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County IDA board OKs tax agreement for White Inn

OBSERVER File Photo The White Inn in Fredonia was recently purchased.

Chautauqua County officials are continuing to help bring the White Inn back to prominence.

On Tuesday, the county Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors approved a resolution which will provide tax breaks to D&S White Inn, LLC.

Before the vote, Mark Geise, county IDA director and chief executive officer, discussed the resolution.

He said developer Steve St. George is looking to invest about $3.9 million into the facility, which is located at 52 E. Main St., Fredonia. Improvements would be made to the restaurant, hotel and ballroom.

Geise said the developers are seeking a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement so that what they’re currently paying in property taxes would be the same. They are also seeking sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions.

Geise said reopening the White Inn will have a strong economic impact. “This project has a really good cost benefit. … The value of the incentives over 10 years ends up being about $370,000. When you take into account all the benefits from job creation, etc., it ends up being a 22-to-1 benefit to cost ratio,” he said.

Geise noted the White Inn helps SUNY Fredonia in its recruitment and makes downtown Fredonia more viable.

IDA Chairman Michael Metzger expressed his support for the project. “This is transformational and it’s extremely strategic in the village of Fredonia,” he said.

The White Inn had been closed for the last four years. The county IDA had been working with the village of Fredonia to market the property, before approving St. George as the developer.

The county legislature is also helping the White Inn.

Tonight during the legislature meeting, a public hearing will be held 6:35 for the county to apply for a Restore NY Communities Initiative Grant for the White Inn. The hearing is scheduled to take place at the legislative chambers in the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.

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