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North Plymouth TerraceThe North Plymouth Terrace project is well under way, with the first condominiums already sold.

The $6.5 million complex at the corner of N. Plymouth and W. Main St. will have 24 townhouses and an office building. It’s a great addition to the strip filled with so many ugly surface parking lots. It will add the number of residents living downtown and eventually boost the property tax rolls.

But it still bothers me the developer got mucho taxpayer support. The people buying the fancy condos will also get perks. The city sold the land to John Summers, for only $1 and provided more than a half million dollars of infrastructure improvements.

What’s more, the townhouses, which start at $199,900, get 9 years of property tax abatements. The city has a program to entice home owners downtown. People who buy the townhouses pay 10 percent of their property tax bill the first year, 20 percent the second year, and so on.

Downtown’s population is booming with people willing to pay sky-high rents and a couple hundred thousand dollars for condos. They’re paying for a lifestyle. Ten years of data on the property tax abatement program shows it hasn’t markedly increased home ownership downtown and the homes that have been built are expensive. If anything, property tax breaks should be extended into challenged neighborhoods, where you really have to entice people to live. (City Council may do this.)

The people who own the Corn Hill townhouses, built in the 1980s, just a few blocks away, have to pay their full tax bill. The North Plymouth Terrace deal doesn’t seem fair – or necessary.

Links of the Day:

– The Sandy Hook child victims each had two to 11 bullet wounds.

– “The bar for how horrific a mass shooting needs to be has gotten so high” for the nation to pay attention.

– Better care for the mentally ill won’t be enough to stop mass shootings, experts say.

“If the mayor of Ithaca can’t advocate for legalized pot, who can?”

7 Responses to Condo Craziness

  1. if there were NO townhouses there, then you would have zero tax dollars from that property. So now, when ( and IF ) somebody buys them, they will be paying some taxes. I personally don’t see people who can afford 200K homes buying these. So eventually, they will become low income housing. They will be owned by some non- profit. They will pay zero taxes. But….they did provide jobs for somebody to build them and they will provide shelter for the needy. This is what the city does…it’s who they are.

  2. Summers is married to Sandy Parker head of the Rochester Business Alliance, a big political support organization. But, I know the key to downtown development is building residences, so a project lile this is good for downtown. Whether or not it would have been done without special tax incentives, who knows. I would rather have seen Larry Glazer do such a project. He is a real class act.

  3. December 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    why should anyone get tax abatments especilly someone who can afford a two hundred thousand dollar condo. of course it they could afford that why would they live on n. plymouth and w. main?

  4. “Downtown’s population is booming”

    Please define the “Boom” downtown for people living there.

    The common numeric’s always used are percentage increase. When the number starts at 10 and then goes to 20 thats what a 100% increase … but not a boom.

  5. For all the things the city subsidizes I’m not as mad about this one. I’m sure they played the desperate game and gave away more than the developer wanted/needed, but at least this will do good. I’m sure the taxes on the development are already higher or soon will be than a parking lot. So that’s a win off the bat, second hopefully this will attract some other investment. Whether its similar projects or businesses to support these residents that’ll male the area that much more attractive.

    The city really needs to learn you can’t bulldoze blight, you need to gentrify it. It could be bulldoze and replace or rehab, but leveling buildings won’t rehabilitate neighborhoods.

  6. I lived in the lofts overlooking Frontier field. There does not need to be more living area but small businesses and restaurants to sustain residents. I spent all my time eating and buying things on Park Ave, East Ave and Cornhill.

    I would never live in that area of downtown until they bring in restaurants and business.

    It is ok they dont pay that much tax because it is going to be difficult to sell until that area is in better shape like Park Ave.

  7. I think you’re right Cody, but I’m not sure that downtown in general and specifically the west end of downtown has the population necessary to support it. Many city neighborhoods share the need for a good grocery store, but I don’t see that coming unless Wegman’s changes it’s business model or a new company comes in. Until someone with the money and ability sees the market for smaller, neighborhood stores most of us will be stuck driving to get groceries.

    I think we’re in the awkward chicken and egg period of redevelopment. The businesses need more population, but a lot of people are waiting to see businesses in the area before they move.

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