It's been nearly two months since the Wegmans on Pond Street closed, leaving residents of Syracuse's north side neighborhood with few options for buying groceries. But now, the site is one step closer to getting a new store. Our Tamara Lindstrom has the story.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's promising news for north side neighbors...
"We're excited. There’s still some work to be done. But we know how important getting a full service grocery store is to the residents of the north side," said Ben Walsh, Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development.
A deal with Tops Friendly Markets is underway for the former Pond Street Wegmans' site. But the building's owner, Morgan Management, says SIDA first needs to approve a PILOT program, a tax incentive that will help attract the supermarket.
"This will not be anything outlandish. A sales tax exemption, mortgage tax exemption, and probably a ten year PILOT where the tax amount will be frozen for the first seven years and then increased over the next three until they get to a full assessment," said SIDA Chairman Bill Ryan.
"Hopefully at the next meeting, we'll get their support. And then we'll be one step closer to Tops Markets opening up," said Kevin Morgan, Vice President of Morgan Management.
On Tuesday, SIDA approved that next meeting, a public hearing on the matter.
"What the board did today was authorize a public hearing and what we will now do is sit down with the developer and with Tops and look at the finances of the deal and ultimately if we determine that the financial assistance is needed, that's something we'll certainly consider," Walsh said.
If that program is approved next month, the process is expected to move quickly.
"We have been talking to them extensively leading up to this. They’re hoping to be in business in time for the holiday season," Ryan said.
A welcome relief for those in the north side neighborhood waiting for a full-service grocery store.
The public hearing on the PILOT program is slated for September 21st, at which time SIDA is also expected to vote on the plan.