Onondaga County is trying to seal the deal with a real estate firm on a massive $280 million warehouse proposal in the town of Clay that could employ up to one thousand people. The 3.7 million square foot facility would be on the site of what’s now the Liverpool Country Club on Morgan Road.
County Executive Ryan McMahon is cautiously optimistic that a final agreement will be in hand once approvals are given.
"There's a purchase contract on the real estate. There's been a level of diligence and a lot of money spent on that real estate to make sure what's being proposed to be built can be built. There's been a lot of work looking at environmental impacts to the community that now our IDA board needs to look at and study. There's a committment to the community if the community can perform."
The town of Clay needs to approve zoning change for the parcel, which McMahon feels shouldn’t be an issue. Thursday, the county’s industrial development agency (OCIDA) will consider a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT agreement, as well as a sales tax exemption. McMahon says they typically look for a 10 to 1 cost benefit ratio, but the analysis for this project isn’t known yet.
"It's safe to say it's the highest we've ever seen when you look at the payroll, the investment, and the construction jobs. This is a significant project."
McMahon says they’ve given more lucrative benefits to much lesser projects. Nearly all of the jobs will pay at least $30,000 to $33,000; 50 jobs will pay double that.
"These are minimum thresholds. They could hire more people. They could pay more. Based on what's in the application, they could qualify for clawbacks if they don't meet the [thresholds]."
The project will be in legislator Jim Rowley’s district, and the former Clay town supervisor says its great news for the town and county. He has no issue with the tax breaks being offered versus what the golf course is generating.
"I'll go out on a limb and say it's nice to have, but it wouldn't be as significant as a development like this coming in...a $280 million investment. If any reasonable person looks at the trade-offs of the incentives versus what we're getting now, I'm pretty confident the incentives will pay for themselves."
The company that will be leasing the warehouse is not known; McMahon says the developer works with a wide range of clients that insist on keeping their names a secret. If the project clears the required approvals, the company will be revealed when construction begins in the spring.