ELLICOTTVILLE - A former plant that made lockers similar to what you'd see in the halls of a high school will start a transformation soon, as the former American Locker facility in Ellicottville will start to move toward high-end luxury apartments after winning approval from the Cattaraugus County IDA recently.
"We received no formal comments, nor any written correspondence from anyone relating to this proposed project," Corey Wiktor, IDA executive director, said in reference to the public hearing on the proposed development in the heart of the village.
A group of investors, calling themselves 16 Martha Street, LLC., presented their plans with the site to the members of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency, on Oct. 22, asking the board for the sale leaseback on the property to aid in sales tax abatement as the project moves forward.
A sale leaseback allows the property owners to sell the property and then immediately lease it from the buyer. The transaction is normal for industrial development agencies to give purchasers a bit of a tax break as they work on projects to build the property according to the mission of the IDA.
In addition to the public hearing, Wiktor said he spoke with the Nancy Rogan, Ellicottville Planning Board chairman, about the scope and direction of the project.
"My conversation with Mrs. Rogan was merely a courtesy call to let her know where the project was at with the IDA, in terms of the IDA board considering this project relating to the final approval at today's board meeting," he said. "My call to her was just to make her aware that if the IDA board approves this project on our level. I just wanted to keep her in the loop where we were at on this project."
"We have seen over and over that, if you offer an empty space for rent, you will rent it, but you will also have time that it is empty a lot."
project construction manager
Phase one of the project involves making the "tall" building on the property, formerly a metal locker manufacturing facility, into four two-story apartments. The other building on the property, the "long" building, a former refrigeration unit, will be 10 single-story apartments, according to development manager, Wayne Bacon. A third building is planned to be built on the property that will house 10 more units. The new construction will be along the Great Valley Creek.
These apartments are not like the condominiums known in the Ellicottville region. These, according to Bacon, will be term rental apartments. The facility will offer the apartments for leases on short term stays, in a classy environment, he added.
"We don't want this to look like a motel, but have a classy look," he said.
The units will not be empty spaces that renters will have to bring bits of home to feel comfortable, said Dan Saunders, project construction manager.
"We have seen over and over that, if you offer an empty space for rent, you will rent it, but you will also have time that it is empty a lot," Saunders said. "If you fill it with furniture, dishes, Internet, cable, you will have it packed out and filled immediately."
Saunders said he has had properties along Chautauqua Lake that have been furnished and have been successful year-round, not just the seasonal occupation that was expected.