The Herkimer County Legislature has given its support to a project that will consist of the construction of a modern 30,500 square foot, state-of-the-art Price Chopper supermarket to replace part of a 1960s era shopping mall in downtown Little Falls.
The legislature voted unanimously last week to accept a recommendation from the county Industrial Development Agency to provide financial assistance to TRB Associates in the form of a straight lease arrangement in connection with the renovation and expansion of the facility at 55 E. Main St.
“The new Price Chopper supermarket will offer a wide variety of products and much needed services which are not presently offered in the Little Falls community,” the recommendation from IDA Executive Director Mark Feane read. “... The new Price Chopper will include an expanded selection of fresh produce, meat, seafood and a deli, as well as dairy, frozen food and grocery products.”
“This project represents an investment in the community of Little Falls and will create new jobs and put in place a quality grocery store,” legislature Chairman Vincent Bono said last week.
Bono is also a member of the IDA Board of Directors.
A straight lease arrangement allows the IDA to hold nominal title to a property, which offers the company exemption from sales and mortgage recording taxes, as well as reduced real property taxes.
The total estimated project cost is $6,459,149 and the estimated financial assistance to TRB Associates in the form of an 8.25 percent sales tax exemption is approximately $320,287, according to IDA documents. The estimated number of full- and part-time positions to be created is 20 and 90, respectively, with a full cafeteria plan of benefits based upon eligibility, according to IDA documents.
Bono said the resolution passed by the legislature confirms the IDA’s findings, which include:
• The predominant purpose of the project is to continue to make available goods or services which would not be, but for the project, reasonably accessible to the residents of Little Falls;
• The project will preserve permanent, private sector jobs in the state; and
• The project was strongly endorsed at a public hearing.
“The company applied for financial assistance from the IDA in the form of a sales tax exemption, which will help them construct and equip their facility,” said Bono. “This type of agreement is not uncommon for the IDA, as the agency routinely provides this kind of assistance to companies.”
He added TRB Associates provided a short environmental assessment form to the IDA Board of Directors, and it was determined the project will not have a significant impact on the environment.
“It’s a good project that will help fill a need in the city of Little Falls,” said Bono. “Without the project, the residents of Little Falls will not have access to a grocery store in their community.”
Page 2 of 2 - For ten years, Big M served as the only grocery store in the city, but the store closed its doors on Dec. 22 after its lease was not renewed by the owner of Shoppers Square.
As a result of the project, Little Falls Mayor Robert Peters said the city will be without a grocery store for at least eight months and he hopes construction will be completed by the end of summer.
In the interim, transportation has been arranged for senior citizens in Little Falls with more plans in the works to make sure residents can get their groceries. Peters said donations from the Little Falls Fire Department will fund a bus that will transport those 55 years of age and older starting Jan. 3.
The bus — arranged through the Little Falls City School District — will pick up seniors at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday mornings on East Monroe Street at the Little Falls Housing Authority and Falls Court, Peters said. It then will pick up other senior citizens at Rockton Plaza and at the corner of Glen Avenue before heading to the Hannaford Supermarket in Herkimer, he added.
“We’re working together to come up with other plans,” said Peters, adding the city is aiming for an additional bus for those younger than 55 years of age who do not have transportation. “We’re trying to get another bus company to bring people up to Hannaford for shopping.”
Big M in Dolgeville will also offer a bus service for Little Falls senior citizens to and from the store on certain days of the week, until the Price Chopper store is open.