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Morelle seeks investigation of Medley Centre site

By THOMAS ADAMS - 2/6/2014 4:25:27 PM

Assemblyman Joseph Morelle has stepped into the Medley Centre dispute with a request that the state’s top economic development official investigate the site’s Empire Zone eligibility.

Morelle, D-Irondequoit, sent a letter Wednesday to Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corp., saying the redevelopment project has failed to meet the Empire Zone’s job creation statutes, and that property owner Bersin Properties LLC is behind on its tax payments.

“It is my understanding that the owner’s EZ credits at Medley Centre are contingent upon creating two jobs in Monroe County,” Morelle wrote in the letter. “Given the current physical condition of the mall, it is impossible to believe that anyone is employed by Bersin on the site.”

There are no tenants inside the mall, Morelle wrote.

Irondequoit Town Supervisor Adam Bello on Tuesday gave Bersin and Chairman and CEO Scott Congel until May 1 to come up with $3.87 million in late property tax payments or the company’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement will be revoked.

The Syracuse-based company was to have invested $165 million in Medley Centre by now as part of the PILOT, Bello explained in a letter to Congel. In addition, it has not paid the $2 million closing fee owed to the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency in 2009, he said.

Bersin has received $3.8 million in state funding as reimbursement for its PILOT obligations, Bello said.

“In my opinion, this raises serious doubts about Bersin’s commitment to developing this property and runs counter to the spirit of the tax abatement program,” Morelle said in his letter’s conclusion.

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