by Jeremy Moule
It's time to beat on Medley Centre again.
The state Comptroller's Office just released a report on statewide industrial development activity in 2011. The report devotes a fair amount of space to exemptions for retail projects, which it says have increased each year since 2007. Prior to 2008, a provision of state law prohibited IDA's from giving exemptions to retail projects outside of certain exceptions. That year the provision expired and wasn't renewed until the Legislature and governor enacted this year's budget.
The Comptroller's Office compiled a list of the top five retail projects receiving IDA benefits, based on the project cost. The $260 million Medley Centre in Irondequoit is at the top of that list. The report also says that in 2011, the project received $1.5 million in exemptions from the county IDA and created no jobs.
Developer Scott Congel bought Medley Centre in 2008 and the dead mall has sat idle for the past few years. Congel has a tax deal with the town, county, and East Irondequoit School District, and he's been making his required regular payments. And late last year there was a flurry of news about Congel agreeing to build a theater for the Rochester Broadway Theatre League as part of the Medley Centre project.