Niagara Gazette

May 23, 2013

Maziarz wants mall considered for tax plan

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A state senator representing Niagara Falls believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new Tax-Free NY plan may bode well for the empty portion of the old Rainbow Centre mall building.

In a letter delivered to Cuomo on Thursday, state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, encouraged the governor to explore the possibility of applying various incentives under his Tax-Free NY proposal to assist in the redevelopment of 200,000 square feet of available space in the mall site. 

In his letter, Maziarz noted that the structure is now home to the Niagara County Community College's Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, which occupies 90,000 square feet of the building. The remainder of the site is being opened up for redevelopment by private entities under an effort being led by the city and the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp.

"This could be a signature project which would afford us a tremendous opportunity to attract national business ventures to Niagara Falls," Maziarz wrote. 

Cuomo visited the State University of New York at Buffalo's campus in Amherst on Wednesday to announce a proposal to develop "tax-free communities" on higher-education campuses throughout the state. The plan would eliminate all taxes - including income tax for employees - for companies locating on and around college campuses. It covers campuses within the SUNY system, including UB and NCCC. 

In his letter to Cuomo, Maziarz characterized the "Tax-Free NY" plan, which still requires approval by the state legislature, as "the type of bold initiative" needed to "jumpstart the upstate economy and ultimately create good paying jobs for our community." 

While Maziarz admitted that there are still details to work out before the incentive could be applied to the mall building as part of the culinary institute site, he said he's looking forward to discussing the possibility with Cuomo and his head of regional development in Western New York, former state Assemblyman Sam Hoyt.