Niagara Gazette — The city is set to receive a big check from a downtown building owner, but will not get all the money it is owed.
The Niagara Falls City Council approved a settlement with One Niagara LLC, the company that owns the former Occidental Chemical Co. building at 360 Rainbow Blvd., that will see the company pay the city $1.5 million of the $2.3 million it owes in back taxes by a vote of 3 - 2 Wednesday night.
Tony Farina, president of One Niagara, said the company can now move forward with plans for the building, which currently operates as a tourism center and surface parking lot at the site.
“This should open up the opportunity to develop the property to its maximum potential,” he said. “It has unlimited potential given its location, so with this onerous tax issue behind us the opportunity to develop the property grows.”
The company bought the building, which is situated across the street from Niagara Falls State Park, from former owner Frank Parlato, Jr. in 2010.
The assessed value of the building has been challenged ever year since 2009, and the assessment has dropped more than $2 million over that time with the city assessor’s office granting reduced assessments every year until 2013 when the request was denied.
Parlato paid a 2006 tax bill of $311,105 to the city and school district in October of 2008, but no further taxes have been paid since.
Farina would not discuss specific details of plans for the building, but said there are opportunities to continue developing office and retail space, including the possibility of opening up the 9th floor as an observation deck.
“This is a great day for the city of Niagara Falls,” he said.
The company is supposed to pay the city in a lump sum by the end of the month, according to resolution.
However, State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker, who imposed that deadline, could grant an extension to allow more time for documents to be exacted and a payment to be arranged.