BY: Tim Knauss, The Post-Standard
Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse Common Council today narrowly passed a 30-year tax exemption for the developer of a new Syracuse University bookstore and fitness center.
Council voted 5 to 4 to pass the deal.
The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency approved the PILOT in February for Cameron Group LLC, the developer of the project at 601 University Ave. Under the deal approved by SIDA, Cameron would pay the city $64,400 a year for 30 years — about 17 percent of what the property would owe if it were fully taxed.
But today, the proposal won support from at-large councilors Kathleen Joy and Helen Hudson and district councilors Jake Barrett, Khalid Bey and Bob Dougherty.
Opposed were at-large councilors Lance Denno and Jean Kessner and district councilors Pat Hogan and Nader Maroun.
Toay’s vote comes just one month after news broke that Destiny USA — the expansion of Carousel Center mall — would fall far short of becoming the major tourist attraction that was promised when the city granted its only other 30-year PILOT.
Tom Valenti, a Cameron Group principal, said he hoped to begin construction by October and open the bookstore in the fall of 2013. About 8.5 percent of the building is expected to be leased to independent retailers.
The site is currently tax-exempt because it is owned by Syracuse University, which plans to lease it to Cameron Group for $1 a year.
After 30 years of lease payments to Cameron Group, SU would own the building. At that point, the university would owe taxes only on space leased for commercial purposes, currently expected to be about 8.5 percent of the building.
Contact Tim Knauss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-3023.