Medley at a Standstill

Feb 10, 2012

Bersin pays taxes, sits on development

While Irondequoit officials await signs that a developer’s plan to resurrect the moribund Medley Centre mall will ever come to fruition, the developer has met the deadline for making this year’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes.

Mary Joyce D’Aurizio, Irondequoit town supervisor, said Bersin Properties LLC paid the County of Monroe Industrial Agency $355,901.33 by the Feb. 1 deadline. COMIDA in 2009 granted Bersin Properties a package of multimillion-dollar tax breaks on town, county and school district taxes as inducement to spur redevelopment of the beleaguered retail center.

Bersin Properties has been late with some previous PILOT payments and was delinquent on its 2010 special district taxes.

Scott Congel, a principal of Bersin Properties, has proposed the Medley Centre site become a $260 million mixed-use development, offering apartments, hotels, retail shops, upscale restaurants and a movie theater complex. But no work has been done at the two-story mall — which is vacant but for a Sears and Macy’s — since Congel purchased it in 2007.

Indeed, Congel last April missed a PILOT agreement benchmark deadline for showing that he’d invested $90 million in the project. He would have been subject to significant financial penalties had he not exercised two six-month extensions that bumped his new investment deadline to April 2012.

There’s also a dispute over $750,000 that Bersin is supposed to pay Irondequoit to reimburse the town for its expenses related to redevelopment at the Medley site.

D’Aurizio said that although the town has pressed Congel for that payment, it has not been made. Bersin attorneys have said the payment is not due until demolition or construction starts on the property.

D’Aurizio said Bersin Properties has not approached the town for any demolition permits to replace expired and unused ones issued in 2008.

Nonetheless, D’Aurizio said she was optimistic the project would move forward. “I’m hoping he (Congel) will call me this week and give me some good news,” she said.

MEAGHAN M. MCDERMOTT

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle