BETHLEHEM The developer for the Slingerlands Vista Technology Campus is now unsure if the organ regeneration research company Breonics will be the first technology tenant for the park, and he’s placing the blame squarely with the town agency managing tax breaks there.
On Friday, July 26, the Bethlehem’s Industrial Development Agency discussed updates for various projects within Vista. Chairman Frank Venezia said at the meeting he had no new information about the proposed $5.5 million building at 65 Vista Blvd., which is meant to house the campus’ first tech tenants, including Breonics. Construction on the building was originally pitched to allow Breonics to move when its lease at the state’s Harriman Research Center ended in August.
But in an interview conducted after that meeting Columbia Development Companies President Joseph Nicolla said the project has stalled as the two companies negotiate a lease. He attributed the problem to the IDA’s approval process for tax abatements.
“We may lose Breonics, because we had to say who they were before the lease was signed,” said Nicolla. “Because it became public knowledge, other competitors became involved.”
Nicolla said because Breonics may pull out of the project, he has put construction of the building on hold. He said Columbia is still in negotiations with other companies to lease space within the building, but he’s no longer rushing the project and would like to have leases signed before going back to the IDA.
“I had a lot of momentum for this project and it was just taken right away from me. This was really good thinking on (the IDA’s) part,” Nicolla said sarcastically. “I would call this tragic.”
Venezia said while the IDA gave the project approval for an advanced property tax abatement, the deal has not been closed because leases haven’t been signed. Columbia Development still owns the land, and there is no timetable set by the agency. If a tech company is not brought in that meets the specs outlined by the IDA, the abatement would be terminated.