Tuesday night, 8/11/20, 7pm, the Batavia City Council Committee of the Whole (COW) will be discussing approval of a new Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) and TIF District for the massive 6-story Shodeen apartment complex in the heart of downtown Batavia.
The Batavia City Council will be selling roughly 3/4 of a city block they have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on, to Shodeen for $10. Then they will give Shodeen $16 million in General Obligation bonds (plus interest), backed by your tax dollars, to build a 2-story “public” parking garage with 333 parking spaces that will supposedly provide parking for the tenants of the 186 luxury apartments, as well as tenants and customers of the 14,000 sq ft of new retail space, and 2400 sq ft of office space. Oh, and they’ll be tearing down the city’s parking deck, destroying over 200 current parking spaces between the deck and adjacent lots. Shodeen will pay for 0 —that’s ZERO— parking spaces for his tenants, who will have to pay $30/mo. for an overnight parking pass for the “public” garage that anyone living in the downtown area can also purchase.
Does this sound like a good deal for citizens? But wait! There’s more:
Now Shodeen wants to start construction drawings immediately, before a new TIF District is approved for him, and if the plans to create a new TIF District don’t go through, the City (us taxpayers) would pay Shodeen’s expenses.
The City Council wanted to extend the TIF District they made for Shodeen from 23 to 35 years, but an extension requires the approval of all the taxing bodies. Because a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District takes all the property taxes from new development and other assessed value growth away from the schools, library, parks, etc., and gives them to the City alone (to be used, in this case, to fund the Shodeen project), the School Board said no. They didn’t want to lose their fair share of the property taxes for 35 years while providing education for the students the apartments will generate. So the City Council is now looking at an end run around the School Board (and all the other taxing bodies) by establishing a new TIF District, since creating a new TIF does not require the unanimous consent of the taxing bodies like extension does.
Plans for the new TIF include taking parts of 3 existing TIF Districts and combining them to make a new TIF for 23 years. But the properties in 2 of the TIFs were already extended to the maximum 35 years. Starting the TIF clock over, a new TIF for Shodeen would put some of those properties in a TIF District for 54 YEARS!!! For over half a century, the schools, parks, library, etc., would be deprived of their fair tax share.
And to top it all off, Shodeen wants some sales tax abatement for his retail space.
But wait! There’s more:
The document for Agenda Item 11, starting on p. 25 (https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/15434?fileID=11720) shares the City Council’s plans for downtown Batavia that include turning the downtown into a land of tall apartment complexes with ground floor commercial space:
- Shodeen’s 6-story, 186 apartment complex at Wilson and Washington
- A 4-story, 30 apartment (or condo) complex on the south side of Wilson where the old Marathon station used to be
- A multi-story, 20 unit apartment complex I’m guessing at 118-124 N. River St. (I think they made an error on the address of 18-24 N. River)—part of the City’s Larson-Becker purchase they bought and demolished
- A 5-story building at the NE corner of River & State (# of apartments unspecified)
- 14 apartments along State
- 5 townhomes at River & Spring
- 26 apartments at Wilson and Van Buren (catty corner from Berkeley’s)
- 37 apartments where the Boardwalk Shops are
That’s 318 new residential units + those unspecified in the 5-story complex, all clustered around Wilson and Washington (Rt 25) on the east side of the bridge.
Is this the downtown Batavia you want—an area of high rise apartments with retail below? How will this affect Batavia’s character?How will this affect your travel time across the bridge?
These are your elected aldermen making these plans. If you don’t want this, you’d better tell them. If you can’t make the meeting live or by phone, you can contact them here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/233/City-Council-Committee-of-the-Whole
Instructions for meeting attendance and public comments, along with meeting documents, can be found on the Agenda page here: https://www.cityofbatavia.net/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_08112020-1592?html=true