EDA proposes $600K tax break for new owner of Chase site in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 January 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The new owners of the former Chase building in Albion won’t have to pay any property taxes for the site this year, and would save nearly $600,000 in property taxes over the next decade, according to a proposal by the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

231 East Avenue LLC, a company led by Roger Hungerford, purchased the former Chase site for $2.6 million. The firm is investing at least $300,000 in improvements at the property, according to the EDA.

The EDA is proposing a 10-year property tax abatement for the property. There was a hearing on the proposal this afternoon, and only the EDA director and two reporters were there. None of the local municipalities affected by the tax plan showed up to speak either in favor or against it.

The EDA board is expected to approve the incentives during its meeting Friday at 8 a.m. at 121 North Main St.

As part of the tax-savings proposal the village of Albion and school district will each give up about $218,000 in taxes over 10 years. The county will abate about $120,000 in taxes while the town of Albion will give a $36,000 tax break.

The plan abates $592,661 in taxes from the four municipalities. It also establishes a schedule for Hungerford’s company to pay $504,859 to the four entities in payments in lieu of taxes or a PILOT.

The company will pay no taxes this year and will then pay 10 percent of the taxes on a $2.9 million assessment. Each following year another 10 percent will be added.

The site will be the home for Claims Recovery Financial Services, which is moving a workforce of about 700 people to the site with room to grow.

The tax abatement accounts for less than $1,000 per job when divided by 700, said Jim Whipple, EDA chief executive officer. The math works out to $846 per job.

Whipple said that is a good deal for the community. Those employees will spend money locally, generating sales tax for the government and revenue for other local businesses, Whipple said.

The PILOT mirrors the deal for JP Morgan Chase. The EDA in 2011 worked out a 10-year tax incentive where the company, in each following year, was to pay 10 percent more of a $4,046,000 assessment until the PILOT expired in 2021.

The company paid a tenth of that in 2012 and 20 percent in 2013. The PILOT schedule called for Chase to pay 30 percent in 2014.

Once the ownership changed, Hungerford was eligible to request a new abatement deal. The new agreement sets the schedule back to 0 percent and this time the assessment is down more than $1 million.