A New Proposal: New Owners Of Former Welch Building Seeking PILOT

The Welch’s building in Westfield is pictured. Submitted photo

WESTFIELD — The new owners of the former Welch building are seeking tax breaks as they plan to renovate the property.

During the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency meeting, Samuel Savarino, president and chief executive officer of Savarino Companies, discussed his company’s plans of the building located at 2 S. Portage St., Westfield.

“This would renovate the entire existing building and it would create a mix of affordable to market rate residential apartments and commercial tenants space,” said Kristine Morabito, county IDA business development manager.

Morabito said Savarino Companies is seeking a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement from the county.

County IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise said the county is thrilled about the project.

“This has been on our radar for a really long time,” he said.

Geise noted there was a developer in 2018 who backed out of the project. After that fell through, the Westfield Town Board was able to work with a marketer to find a new developer.

“It’s a beautiful building in a beautiful village. I think this is going to be a great thing for our community,” he said.

Savarino said exactly how the building will be refurbished depends upon what the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service permits.

“We’re planning on utilizing state and federal historic tax credits,” he said.

Savarino said although the building will be restored, the exterior won’t change much.

“There will be some improvements to the facade that is falling down right now. The older historic windows at the corner of Main and Portage will remain intact. The older factory windows are not in good shape. The metal windows will likely be replaced with replicable windows that are energy efficient,” he said.

Savarino said their goal is to get approvals in place by the fall of 2022 and be open by June 2024.

The building has four floors. The second and third floors would be residential, although that could increase depending on what the market study shows.

After Savarino discussed the plans, the county IDA Board of Directors passed a preliminary due diligence resolution, which permits the IDA to investigate a PILOT agreement. The county IDA must still give approval before any tax breaks can be awarded by the county.

IDA Board Chairman Mike Metzger said he is glad to see something happen with this facility.

“This is an iconic building, not only in Westfield, but in the county,” he said.


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