COMIDA approves tax breaks for Midtown tower


A vision of the redeveloped Midtown tower. - PROVIDED IMAGE
  • A vision of the redeveloped Midtown tower.
The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency unanimously approved tax breaks this afternoon for developers of Midtown tower and other projects.

The Midtown arrangement has attracted criticism from people who say it’s another example of the government giving away the store to deep-pocketed developers. Midtown tower is being redeveloped for office, retail, and residential by a partnership between Buckingham Properties and Morgan Management.

The rebuttal to the critics’ argument, officials say, is that these projects wouldn’t happen without incentives. And a representative of Buckingham-Morgan said as much at today’s meeting. A COMIDA board member asked if the partnership would still do the $54 million tower project without incentives, and the representative said it wouldn’t.

COMIDA approved a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal for the tower. In total, the project is getting approximately $19 million in incentives, including exemptions in mortgage and sales taxes.

The project will generate about $10 million in property taxes over 20 years, the board said. Without the incentives, it would generate about $39 million.

One resident spoke out against the incentives at the beginning of the meeting. She pointed out that the Midtown tower developer is also getting a $4 million loan from the City of Rochester. The city is a needy community, she said, and shouldn’t be giving money to developers who can afford to finance their own projects.

COMIDA also awarded incentives for the Culver Road armory, the Costco project in CityGate, and the redevelopment of the former Ted Cohen Office Furniture building on Rutgers Street in the city. The building will be converted to townhomes and lofts.