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Tech tenant taxes a hot topic

Decision delayed on abatement for Breonics, potential Vista occupant

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.

— An expected decision on tax breaks for the first tech tenant at the Vista Technology Campus was delayed when the developer couldn’t make an Industrial Development Agency meeting.

Joe Nicolla of Columbia Development sent word to the IDA before its most recent meeting on Friday, March 22 that he would like the proposal to be tabled because he would be unable to attend the meeting. The agency approved his request, and now the project will be voted on either at the IDA’s next meeting at the end of April or sooner if a special meeting is convened.

A public hearing on the project was held on Tuesday, March 19. The IDA is in discussions with Breonics Inc., an Albany company specializing in organ regeneration research, to lease space within a new building proposed for a now undeveloped portion of the campus. Breonics is considering the move because the lease at its current location in the state’s Harriman Research Center isending in August.

Breonics would occupy part of a 27,000-square-foot building on a plot behind the ShopRite grocery store at 65 Vista Blvd. The company would occupy about 6,000 square feet of the building. Another tech company, potentially two, are also in talks with the town to occupy the rest, though the players in the negotiations have not be disclosed.

Erecting a building with less than a quarter of the occupancy accounted for doesn’t worry developers.

“What we found out in our examination of where people are, we found there is a shortage of this type of lab space facility, so that’s really the focus and thrust of what this building is,” said Nicolla at the public hearing.

Columbia is seeking an enhanced property tax abatement for the building, as well as sales tax and mortgage tax relief. The enhanced abatement would mean the town and Bethlehem Central School District would see no property taxes from the tenants for two years, and then property tax rates would increase by 10 percent over the next 10 years to full levels.

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