Niagara Gazette

May 15, 2014

Tax break plan OK'd for former Fairchild Manor Nursing Home

By Mark Scheer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — SANBORN — A developer looking to restore a now-shuttered Lewiston nursing home facility built by the family of the current chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency is seeking tax breaks for the project from the county. 

A company called 765 Fairchild Place, LLC has applied for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal through the NCIDA as part of a proposed $3.875 million effort to develop one- and two-bedroom market rate apartments inside the former Fairchild Manor Nursing Home building in the Village of Lewiston. 

The company’s tax break application, which was accepted in a unanimous vote during Wednesday’s meeting of the agency’s board of directors, lists the sole owner of the firm as James Jerge, who has hired a company called RAS Development to serve as lead project consultant. 

NCIDA officials say the project is expected to create up to 28 temporary jobs during construction and the company estimates that one full-time job of site and maintenance manager will be created once the complex is completed. 

The proposed project calls for demolition of the building’s interior and the construction of new apartment units featuring private entrances, all appliances and modern amenities. Exterior work would include new entrances and windows. Plans for the refurbished building also call for a community room with a library, an exercise room, staff offices and a mail kiosk. 

Robert Savarino, CEO of RAS Development, said the project partners would like to begin construction this summer, with completion expected in eight to 10 months. 

“We feel it fits well with the adaptive reuse policy of the IDA,” Savarino said. 

Fairchild Manor Nursing Home shut its doors after the New York State Department of Health approved a plan for it to cease operations after a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and FBI resulted in fraud and embezzlement charges being filed against its former owner, Amherst businessman Marc Korn. Under that plan, roughly 80 residents living at the facility were relocated to other nursing home facilities. 

NCIDA Chairman Henry Sloma informed board members on Wednesday about his family’s relationship to the property. Sloma said in 1964 members of his family constructed the building located at 765 Fairchild Place as a long-term care facility, which it owned and operated for many years. Sloma said the facility was sold to another owner years ago and neither him nor any member of his family has anything to do with the property today. He indicated that he has no involvement in current efforts to revive the site. 

“At this point in time, I have absolutely no connection,” Sloma said. 

The agency’s board of directors voted unanimously to accept the tax-break application from 765 Fairchild Place, LLC. The board also agreed to set a public hearing on the project at a date to be determined. 

In other matters, the board:

• Accepted an application for tax assistance from Irr Supply Centers, Inc., a company that is looking to renovate its existing facility at 908 Niagara Falls Blvd. in North Tonawanda. The wholesaler of plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration and electrical products is planning to invest $2.25 million for construction, site work and new equipment. The project is expected to retain 86 jobs and create up to 24 new jobs. Company officials said they are looking to modernize the building, which is adjacent to the Wurlitzer Building, to meet not only their firm’s own needs but retain at least one current tenant and hopefully attract others.

Contact city editor Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250.