Bethlehem's Vista Technology Campus.
Photo by Marcy Velte.
continued Bethlehem Director of Economic Development and Planning Mike Morelli said for now the building is planned as a one-story structure, but there is the possibility it could be changed to a two-story building to help reduce the site’s carbon footprint.
Developer Joe Nicolla of Columbia Development Companies is seeking an enhanced property tax abatement for Breonics, as well as sales tax and mortgage tax relief. The enhanced abatement would mean the town would see no property taxes from the tenants for two years, then property tax rates would increase by 10 percent over the next 10 years.
“I think the tax rate is appropriate for their type of business,” said Bethlehem Supervisor John Clarkson. “Success tends to begat success. This means new revenues both for the town and school district. If Vista pops, people will say it was a wise move to take the chance.”
Clarkson did say he would like tax abatement agreements to be more transparent for residents.
Venezia said he continues to believe the IDA made the right choice in giving tax abatements to the campus’s first few retail tenants, such as Shoprite, Berkshire Bank and SEFCU. He said the attraction of a tech company is proof that was the right decision.
“We knew no one would come to an empty park and now, two years later, it’s finally happening,” said Venezia.
Another tech company is also in talks with the town to occupy an additional portion of the building, according to Morelli. He declined to name the company because negotiations are ongoing.
The IDA has set a public hearing on the project at Bethlehem Town Hall on Tuesday, March 19, at 5 p.m. A short presentation by the town and the developer will take place beforehand.
Venezia said any decisions on whether the project will go forward or not will take place at the IDA’s regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, March 22, at 8 a.m.