BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Hotel Lafayette is a shining example of what the historic preservation tax credits can do. Credits for the project totalled around $20 million dollars, about half of the $42 million price tag.
Developer Rocco Termini, the man behind The Lafayette, says that these type of success stories have prompted other developers to take chances on historic structures that had seen better days. "In the past you might have seen 2 or 3 (historic preservation) projects in a decade, now we're seeing 2 or 3 a year."
Now the tax credit program that has made many of these project attractive stands in limbo. A bill to extend the program until 2014 and expand it's limit of $5 million to $12 million was passed by both the Senate and Assembly in June, but it now sits on the Governor's desk, apparently destined for a veto. Governor Andrew Cuomo has until Monday to decide it's fate.
"I think we've been waiting for this shoe to drop for several months" said Andrew Rudnick, the President of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Rudnick says the fact that the bill was not sent on to the Governor until after the elections were over was an indication that politics may have been at play. Termini believes that the bill may have simply been a victim of policy saying that the Governor had already stated that any new legislation with a fiscal impact would be vetoed.
Termini, however, doesn't feel that the pending veto, is a negative. He says that Governor Cuomo has already stated his understanding of the importance of historic preservation as an economic driver. He feels that the Governor will give it it's own budget line and may even expand what has already been proposed by extending the length and meshing it with federal credits.
Right now, though, the bill and the tax credits sit in limbo on the Governor's desk, awaiting what appears to be an inevitable veto.