Decision to bring tech company to Slingerlands delayed

Posted at: 04/26/2013 11:53 AM
Updated at: 04/26/2013 3:19 PM
By: Dan Bazile

SLINGERLANDS - It's called the Vista Technology Campus in Slingerlands. But some residents call it the Vista Shopping Plaza because they say there's nothing high-tech about it.

"We all want this tech park there. So certainly there's frustration there," said Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson.

The town of Bethlehem has been trying for years to attract a high-tech company into Vista. Members of the Industrial Development Agency met on Friday morning. They delayed a decision to approve the park's first technology tenant, Breonics. They lured the company with less than $1 million dollars in tax breaks for ten years.

"The developer asked at the last minute that we table it until the following meeting on May 24," said IDA President Frank Venizia.

He would not say why the decision was being pushed to next month. The developer, Columbia Development Corp, did not return phone calls from Newschannel 13. But one resident who's been following the deal says there's some push back because the IDA tried to fast track the approval because they are desperate to get a tech company into Vista.

"We pushed back on it. So they had to go back and look at the quality of the investment. As you know Breonics turned out to be pretty chancy." said Dan Cunningham.

Breonics is a biotech company that started in 1996. They moved to the Harriman Campus in Albany a few years ago from Orange County. According to Orange County officials, the company skipped out on them while still owing more than $200,000 in loans. Breonics did not respond to our calls either. The Bethlehem IDA said they don't see Breonics as a risk.

"This IDA is not loaning them any money. We are just providing a tax exemption to the developer with the tenant being Breonics in the building," said Venizia.

Whatever happens with the deal, Venezia said the developer is ultimately responsible. The town said this is just a temporary delay. The project will move forward in the coming weeks.