Tax Break Provides for Tioga Downs Upgrades
3/7/2013 (Updated 11:12:41 PM)NICHOLS -- Visitors to Tioga Downs Race Track and Casino will soon have a place to stay over night to enjoy the races and gaming longer into the evening.
Thanks to a 19-year payment in lieu of taxes or PILOT agreement approved by the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency, the casino will soon break ground on a new six floor, 135 room hotel and three story parking garage with space for 308 cars. The hotel will also feature an events center for conventions and receptions. The added features will add at least 70 employees at a time when Tioga County needs it the most.
"We know it's something this area really needs, it's going to boost the economy with tourism," said Linn Redder, Tioga Downs Senior Marketing Director. "We're going to create more jobs. We'll be at well over 400 employees at Tioga Downs which we need in this area."
"It's essential as part of the financial aspect of this $52 million project that we received these benefits to make the project more affordable," said Jay Dinga, Tioga Downs Director of Business Development and Governmental Relations.
The hotel and garage are expected to be complete by May of 2014. Redder says that the new facilities will also help Tioga Downs make their case for becoming one of the fully licensed casinos in Upstate New York.
According to Dinga, Tioga Downs would pay approximately $22 million in taxes over the 19-year agreement. Half of that is an increase due to the new hotel and parking garage. The IDA approved the additional $11 million to be cut in half, giving Tioga Downs a $5.2 million tax abatement.
After approving the deal on Wednesday, IDA officials said the long-term benefits to the county would be well worth forgiving some of the taxes.
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