Greece, N.Y. - Monroe County's industrial development agency provisionally approved tax breaks for Greece Ridge Mall, but not after making changes requested by the Greece Central School District.
The original deal called for the mall's assessment to be flat at about $90 million for 25 years. Payments in lieu of taxes to the town, county and school district would go up by .6% per year.
The new deal, subject to final approval, calls for a 15 year PILOT. The county and town would get .6% increases every year.
The school district would get 2% increases, the same as the property tax cap limit. Also, the agreement covers the existing mall footprint, so if Wilmorite, the owner of the mall, builds any additions, it would be subject to additional property taxes.
Wilmorite threatened to walk away from an $11 million renovation if it didn't get a PILOT, which it wanted to secure financing.
The company plans to tear down the BonTon and build restaurants. If it walked away, the Wilmorite would have torn down the BonTon and put nothing in its place and likely paid less taxes. Wilmorite and town officials repeatedly said the mall could end up like Medley Centre, which Wilmorite unloaded when it began to decline.
Critics of the deal said other Greece taxpayers will see their assessments rise in the coming years and shoulder more of the tax burden. They worry restaurants at the mall will have a leg up on other restaurants in town. Another criticism is that retail jobs are low-paying and don't drive the economy.
The school board still has to sign off on the deal.