Updated 06/19/2012 07:10 PM
Looking for Destiny penalties
When Destiny USA declared the Carousel Center expansion to be its final phase, it touched off a firestorm in city government. The deal in place with the city allowed Pyramid companies, the developer, to still claim a long-term property tax exemption, by meeting a minimum construction requirement. YNN's Bill Carey says the stalling of work on a much larger project still has the city aching to take punitive action.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- As Syracuse common councilors and officials from the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency met this week, it was clear they'd like to punish Pyramid Companies, the developer of Destiny USA. They just can't figure out how.
The SIDA Board, which oversaw the deal on the Destiny USA project, thinks it might be able to do something. And after meeting Tuesday, it's a topic that is being studied.
“We're going to look into what remedies we might have. And we think that there are some remedies. Perhaps more than one remedy. I don't want to talk about, necessarily, what those are at this particular point,” said SIDA Chairman William Ryan.
One issue, pressed by common councilors, was property used as temporary parking lots on the east side of Solar Street. Those lots were eventually due to be the site of further project phases. The councilors say if nothing more is on tap to be built, the lots, at least, should be hit with property taxes.
But the move to place these parking lots on the property tax rolls could backfire on the city and costing the city money.
Pyramid already pays the city an annual payment, which rises by four percent each year, to cover the approximate cost of taxes that used to be paid by an oil tank farm on the site. That is a firm payment. A property tax assessment could be challenged and tax payments could end up being less.
SIDA says it will keep studying the issue, while continuing to reach out to Destiny for some kind of settlement in lieu of further phases.
“We will allow Sue Katzoff and Terry Mannion, our attorneys, to talk with the lawyers and see where we end up. We were purposeful today in not calling a default, with the idea that we could continue conversations and also remedies. So the answer to your question is yes, although I don’t hold out a lot of optimism that that will occur,” Ryan said.
But don't expect action to be swift. It's a question of priorities.
Ryan said, “We have a 840,000 square foot expansion that is adding tenants. We'll be getting sales tax from them. We've got to focus on that and worry about these other issues as we move forward, because it's still kind of a fresh wound, if you will.”
But it is not a topic that SIDA, or the city government, are ready to drop.