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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.

Other users get the green light

In addition to considering the Breonics abatement, the Bethlehem IDA approved three other Vista projects after a lengthy discussion.

Nicolla had presented an application last May for a 7,500-square-foot, two-story, multi-use building at 15 Vista Blvd. It would have had retail users on the first floor and office space on the second floor. Expected tenants included a hair salon, a medical center and a telecommunications user.

Columbia Development revised the plan for the entire property to be either medical or commercial office space. The property was granted a standard tax abatement with a mortgage tax exemption and sales tax relief.

Bethlehem Director of Economic Development and Planning Michael Morelli said he believes the plan was changed because the Columbia has seen more interest in using the building for office space and there should be enough interest to fill the entire building instead of just half.

Also approved was a revised application for 5 Vista Blvd, to include retail space and the second Garden Bistro location owned by local chef John Grizzaffi. Nicolla removed his request for a property tax exemption for the building and only requested sales and mortgage relief, which were granted. The 6,000-square-foot building is expected to bring 25 new jobs and the restaurant will occupy half of the space.

“I think basically what happened is the applicant looked at the criteria for the tax abatements, and he (Nicolla) knew the project did not meet that criteria and would not be approved by the IDA,” said Morelli.

The last project approved was a 10,500-square-foot building at 10 Vista Blvd for five retail tenants. Nicolla said he expected several long-term leases, as two of the tenants are national companies. The leases are still being negotiated, so names for the tenants have not been released. The project was granted sales tax and mortgage relief.

The next regular IDA meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 26, at 8 a.m. in Bethlehem Town Hall.

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