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More Student Housing on the way for Binghamton?

The City of Binghamton and a developer looking to bring student housing to downtown are at odds over what's called a pilot or payment in lieu of taxes agreement.

Developer Leslie Westreich wants to develop 19 and 21 Chenango Street into a 94-unit, 284-bed student housing complex.

At a public hearing Thursday the attorney for the developer says the pilot agreement would result in a greater tax payment than the city is currently receiving, and that the city's need for student housing still hasn't been satisfied.

The city disagrees and is looking for the developer to pay a full tax bill.

"As far as providing PILOTs in housing in downtown Binghamton we'd prefer to have situations with mixed-use housing in which there's market-rate housing for young professionals or empty-nesters. That's what the city believes any PILOTs should be expended toward," said Robert Murphy, City of Binghamton Director of Economic Development.

"If my client does not get the PILOT agreement his ability to borrow money is greatly decreased. It's an expensive building. It's very difficult to rehab an older building like the Press Building. It's much cheaper to build a new one," said Lillian Levy, a partner at Hinman, Howard, and Kattel.

The agency, formerly known as the Broome County Industrial Development Agency, will ultimately decide on whether the $19 million dollar development will receive the pilot agreement.

The PILOT would require the owner to pay 50% of the regular assessment.