This year featured several regional development opportunities in southern Chautauqua County. Empire Cheese moved and expanded its business in Blockville, and Celoron received a grant to start work on their waterfront development. Ellicott will be seeing a new hotel in the spring, and Clymer has the Maplevale property open for new business opportunities.
As 2014 approaches, The Post-Journal will be looking into the future to see what these developments hold for the upcoming year.
Celoron received an early Christmas gift from the Regional Economic Development Council in the form of a $82,845 grant to build a boardwalk along the lake, a canoe/kayak boat launch and update the code book.
The construction will take place along the north shore of the park, starting next to an existing public dock and boat launch, running 415 feet to the east along the shoreline, and will be 8 feet wide. The boardwalk will be made out of concrete, but will be patterned to look like a wooden boardwalk. The construction of the canoe/kayak boat launch hopefully will alleviate congestion from the two existing docks, said Shirley Sanfilippo, Celoron village clerk-treasurer.
This is all a part of an ongoing in the Waterfront Revitalization Project Celoron started in June 2011, which, according to its request for proposals in June 2011, in order to attract businesses, commerce and development to its waterfront while keeping the village's character and small town atmosphere.
In August 2010, Maplevale Farms was working on a 36,000 square feet expansion on their warehouse in Clymer. The expansion was to add 12 shipping docks, and due to be ready in November.
On Dec. 16, 2010, the roof of the loading dock collapsed under the weight of several feet of snow. No one was injured, and on Dec. 23, Maplevale relocated to Falconer in the former Sysco Food Services building at 2063 Allen St. Ext. This move became permanent in August 2011, when Maplevale purchased the Allen Street building.
In November 2013, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency expressed interest in issuing bonds in the amount of $300,000 to assist in the purchase, maintenance and development of the former Maplevale warehouse and distribution facility in Clymer. These bonds would be purchased below the site's appraised value.
"The county buys the bonds from us, and we will buy the property from Maplevale," said Bill Daly, administration director and CEO of the IDA. "We, in turn, will be doing a request for proposals for purchasers of the property to come in and develop the property."
Three parties currently have expressed interest in the property knowing the IDA is currently in negations with Maplevale, which they will definitely own by the end of the year, Daly said. Once IDA formally owns the property, they will begin to accept request for proposals.
ELLICOTT HOTEL PROJECT
A regional development which recently started this year is the Ellicott hotel project. Boxwood Hotel LLC expressed interest in building a Holiday Inn Express at the intersection of Route 60 and Interstate 86. It would have 71 rooms and employ about 24 people.
In September, a meeting about proposed tax breaks for the hotel from the IDA led to controversy with Jamestown city officials advocating strongly against the 15-year property tax abatement plan for the hotel development.
"We also believe that a public taxpayer subsidy will be unfair to like businesses at the interchange, as well as other lodging properties throughout the greater Jamestown region and southern Chautauqua County, that do not currently and never have received such assistance," a letter from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi; Greg Rabb, Jamestown City Council president; and Vince DeJoy, Jamestown development director stated. "Furthermore, the city contends that a reasonable case has not been made by the developers that a property tax PILOT is absolutely necessary for this project to go forward. Representatives of Boxwood Hotel LLC should be asked if they will be forced to cancel the project if the proposed level of public taxpayer subsidy is not approved."
Ellicott, on the other hand, was in favor of the tax break. Cecil Miller III, Ellicott town supervisor, said the hotel could lead to more development for the area.
"This is a prime location for retail development," he said. "We are thrilled they chose the town of Ellicott."
The property does not have a PILOT, but it does have a tax abatement on construction materials and the mortgage recording tax. Daly said while the IDA does not know when construction will begin, he assumes it will be in the spring.
In October, Empire State Specialty Cheese Co. LLC announced it would be moving its facilities from Route 62 in Conewango Valley to AFA Food's former meat processing plant in Blockville. This move allows the business to expand its product line from fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese to include a wide variety of cubed and shredded cheeses.
The company will invest $6.37 million to expand its business in Chautauqua County, resulting in the creation of 204 new jobs during the first five years. Empire State Development assisted Empire Specialty Cheese with its expansion project by providing $650,000 in Excelsior Job Program tax credits.
The Excelsior Job Program gives tax credits to strategic businesses such as high tech, bio-tech, clean-tech and manufacturing that create jobs or make significant capital investments.
While Empire Cheese is not currently in its new home, it is in the final stages of the move.