Tax break approved for downtown apartment complex

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A PILOT program for a downtown housing development was approved at city common council and board of estimate and contract meetings this week.

The Rome Common Council authorized a Payment In Lieu Of Tax (PILOT) agreement between the city and the Copper City Lofts Housing Development Company at their regular meeting this week.

An amendment was made to the original resolution by the common council, changing what would have been a 40 year PILOT program for the West Dominick Street project to a 30 year program.

In the fall of 2019, the city planning board gave site-plan approval for a 73,600-square-foot, four-story apartment complex at 171-183 W. Dominick St.

The project is funded in part through the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award and will be seated at the vacant lot across from City Hall.

At the Wednesday night common council discussion surrounding the PILOT program, third ward councilor Kimberly Rogers said she felt it was important to have people living downtown to support renewal of the downtown arts district, emphasizing, “I fully support the development of Copper City Lofts.”

Previously, developers have said there are to be about 68 units, of which a large portion would be for tenants who are artists, and the remainder for qualifying middle-income tenants.

Initial rent estimates for one bedroom units were reported as $680, with two bedrooms around $800, with one-bedroom lofts $825 and two bedrooms $950 or $975, according to Daily Sentinel archives.

While exempt from municipal taxes, the PILOT payments will bring in about $64,000 per year, increasing by 2% annually to the city, according to city documents.

The PILOT plan was reaffirmed in a unanimous vote at the Thursday morning city Board of Estimate and Contract meeting.

In a Thursday project status update statement, Mayor Jacqueline Izzo wrote, “The PILOT agreement … is part of the Copper City Lofts financing package. The Kearney group (the project developers) is applying to New York State Homes and Community Renewal for final project funding. We are hopeful the Copper City Lofts housing development will be approved in this round of funding and construction would begin by October.”

Train station repairs

In other city actions, the Common Council designated the Daily Sentinel as the official newspaper.

Wednesday night, common councilors discussed the repairs still needed to be made at the Martin Street train station - such as roof replacement and water infiltration issues - and committed to finding additional funding to make the building repairs in 2021.

Rogers voiced concern that the visible need for repairs might leave a bad impression on visitors arriving in Rome by train.

“We shouldn’t be embarrassed that they came to Rome,” she added.

The next Rome Common Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

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