Jeffrey Hyman, a financier in Albany, has decided to call off his plans of owning a casino in Binghamton city. The financier was looking forward to a casino on Frederick Street’s former Stow Manufacturing site. Nevertheless, he now does not seek a license from NY (New York).
The New York State Gaming Commission’s head recently received a letter from Hyman, which said that a tax credit was being revolved around by eleventh-hour ambiguity. However, Hyman had successfully petitioned for the Binghamton City Council espousal, which was necessary for getting a private casino license. But, this vagueness enveloping the tax credit lately made his investors back out with their support.
According to Hyman’s letter, the City of Binghamton as well as the County of Broome has been informed that they could not move forward with the casino bid. The letter was received by the Albany Bureau of Gannett.
The decision taken by Hyman has left one bidder, Jeff Gural, New York real estate developer, for the Southern Tier license. Mr. Gural seeks to expand Tioga Downs Casino & Resort, Nichols, to turn it into an advanced casino. He may apply for the license, which confines to Southern Tier projects, before or on July 06, 2015.
The bid for casino in Binghamton was supposed to be dubbed the Southern Tier Star Casino and Conference Center, and had gained full support of the City Council, with 6-0 votes. Nonetheless, said Hyman, issues about a change to the Brownfield Cleanup Program of the state compelled his investors to renounce, though he was just about to print his large application.
The Stow Manufacturing site is listed among contaminated sites by the state, which is why it becomes appropriate for profitable tax credits of Brownfield for developers who could clean and rebuild it. The site also belonged to a state Environmental Zone – a Census tract meeting some outsets of poverty and unemployment - since Hyman put the bid together. And inside an Environmental Zone, Brownfields are suitable for highly rewarding tax credits.
Even so, new Environmental Zone maps were published the previous week by the state Department of Environmental Conservation so as to bring an alteration to the program. The state Legislature had green signaled the same earlier this year.
It is, thus, that the Census tract, which is north of Frederick Street, is not eligible for the casino development anymore. The Southern Tier is still fit for the same.
Hyman took part in a telephonic interview lately, during which he said that on June 30, the DEC had approved the Brownfield and Environmental Zone programs. But, the uncertainty instigated by the new maps that got introduced after a few days caused his investors to quit.
Then again, according to spokesman Tom Mailey for DEC, the new maps did not have any concern with the site. Hyman was interpreting it incorrectly. The site was still suitable for those credits, which applied to it for all the previous years.
In the meanwhile, Binghamton Mayor Richard David affirmed that the city and Broome County officials were in favor of getting the application deadline stretched by the state Gaming Commission. In his opinion, the playing field was changed in the nick of time by the state sans any enlightenment. Thus, the city’s and the Southern Tier’s residents were likely to miss the boat of yet another economic development opportunity until a change was introduced.
In actual, a total of four licenses were passed to bidders the previous year when a 2013 constitutional change was approved by the state permitting private casinos. Nonetheless, the Gaming Facilities Location Board chose a casino in Seneca County, refusing two Southern Tier proposals, comprising Gural's Tioga Downs proposal. Also, the group initially refused the fourth license.
It was following a public outcry that the bidding process was reopened by the Gaming Commission for the fourth license. The group made it available to the Southern Tier proposals.
However, the decision taken by Hyman seems to be helpful for Gural, who came up with his bid the previous Thursday. But, nothing seems to stop the board from keeping the fourth license back instead of providing it to the only bidder.
Gural is still convinced that he would get the license for his proposal for which he made certain amendments such as introducing another restaurant with expansion of a hotel.
On the other hand, the Broome County Industrial Development Agency owns four land parcels nearby the Montgomery and Frederick streets, which Hyman keeps as an option to buy. Although, he mentioned in his letter that he would reconsider his options. But, he regrets that any other project may not provide the same revolutionary economic benefits as the Southern Tier Star Casino & Conference Center project would do.