July 9, 2012

Update: Syracuse Common Council approves PILOT

In a 5-4 vote, the Syracuse Common Council approved the 30-year PILOT for the new SU Bookstore, fitness center, and retail complex.  The deal will see the development company, Cameron Group LLC, pay $64,400 per year for 30 years, after which SU gets the property back, and will be responsible for paying taxes only on the commercial pieces of the development.

According to published reports, the Council was 'bitterly divided' and ultimately decided by 1st district councilor Jake Barrett, who offered this comment after the vote: “I’m really uncomfortable elaborating on how I voted today, because it was so painful." 

We learned that the deal includes ‘contingencies’, among them a commitment by the developer to hire 10 minorities at apprentice-level prevailing wages for the construction, and a commitment from SU to develop fitness programs for kids aged 12 – 17.  These are binding add-ons to the deal, meaning that failure to comply could result in the PILOT being revoked. And, both require the principles to work with community agencies to fulfill the terms. 
If we are to believe the proponents, the $64,400 is not the point, it's the opportunity this deal presents in the larger scheme of things, in the leverage this is supposed to create with other tax-exempt businesses and their property.

Only time will tell.