Metroplex cites project revenues

Tax-cut incentives still help localities

Friday, November 16, 2012
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— More than $9.2 million in revenue has been generated so far this year from 51 payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements administered by the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority, according to a report it issued Thursday.

The revenues to local governments, school districts and the county have more than doubled from about $4.45 million since the last report was issued in February 2011. Revenue will continue to grow over the years, since PILOT payments typically increase in size with each year.

“We are taking property that paid little or no taxes before and we are building projects at these sites that create new jobs and new revenues for local governments,” said Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen in a news release.

The majority of the PILOT agreements are on projects that were built in the last several years at sites with empty buildings, vacant land or formerly tax-exempt property that was returned to the tax rolls. The rest are from companies that have made site expansions. These also tended to produce the most in revenues, the total generated this year is $9,230,318.

The projects also generate revenue from ad valorem taxes, or special district taxes like those paid to a fire district.

PILOTS are voluntary agreements and designed to offset the property tax revenues that an organization or company would be expected to pay if it were not exempt. Some are negotiated based on square footage, others are reached by weighing the economic impact of an organization in terms of job retention or creation.

More than a third of these payments in Schenectady County came from expansions at the $100 million General Electric battery plant and the $45 million Global Renewable Energy Headquarters, both of which added a total of 470,000 square feet of renovated space at GE’s downtown Schenectady campus. The agreement on this project has generated more than $2.6 million so far this year.

Nearly a dozen other projects are expected to increase revenues next year, including a hard-fought agreement between GE and Rotterdam that will generate $4.8 million, the new Target store in Glenville, and the return of the former Curry Road Shopping Center in Rotterdam to the tax rolls.

Following is a breakdown of some of the details from the four-page Metroplex report:

Nine company expansions generated some of the highest PILOT revenues. The largest of these include:

• A 40,000-square-foot expansion at SI Group in Rotterdam Junction generated $626,703, and an 83,640-square-foot expansion at SI Group in Niskayuna generated $570,000.

• Three PILOTS totaling nearly $599,308 were negotiated at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna for an expansion of its chemical engineering building and Energy Learning Center, and a new manufacturing facility.

Seventeen projects were built on vacant land that formerly generated around $50,000 in taxes and are now paying more than $1.8 million in pilot payments. The largest of these include:

• A 220,000-square-foot Railex warehouse built on vacant land in the Rotterdam Corporate Park generated $394,648 so far this year.

• A 152,000-square-foot FM Ventures building on once vacant land inside the Rotterdam Corporate Park generated $275,504 so far this year.

• Dimension Fabricators, of 2000 7th St. in Glenville, generated $212,066 on a 152,000-square-foot building on formerly vacant land.

Fifteen projects on former government-owned or tax-exempt land that produced no revenue are now generating more than $1.7 million in PILOT payments. The largest of these include:

• One Broadway Center, a 140,000-square-foot office building in downtown Schenectady, returned to the tax rolls and generated $307,455 this year.

• The former Scotia Navy Depot in Glenville generated $271,869.

• MVP Health Care headquarters at 625 State St. in Schenectady generated $256,569.

Ten projects were built at formerly vacant buildings that paid nominal or no taxes are now producing $783,002. The largest of these include:

• A once empty building, World Star at 450 Duane Ave. in Schenectady generated $179,229 so far this year.

• Center City, a formerly vacant four-building complex at 433 State St. in Schenectady, generated $150,000 so far this year.

• BN Partners, at 1510 Maxon Road in Schenectady, the Golub headquarters, generated $140,150 in the former Big N Plaza.

For the full list of 2012 PILOT revenues, visit

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November 16, 2012
7:46 a.m.
gina99 says...

How come Schenectady is broke can't pay it's school tax bill and the County unemployment rate is the highest in the Capital District?

November 16, 2012
7:56 a.m.
albright1 says...

I don't get it. Payment in lieu of taxes? Why not pay taxes in lieu of "payments in lieu of taxes"? The only explanation I can think of is that these payments are less than what the taxes would be. So instead of revenue, this should be considered a loss in revenue.

November 16, 2012
8:06 a.m.
hodgkins.t says...

It is important to note that the people-directly or through the school boards or legislatures- have zero input into this corporate welfare. Metroplex cannot be held accountable for its actions by the people. It is corporate welfare because without the PILOTs these businesses would be paying more tax. The effectiveness in incentivizing businesses through PILOTs is suspect, because successful businesses do not make decisions based on temporary tax rates. PILOTs are welfare payments to businesses that increase the tax burden on the rest of the public.

November 16, 2012
9:57 a.m.
lbablin says...

Why not post how much money Metroplex GAVE to these companies so that they could generate these PILOTS? The fact that those figures aren't presented would leave me to believe that they are still paying out a lot more than they are taking in. That doesn't even include those projects that have gone belly up.

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