Tax breaks OK’d for Victory mill project
VICTORY The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency approved tax breaks Monday to assist conversion of the aging Victory Packing mill in the village of Victory into upscale apartments.
The unanimous approval at a meeting in Ballston Spa is a major step forward for owner Uri Kaufman’s plan to revive the old mill that towers over the tiny eastern Saratoga County village.
“It is our hope this proves to be an economic engine over there,” said IDA Chairman Raymond F. Callanan.
The latest deal, unlike one Kaufman sought but didn’t get nearly three years ago, had the support of the town of Saratoga, the village and the Schuylerville school district, all of which have a stake in tax revenue from the mill.
Residents spoke in favor of the project at a public hearing last month in Victory and Mayor Patrick Dewey said the Village Board recently passed a resolution of support.
The tax breaks granted by the IDA are worth more than $1 million and are intended to help Kaufman afford a $26 million conversion project.
The mill — parts of which date from 1846 — sits vacant and deteriorating along Fish Creek. Kaufman’s plan would turn it into high-end apartments and a day care center; the target market would be people working for GlobalFoundries or other high-tech companies.
Kaufman’s plan is to convert the 250,000-square-foot, five-story building into 98 apartments, which would eventually become condominiums. There would also be a 100-child day care facility with as many as 46 employees.
Kaufman is a Long Island developer who specializes in reusing old industrial properties. His best-known local project is the Harmony Mills apartments in Cohoes.
Under the agreement approved by the IDA, which can grant tax breaks to encourage job creation, Kaufman is getting a 10-year tax deal. Taxes would remain at their current level in the first two years, during construction. In the next five years, the mill would pay a flat $147,500 in property taxes annually, divided among the taxing jurisdictions. In the final three years, taxes would be based on the assessed value of the redeveloped property.
Separately, the IDA granted a mortgage tax exemption worth an estimated $250,000 and a sales tax exemption on building materials worth about $920,000.
Agency members said the alternative to granting the economic development aid would have been seeing Kaufman abandon the project and the mill eventually being demolished, probably at public expense.
Kaufman paid Saratoga County $50,000 for the abandoned mill in 2008 after the county acquired it for a second time because of unpaid taxes. No business has operated there since 2000.
Kevin McAuliffe of Syracuse, who represents Kaufman, said the immediate next step is for Kaufman to sell federal tax credits he can receive for restoring old buildings. A buyer is already lined up, McAuliffe said.