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COMIDA discontinues tax breaks for eBaum Webster Ventures

Rochester Business Journal
March 5, 2014

The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency has discontinued tax breaks for eBaum Webster Ventures LLC, COMIDA officials said Wednesday.

The move—effective immediately—to scotch the project’s COMIDA tax breaks came after eBaum Webster failed to make promised payment-in-lieu of taxes installments and failed to create promised jobs, said Judy Seil, Monroe County economic development manager.

Begun in 2007 by developer Neil Bauman and his son Eric, a onetime dot-com millionaire, eBaum Ventures sought to turn a section of the village’s main street into an upscale shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

The project ran into trouble when the economy tanked in 2008, Neil Bauman previously told the Rochester Business Journal. Facing foreclosure by Genesee Regional Bank over the LLC’s default on a $3.2 million loan, eBaum Webster twice sought Chapter 11 court protection.

Its first bankruptcy fizzled in 2012 after the U.S. Trustee moved to have the case either dismissed or converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation. Neil Bauman was hopeful of greater success with a second Chapter 11 case filed last May.

That case also petered out, however.

After Genesee Regional Bank informed Bankruptcy Court officials in January that eBaum Webster was still in default on the $3.2 million loan, the LLC moved to have its own case dismissed.

“(EBaum Webster) has defaulted on its conditional order with GRB in that it has not been able to secure viable tenants…and generate sufficient income to pay its debts,” wrote the LLC’s attorney Sammy Feldman of Silver & Feldman in a Jan. 6 motion asking for the case’s discontinuance.

As part of the redevelopment effort, the Baumans started and sold an upscale steakhouse and found tenants for refurbished Main Street properties including an Off Track Betting parlor and a sports bar and sandwich shop but fell short of occupancy needed to make the effort sufficiently profitable to meet the lender’s terms. 

 The Webster project’s assets would not be sufficient to fund a Chapter 7 liquidation, Feldman wrote in the Jan. 6 motion.

Neil Bauman could not be reached Wednesday.
   
(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.
 



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