Batavia hosts forum to showcase redevelopment possibilities

The Daily News

BATAVIA — City management hosted a first-time Real Estate Developer’s Forum this week that showcased redevelopment opportunities in the Batavia Opportunity Area.

The Forum was well attended, with more than 60 guests from across Western New York interested in learning more about the city and surrounding areas, City Manager Jason Molino said.

Potential investors and developers were invited to look at infill and redevelopment sites that have proven to become lucrative development projects state-wide.

“The response we received from this Forum has been very encouraging,” Molino said Wednesday in a news release. “Not only was there excitement and interest from what the city has been working on in recent years, but there was an overwhelming reception to the positive activity within Genesee County overall. Investors throughout Western New York are realizing Batavia has a vibrant future ahead.”

Included in the Forum were stats and figures related to the continued growth projected for the area along with presentations demonstrating successful redevelopment projects in Batavia, Genesee County and Buffalo suburbs.

Speakers highlighted many incentive programs and creative financing measures to demonstrate how underutilized properties can be transformed or restored into high-value real estate for the community, Molino said. The event ended with a bus tour of downtown, BOA priority redevelopment sites and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

“This event was intended to put Batavia on the radar for investment. We believe it worked,” Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte said. “Everyone left knowing we are getting ready for growth in the next 10 years.”

Pacatte referred to Moody’s analytics projections that Genesee County will outpace the employment growth projected for the Finger Lakes Region in the next 10 years. Those growth rates predict approximately 2,600 new jobs by 2022.

“We need to be sure the city is ready to capitalize on this anticipated growth,” she said.

Steve Hyde of Genesee County Economic Development Center said his group was excited to see “the continuation of adaptive reuse and redevelopment projects in the city.”

“We are confident that this will compel developers to explore additional opportunities for investment now and in the future,” he said.

The gathering was a “terrific chance to learn about the BOA,” said

Vincent Esposito of Empire State Development. The strategic and coordinated efforts of the BOA will “greatly enhance” continued redevelopment prospects here in Batavia, he said.

In 2011, the city was awarded $266,508 from the Department of State to determine the best opportunities for redevelopment within a 350 acre area downtown.

Objectives of the program include redevelopment of underutilized, vacant and Brownfield properties, clean-up of select contaminated sites, continue revitalization of downtown and advance neighborhood stabilization.

Over the past 12 months a steering committee has developed priority reinvestment opportunities with conceptual renderings, preliminary engineering, market data and outlined incentive packages for motivating owners and developers to begin new projects within the city.

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