Officials at the Niagara County Industrial Agency’s gave their initial approval to a pair of City of Niagara Falls apartment projects on Wednesday.
The Board of Directors allowed tax break requests for the Merani Hotel Group and Gary Aminov, a businessman from Queens, which together would add 64 market rate apartments to the city’s housing stock.
Merani, which is owned by hotelier Faisal Merani, has three lodging properties in the Cataract City, and two in Canada, that account for about 700 hotel rooms. The project now before the IDA is slated for 400 block of Buffalo Avenue.
The $11.5 million project would include a four story mixed-use structure that would include 39 apartments, two restaurants, a Jersey Mikes sub shop and a Tim Hortons cafe, and a convenience store, Circle K.
Michael Marsch, Merani’s vice president of operations, applied to the agency requesting $456,440 in mortgage and sales tax abatements and claims the work will create 17 full time jobs with an average annual salary of $24,310. Another seven part time jobs will be created, as well, according to the application.
The company is also seeking a staggered 12-year city property tax exemption.
Aminov, who has yet to form an LLC, is planning to spend $2.8 million to revitalize the Eleanor Apartments in 700 block of 8th Street. He has asked the IDA to remove $304,810 from his tax bill over the next 15 years.
The structure, which has been vacant for a number of years, was built in 1925 and has just over 17,000 square-feet of rentable space. The project will create 3 full and part time positions, he said in the application, with annual salaries ranging from $12,000 to $40,000.
In separate matter:
• The IDA also gave a preliminary approval to another applicant, principal Scott Cassety and Mark Barberio of Alanja Properties, LLC, to assume a pair of tax break packages currently applied to a property at 6150 Donner Rd., in the Town of Pendleton.
Principal Scott Cassety and Mark Barberio of Alanja Properties, LLC, will take over a pair of abatements applied to a property at 6150 Donner Rd. under the yet to be formed 6150 Donner Road, LLC.
The property is currently owned by Dimax, LLC, and was once occupied by Mac’s Antique Auto Parts. Dimax was granted a tax abatement in 2006 for the construction of a 30,000 square foot facility and received another package in 2010 for the construction of a 30,000 square-foot addition.
The original owners expected the auto parts outfit to grow, but it was sold in 2017 and warehousing operations were moved out of state, according to the IDA application document. The existing IDA agreements have four and seven years left in each term, respectively.
“Upon acquisition, the applicants will aggressively market the building for a new tenant to occupy the unused warehouse space,” the application said.
The application said the original job quota agreed to by the previous applicant “is no longer realistic for the situation” and should be lowered to 45 jobs, 30 existing positions and 15 to be created in the new year.
The acquisition and market effort is expected to cost $2.4 million, the document said.
The tax break package would be worth $289,835 in sales and mortgage tax abatements.
All three projects will require a public hearing and subsequent final approval vote.