to the IDA office on July 30. The project has been in limbo for two years, though, and there is no deadline for Bonacio to get back to the IDA and accept incentives they’ve outlined for the project.

Valentine believes the project would be a positive development for the city.

“From a planning perspective, there’s not much (impact from the project) at the county level, but at the city level, it’s great,” he said.

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