Property conversions, rehabilitation, and building improvements are moving forward thanks to a strong partnership of the City of Batavia, Genesee County and the City of Batavia School District. All three taxing jurisdictions passed enabling local legislation to enact the Real Property Tax Exemption (RPTL) 485-a and 421-f. Property owners investing in Batavia may qualify for these programs.
Since these tax laws were passed locally, seven homeowners have taken advantage of the 421-f Home Rehab Program and five commercial building owners have converted buildings to mixed-use with the 485-a Mixed Use Conversion Program.
“When residents and business owners improve their property, it enhances the whole community,” said Eugene Jankowski, City Council president. “These programs are available and if you are thinking of investing the City is ready to help.”
The 421-f Home Rehab Program is a real property tax exemption that is applied to capital improvements to residential property. The exemption applies only to the increase in assessed value created by the improvement.
“If you are making improvements (reconstruction, alterations, improvements other than ordinary maintenance) to a one- or two-family residence you might be eligible to participate in the City of Batavia’s 421f,” said Martin Moore, City of Batavia manager.
The City of Batavia also adopted the New York State real property tax exemption known as the 485-a Residential-Commercial Urban Exemption for converting non-residential buildings to mixed-use. The 12-year exemption helps property owners realize a return on investment while advancing the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Downtown Revitalization Investment (DRI) Strategy.
The City’s public planning documents all emphasize the need to convert upper floor vacancies into market-ready residential abodes to provide a built-in market for downtown businesses and a new revenue source for property owners.
Every new household in Downtown Batavia will bring with it approximately $19,000 in demand for retail goods and services. Conversion of commercial downtown residential apartments on vacant second- and third-story buildings is one element to boost activity in Batavia’s downtown.
“This is another tool to turn underutilized properties into economic drivers that turnaround our downtown,” said Rachael Tabelski, director of Economic Development for the Batavia Development Corporation.
“We know our building owners are ready and motivated to invest, and we want to make sure they know about City programs, help the Batavia Development Center can offer, as well as the Genesee County Economic Development Center.”
By combining all three taxing jurisdictions, property owners could temporarily save upward of $42 per $1,000 value on an increased assessed value attributable to the mixed-use conversion. The former Carr’s warehouse building on Jackson Square in Downtown Batavia was one of the first projects to take advantage of the 485a exemption under the ownership of Paul Thompson, owner of Thompson Builds of Churchville.
For more details about these real property tax incentives, contact the City of Batavia Assessor’s Office at 585-345-6301 or the Batavia Development Corporation at 585-345-6380.
Published in The Batavian, Feb. 11, 2019