Richmond Heights officials on Monday approved blighting, and a plan for tax relief for the developer for Boland Place, a multi-use building on the corner of Dale and Boland — making way for demolition to continue for the project.
The bill passed the council 6-2. Council members Ed Notter and Joan Provaznik cast the no votes.
Telling the council why he needed the tax plan, developer Joseph Cyr said the gap between what he had valued the property at and the county’s assessment was $2.5 million, affecting the value of the property, what a bank will loan, and the rent he would need to charge; and ultimately the project’s success. He said he is committed to paying his fair share of taxes.
The plan would save Cyr about 72 percent on his property tax for 10 years. The plan is called a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), according to Cyr and City Manager Amy Hamilton — not a ‘tax abatement.’
Former council member Paul Lore spoke to the council before the vote, saying he had been told by council members that the city has given ‘tax abatement’ before, so they they should do it now. He said that wasn’t a good reason.
He also said council members told him Cyr has the city over a barrel, but Lore said the property would sell if this plan was denied. Another resident said the property was on the market for 16 years before it found a buyer.
Cyr said the demolition had stopped, and could only continue after the city passes the bill. He said asbestos remains in the vacant school, and that if demolition restarted it could be finished in July. Construction is projected to take two years.