Brownfield projects have uncertain future

Dec 31, 2014

Some proposed major developments in this area may not move forward, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's veto of legislation which would help pay for them.

The Avant in downtown Buffalo is one local project that benefited from Brownfields tax credits.
Credit WBFO File Photo

The developments are called brownfields projects, buildings and complexes built on land contaminated in our long industrial history. The state's brownfields program helps pay for the projects by paying cleanup costs through tax credits.

On Delaware Avenue, the row of the Avant, Embassy Suites hotel and the Delaware North headquarters were all made possible by state brownfields money.

The governor proposes instead direct state cash. Lawyer Marc Romanowski says that is not workable.

"That's interesting but it's difficult to facilitate and it lacks certainty. What the brownfield cleanup program was really successful about was creating certainty for developers to say, If I took on this cleanup, these are the type of credits I could earn at the end of the day. Certainty is of paramount importance to a developer when looking at a potential project," Romanowski said.

A number of developers were contacted to talk about the impact of the veto. Several didn't return calls, with one saying he would never publicly say anything against the governor.