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Developers hoping for hike in historic tax credits

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Governor Cuomo is being urged by local state legislators from both parties to sign a bill allowing larger tax credits for fixing up older buildings.

What's at stake are historic preservation tax credits.

That's the up to $5 million used by local developers Rocco Termini for the Lafayette Hotel and Mark Croce for the Statler City project.

The Legislature passed and sent on to the governor a bill to increase the potential credit to $12 million, with Termini saying that would allow conversion of the old A.M.&A's department store which he says is completely rented even though work hasn't started.

The boost in the historic tax credit, Termini says, is the key to the project.

 Mark Croce of Statler City says additional taxes from completed projects pay for the credit.
"We're on our way. There's a lot of great things happening and just like in private business, the state has to spend a little bit to get a long-term return. I think the tax credit bill is basically the state spending a little bit of money now to get a great return in the future, both in jobs and in building re-use, and basically helping bring the city back to life in urban vibrancy.

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes says the credit is capped at $12 million because of Albany concern it might be misused as was a tax credit for cleaning up brownfield sites, costing the state hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.