6 Story Mixed-Use Development for Downtown Batavia?

The Batavia City Council is considering a proposal for a large building project by One North Washington, LLC, a creation of Shodeen, a Geneva developer. The 6 story building would have 2 levels of parking, retail/commercial space at ground level on Wilson and River streets, and 4 floors of high-end apartments.  Of the 171 proposed apartments, 99 would be 2-bedroom units.  There would be 300 parking spaces in the parking garage for the residents of the 171 rental units, plus the citizens who work and shop and dine in downtown Batavia. The project would take up most of the block on the northwest section of Wilson and Washington Streets on the east side of the river.

The City would purchase the 2 remaining private properties in the area of the proposed development and sell them, along with the old Baptist church the City had bought for over $700,000, the public parking garage, and other lots to the developer for $10. Then the City would issue $13 million in General Obligation bonds (backed by taxpayer dollars) and give that money to the developer for the project.

Once the project is completed, the developer will pay increased taxes due to the increased value of the property from the project (estimated an additional $800,000/yr), which will go into a TIF district that would be specially created for this project, this developer. The TIF money would be used to pay off the bonds. If the assessed value of the property falls short of projections, a Special Service Area (SSA) will be put in place to increase the taxes enough to pay off the bonds.

Some questions that remain to be answered (if you have more, please submit them and they will be posted here):

  • Where will the money come from to pay the school district for the students generated by the apartments?
  • How will 300 parking spaces be enough for 171 rental units (99 2-bedroom) plus the 126 the City currently owns that will be demolished and built over? How many parking spaces would normally be required just for the residents of an apartment complex of this size?
  • What will happen to the traffic in that area that is already busy?
  • Will they be able to fill the proposed stores with businesses, as downtown Batavia has had some trouble attracting and keeping businesses in existing space?
  • What happens to the bonded debt should the project fail, since taxpayers are ultimately on the hook, and Shodeen is not backing the project with its own money, but created a Limited Liability Company instead?
  • Should government be in the business of propping up private companies in what should be a free market, capitalistic society?

There is a City Council COW meeting tonight, 7/19/16, 7:30pm, where this project will be discussed.

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