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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

Downtown Movie Theater Proposal Recieves Over $950K in Tax Breaks

By | Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The proposal for an $18 million movie theater facility in downtown Saratoga Springs gained significant momentum July 30 after the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) voted to award the developer $956,653 in tax breaks over the next 10 years.


The builder, Sonny Bonacio, was granted the property, sales and mortgage tax breaks for the construction of an 11-screen theater located on Railroad Place. Bonacio had initially sought $1.3 million in tax breaks for the project. That original proposal had factored in breaks for 36,000 square feet of leasable office space above the theater, but it was determined those two floors would not be eligible for the tax cuts.

Under this plan, Bonacio would not have to pay taxes on the movie theater for five years, and would be required only to pay for 10 percent of total taxes in the sixth year; 30 percent in the seventh; 50 percent in the eighth; 70 percent in the ninth; and 90 percent in the 10th and final year.

Members of the city council were in attendance at the IDA meeting to place their support in favor of the tax breaks. Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan released a statement July 30 which said “the potential upside is worth the investment” and stated the theater could attract businesses and tourists while increasing the assessed tax base.

Reached by phone earlier this week, Madigan echoed those sentiments while noting Saratoga Springs’ current lack of a movie theater.

“The movie theater is unique. There have been other pilots that have come to us and I have not agreed to or approved of them, but we don’t have a movie theater. We’re a city, and we have to go to the suburbs to see a movie.”

When asked about the potential risk of the investment, Madigan remained confident in the decision.

“I think, in turn, it will pay for itself, with more people wanting to go to dinner beforehand, or parents dropping their children off at the movies and go to dinner or shop at our shops. It seemed to me that this was worth the pilot.”

As far as other businesses hoping to develop in downtown Saratoga Springs, tax breaks aren’t likely to happen unless it adds more to the city that may not have been here before. The commissioner added that as GlobalFoundries draws closer to possible expansion, the opportunity to bring more revenue and tourism to the downtown area is beginning to materialize.

“I don’t think we’d approve the pilot for another hotel or more office space,” said Madigan. “The surrounding community is changing, and if we don’t do these things first, somebody else is going to.”

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