FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Geise
June 9, 2021
ICONIC WELCH BUILDING TO BECOME APARTMENTS & COMMERCIAL SPACE
CCIDA Approves Incentives for Welch Building Redevelopment
WESTFIELD, N.Y.: — At its December 21, 2021 meeting, the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) Board of Directors approved incentives to support redevelopment of the former Welch Administration Building in the Village and Town of Westfield.
PILOT/Tax Lease incentives were approved by the CCIDA for adaptive re-use of the $11.5 million project being undertaken by 2 Portage, LLC, which will include real property, sales tax, and mortgage recording tax abatements. The entire 48,000 square foot building will be renovated, thereby creating a mix of residential apartments and commercial tenant space.
Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer of the CCIDA spoke about the IDA’s efforts to attract new development to the community and region, noting that most of the building has been vacant for many years. Geise said, “This project has been on the CCIDA’s radar for a long time, and we worked collaboratively with the Town and Village leadership, as well as the real estate brokerage firm, Hanna Realty, to procure a responsible developer to do the right thing with this iconic structure.”
In 2018/2019, Empire State Development’s Western New York Regional Economic Development Council identified this building’s redevelopment as a “priority” project, awarding more than $1 Million to incentivize a developer to transform it into a multi-use facility. The project did not come to fruition with the original developer due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic; however, funding from the State along with CCIDA incentives and historic tax credits compelled Savarino Companies, partnering with Raant, to take on this exciting project.
Town of Westfield Supervisor, Martha Bills, along with Paula Blanchard from Hanna Realty, have been actively promoting the building’s redevelopment, which included issuing a Request for Proposals to developers and the community. Bills said, “It has been extremely important to the Town Board and myself that we preserve this cornerstone of our Main Street and downtown business community.” Bills continued, “We are extremely happy to be working with investors who are familiar with and have a successful track record in redeveloping historic buildings.”
Village of Westfield Mayor Mike VandeVelde echoed Bills’ sentiments by saying, “This redevelopment will significantly help with the overall development and revitalization of the Village of Westfield and surrounding areas.”
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel said, “This outstanding conclusion is the result of a terrific collaborative effort between the County, CCIDA, Town and Village of Westfield, Empire State Development, and Hanna Realty. The key stakeholders working on this project have many years of experience working with economic development programs, and the knowledge of how to put these programs together successfully to attract new development to our county.”
Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies, said, “We are grateful for the support and assistance of the CCIDA. This is an important first step in creating an adaptive reuse project that county, town, and village can be proud of.”
Subject to additional approvals needed, acquisition is anticipated in 2022 with an 18-month construction period and an estimated occupancy in mid-2024.
About CCIDA – The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, and visit. They facilitate development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention by our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.