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IDA seeks payment for 3-year-old land sale

September 6, 2010
By AMANDA WHISTLE, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County Industrial Development Agency officials have asked the Crossroads Incubator Corp. to finally pay nearly $100,000 it owes for property that was sold three years ago.

The IDA gave two lots in the Crossroads Industrial Park in Johnstown to the Crossroads Incubator Corp. in 1988 under the condition that Crossroads pay the IDA for the lots if they're sold. The two lots, totaling 5.17 acres, were sold to Boston-based Stag Capital Partners in 2007 at $18,000 per acre.

The total value of the sale was $97,060.

"This is a 22-year-old agreement that more or less fell through the cracks," said IDA Executive Director James Mraz. "We were not reimbursed for the lot sale and it's time to make an effort to get those monies."

He said that in 1988, Crossroads was "just getting started," and "as a newly established agency with limited funds, came to the IDA" and the IDA responded by trying to help the agency get a head start.

Fulton County Economic Development Corp. President Michael Reese, who is also temporarily heading Crossroads, attended the meeting and said that some members of the Crossroads board asked if the 1988 agreement was specific as to whether Crossroads would determine the land's value based on figures in 1988 or 2007, when it was sold.

"I want to be fair," said IDA Chairman Joe Gillis. "I can see their viewpoint if this happened in 1988."

Mraz speculated that the land would have been worth slightly less in 1988, but noted that the IDA lost 22 years of interest on a loan.

"I know it's a tough issue," he said.

Ultimately the board voted unanimously to draw up an agreement with the Crossroads Incubator Corp. that would allow the corporation to pay the full amount back over five years, which averages to less than $20,000 a year.

Reese said he hasn't formally brought the subject up with the Crossroads board but thinks the five-year pay plan is reasonable.

"I need to take it back to them [the board] for approval," Reese said after the meeting. "I think it's fair. We'll work with the IDA and make sure they get paid back for the market value."

Amanda Whistle can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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