Council ponders UPAC tax break proposal
KINGSTON >> City lawmakers are considering throwing their support behind a request from the operator of the Ulster Performing Arts Center to offer tax incentives to a private investor in exchange for funding improvements at the theater on Broadway in Midtown.
Chris Silva, executive director of Bardavon 1869 Opera House Inc., which runs UPAC, told the Common Council’s Finance and Audit Committee on Wednesday that the nonprofit theater wants to make a $4.7 million capital investment to upgrade and replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and repair one of its seven roofs, among other improvements. He said the theater has $3.3 million set aside for the project, but is seeking a for-profit investor to supply the remaining $1.4 million.
In exchange for the funding, the investor would become 99 percent owner and would be able to access state and federal historic tax credits for at least five years as part of a federal program, Silva said.
“This is how we can complete
this job,” Silva said.
He said the investor, who has not yet been selected, would have the deed to the UPAC building during the five-year compliance period, which would start as soon as the rehabilitation project was completed. Bardavon would continue to operate the theater, Silva said.
The investment in the theater would allow UPAC to be open year-round, rather than shutting for three months during the heat of the summer, Silva said. He said it also would take care of other systems at the theater that have been prone to breaking down, such as the heating in the winter months.
“Every season, something breaks down,” Silva said, adding that the project cannot be done without a forprofit investor.
Silva said Bardavon needs approval from the city, Ulster County and the Kingston school district before it can proceed with its request to the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency to offer an eight-year tax exemption to the for-profit investor, which would be known as UPAC LLC. (See story, page A3.) The exemption would begin as soon as the investor was in place, he said.
Silva previously said Bardavon already has approval from state and federal officials for the plan. He told Common Council members that the organization also has the approval of the Ulster County Legislature’s Economic Development Committee but still is awaiting the approval of the full Legislature. Silva said he plans to meet with the Kingston Board of Education next week.
Kingston Alderman Douglas Koop, D-Ward 2, said he would not ask his committee to immediately adopt a resolution in favor of the tax exemption because the members had not yet reviewed the proposed language. He said the committee will vote on the matter at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 16.