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Nov 19, 2019

News10NBC Investigates: Empty building once pegged for AIM Photonics finally sold, back on tax rolls

GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — An empty building that was overgrown with weeds in the summer was finally sold last week.
Why are we telling you about it?

Because just a few years ago the property was so important the Vice President came to tour it, and News10NBC found out now that it sold, it means tens of thousands of dollars for schools.

Four years ago Vice President Joe Biden toured the building at 115 Canal Landing Boulevard in Greece. It was supposed to the home of AIM Photonics, the technology of the future.

Today the building is empty and snow-covered.

But at the meeting of Fuller Road Management, the real estate arm of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the board agreed to sell the building to a company called Donohoe Management.

“They came in with a bid of $1.5 million,” the board secretary said during the Nov. 6 meeting.

I tracked down Greece supervisor Bill Reilich who is out of town on business.

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: “So that building finally sells. What does that mean for people who live in Greece?”

Bill Reilich, Greece Town Supervisor: “Well what it means is that there’s going to be a business that’s vibrant instead of a vacant building and it’s going to provide job opportunities for them. It’s also going to be now back on the tax rolls.”

I was with Reilich when I exposed the building in June. The grass was overgrown then.

That’s when I learned in 2013 when Fuller Road Management bought the building from Kodak for one dollar, it paid $29,276.69 in taxes.

SUNY got the property labeled not-for-profit. Last year it paid $2,472.87 in taxes.

Today I went through the county tax records on this property.

The records show the property has not paid a single dollar in school tax in the last four years. But the true school tax is $113,125.88 a year, and that’s enough to pay three teachers.

Brean: “Do you know anything about the buyers?”

Reilich: “No I do not. But I got to tell you, any business that goes in there is going to be better than what we have now.”

I searched for the owners today and tried to email them.

I eventually tracked down the buyer, Sean Donohoe, in Henrietta. He declined to talk on camera but says he wants to fix it up and bring in a new tenant.

“It’s a good old fashioned real estate investment,” Donohoe said.

The assessed value of the property is $2.5 million. At the Fuller Road Management meeting, the board secretary said since the appraisal, they found some “issues” causing “further reduction in the value of the property. Therefore, $1.5 million is fair market value.”

In a statement on behalf of Fuller Road Management, Steve Ference wrote, “Fuller Road Management Corporation supports innovation, research and thousands of jobs, which drive economic development in New York State. FRMC has previously said it was exploring the sale of Canal Ponds and it should come as no surprise that a final decision was made to return it to the tax rolls.”

WHEC-TV, Nov. 14, 2019

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