According to Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC, Yates County’s sole Industrial/Economic Development Organization), the Lake Street Plaza, located at 220 Lake St. in Penn Yan, is changing ownership.

First National Realty Partners, the parent company of Penn Yan LLC, operating out of Aberdeen, N.J. is purchasing the plaza. Griffin says, “First National Realty Partners is a commercial real estate company and investment firm that owns and manages commercial property. They own property in several asset classes, including retail/shopping centers in New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The company specializes in acquiring ‘Value Added’ real estate with upside redevelopment potential,” explains Griffin.

At the last meeting of the FLEDC Board Feb. 21, Griffin explained that as part of First National Realty Partners’ purchase of the plaza for $3.5 million, they are applying for a transfer of the current Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with FLEDC, over to their ownership. Griffin said, “There are three years left on the original PILOT agreement and the tax incentives are needed to allow Penn Yan LLC to continue to operate the plaza and make some improvements. Initial plans are to physically clean the property and make parking lot repairs.” According to Griffin, First National Realty Partners do project to invest $1.7 million in improvements to the plaza to attract additional tenants, but specific plans have not yet been developed.

In other business:

• Benton Ridge Trusses: Benton Ridge Trusses LLC has purchased property at 2295 Havens Corners Road in Benton Center to manufacture engineered wood trusses. The trusses will be manufactured on site from raw lumber for use in residential, agricultural, and commercial construction projects. They will be constructing a 16,810 square foot pole frame building east of the intersection with Rte. 14A.

As a manufacturer, they have applied for the 15-year PILOT tax incentive program, and are only the second of two Mennonite-owned businesses in Yates County to do so.

Griffin says total capital investment for the project will be $1.195 million. Benton Ridge Trusses will be hiring 17 employees; 15 for production, one administrative and one manager.

In his economic benefit calculations, Griffin says the total projected direct wages paid over that 15 year period will equal $8.1 million. “It is projected that an additional four jobs will be created indirectly as a result of the new truss company operating in the area,” says Griffin, with indirect wages paid equaling $2.33 million over 15 years. “We also project that Benton Ridge will make approximately $49,000 in PILOT payments over the 15-year PILOT schedule. The total economic benefit of having Benton Ridge Trusses operate in Benton will be $11,677,087 over the 15-year period.”

The proposed 15-year PILOT incentive includes the first five years at a 100 percent tax abatement only on the increased assessed value. The abatement will reduce by 10 percent each year thereafter. The combined tax abatement for property, sales, and mortgage tax over the life of the PILOT is estimated at $111,181. Griffin says Benton Ridge Trusses’ total economic benefit of $11,738,671 versus the community investment for the PILOT of $111,181 equals a benefit ratio of 105 to 1 for the Yates County economy.

A public hearing on the PILOT will be scheduled.

• Finger Lakes Museum: FLEDC voted to continue the previously approved a $200,000 loan, interest only payments, to act as a “bridge” loan to the museum as they awaited already awarded grant funding from New York State. Griffin says, “They have been working with the various state agencies, clearing up remaining needed items and now believe they are 60-90 days away from receiving the actual grant monies. As they receive the monies, they will pay off their loan with us.”