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BIDA wants to nix special tax status for Vista site

Group says that designation would have only applied to Breonics, which is not moving forward

— Since it was officially made known Breonics will no longer be moving to Vista Technology Campus in Slingerlands, the Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency is seeking to remove the project’s enhanced abatement status.

BIDA Executive Director Tom Connelly said he was told by developers the Columbia 65 building would not be moving forward in the near future because Breonics is no longer interested in the location and there are no other prospects. The updates were presented at this month’s IDA meeting on Friday, April 25.

“I’m concerned about this, and principally because of Breonics,” said Connelly. “ Breonics is gone. Our enhanced abatement was keyed to Breonics. I don’t know if we would have given an enhanced abatement ... actually I know we wouldn’t have given an enhanced abatement to a medical office building.”

Breonics was first announced as a potential tenant for Vista last March. The company would have occupied about 6,000 square feet of a 27,000-square-foot building to be constructed behind ShopRite.

Connelly said the Columbia 15 project is also in jeopardy. That project was also supposed to house Cornea Consultants, a surgical eye-care facility, but the project has not yet received approval from the state Health Department. Developer Joe Nicolla has said in the past he would not go forward with construction of the building until additional tenants were in place.

Site plan approval from the town’s Planning Board has lapsed on both projects. Planning Director Rob Leslie said all approved projects must begin construction within one year and be completed within two years. The developers can file for two 90-day extensions before the projects have to go back before the planning board.

Supervisor John Clarkson said the Columbia Development representatives met with him and Leslie to seek a zoning change from Mixed Economic Development. Clarkson said that discussion was tabled until a later date.

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