Kingstonian tax breaks endorsed by city Finance and Audit Committee

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Members of the Common Council’s Finance and Audit Committee have expressed their support for a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes plan for the Kingstonian mixed-use development project, which will be considered by the full council Tuesday. Local input into the plan to provide $30.64 million in tax breaks was sought by members of Ulster County’s Industrial Development Agency because the plan departs markedly from the standard PILOT agreement. Project developers are offering a number of novel terms, including commitments to scholarships and internships for public-school students, sharing of excess profits, and bathrooms and parking spaces that will be available for public use. If approval is granted by the common council, the PILOT will be considered at the IDA meeting on Aug. 12.

The $58-million project, to be located on the extension of Fair Street between Schwenk Drive and North Front Street, would provide some 277 parking spaces that supporters feel are critical to economic revitalization uptown, and in the city as a whole. Drivers would be able to pay a projected $1.50 an hour to park there or buy a monthly pass for an expected $60 a month to have access to the lot. The remainder of the 420 spaces would be reserved for Kingstonian residents. Developers have proposed that they will pay $100 monthly for that dedicated spot, or half that if living in one of the 14 units designated “affordable,” which will be rented at below-market rates. There is no law requiring affordable apartments be included in developments in Kingston.

Beyond parking, the project would have a total of 143 apartments, 32 hotel rooms, 9,000 square feet of retail space, and pedestrian bridge across the street to the Kingston Plaza, which is owned by Herzog’s Supply Co., the president of which is also a principal of this project. Parking in that plaza would remain free.

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Developers Kingstonian Development LLC and JM Development Group LLC have applied to have $28.84 million in property taxes to be waived over 25 years, along with another $1.8 million in sales, mortgage, and use taxes. They would continue to pay the current property taxes on the property, with an increase of two percent annually, for the duration of the agreement. The terms they are seeking include the construction and ongoing maintenance of the parking garage along with a pedestrian plaza and unisex bathrooms, paying employees at least $15 hourly, contributing $50,000 over 10 years toward a scholarship fund to benefit students of the Kingston Central School District, two internships—pegged at $10,000 annually—for public school students for the life of the agreement, and sharing of three percent of excess profits with local taxing authorities should financial projections be exceeded.

Committee members were largely enthused with the project, although the ninth ward’s Michele Hirsch felt strongly enough that taxpayers should get more out of this agreement that she cast the lone dissenting vote. Hirsch was concerned about revenue lost to the public including that from parking, but other committee members focused on the fact that parking is precisely what was sought in a 2016 request for proposals, and predicted that sales tax revenue in general would rise over time thanks to that garage.

There are 3 comments

  1. Community Planner

    Get the shovels in the ground and get this thing going.
    353 + Construction Jobs = salary and spending
    143 + New Uptown Residents = sales, salaries, and spending
    New Parking = Easier visits to Uptown, no fiscal outlay by Kingston
    New Hotel = More visitors, sales, salaries, and spending
    Completed Development = filling in huge empty gap in the community and the streets
    Completed Development = Opening post-pandemic timeline and a new surge of Uptown and Kingston growth
    Completed Development = More visitors and revenue for the historic sites that are desperately dependant on tourism, this is how you protect them

  2. jim latorre

    I live in uptown Kingston and this project is well over due ,i look forward to an uptown that will bustle with new people.

  3. KingstonCitizens.org

    353 construction jobs? There are 150 promised in the application. Where is the additional number coming from to make it 353?

    Here is another opportunity for letter writing. http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2020/08/the-kingstonain-tax-free-deal-for-luxury-apartments-includes-no-school-tax/

    Also, a bit more information based on the developer’s PILOT application.
    http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2020/07/promises-with-no-data-the-mayor-of-kingston-comments-on-the-kingstonian-pilot/

    More reading at KingstonCitizens.org. We’ve been following this process now for 2 1/2 years. Readers interested in reviewing what has taken place can do so by clicking on this link:
    http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/category/kingstonian/

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