City approves Tompkins Terrace; Mirbeau hearing set
The Beacon City Council on March 20 approved a 40-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, or PILOT, with Related Companies, the owner of the Tompkins Terrace housing complex.
The unanimous vote ensured that the 193 apartments in the complex will remain affordable to low-income renters. Thirty-eight units are restricted to households earning 50 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), which, in Beacon, is equal to a four-person household earning up to $56,200. The remaining 155 apartments may be rented to households earning 60 percent or less of the AMI ($67,440 for a household of four).
Instead of paying taxes based on property-value assessments, the agreement allows Related, which is planning a $14.5 million renovation, to make set payments that will be distributed to the Beacon school district, the city, Dutchess County and the Howland Public Library.
The first payment will be $310,000; subsequent payments will increase 2.25 percent annually and total $19.75 million over the 40 years.
Before voting, some council members acknowledged comments made during public hearings regarding tenant evictions, and whether the city should have demanded more money from Related.
“If something like this can lock in some semblance of affordability for decades, then I’m ready to move forward with it, reluctantly, but I look forward to figuring out stronger, equitable solutions,” said Justice McCray, the Ward 2 representative.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
The Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m. on April 10 at City Hall in Beacon on a request by Mirbeau Inn & Spa for a 15-year PILOT agreement.
Mirbeau received Planning Board approval in December for the first phase of its plans to redevelop the 64-acre Tioronda Estate, which includes the former Craig House psychiatric hospital, with a luxury spa and hotel, among other amenities. The project is expected to cost $54 million for the first phase; Mirbeau purchased the property a year ago for $10 million.
Last month, after several contentious meetings, the company agreed to contribute to a “community fund” to offset revenue the Beacon school district could lose if the IDA grants the PILOT, which would take the property off the tax rolls for the duration of the agreement. The City Council in November submitted a letter supporting the PILOT.
If approved, the property would be assessed once construction is complete (it’s currently valued at $3 million) and regularly thereafter. Mirbeau would pay the property tax it was paying before construction, plus 50 percent of the difference between that base and its new assessed value in Year 1. It would then pay an incrementally increasing percentage of the difference each year, peaking at 95 percent in Year 15. After that, the property owner would pay full taxes.
PILOT agreements are often granted to companies that are judged to bring with them significant economic or job growth, or, in the case of Tompkins Terrace, another public benefit, such as affordable housing stock. Proponents say the agreements demonstrate stability to lenders and can help a developer qualify for financing.
The IDA board on March 22 approved a preliminary resolution for Mirbeau’s request. The company is scheduled to reappear in front of the board on April 12 for a vote on final approval.