SHELBURNE — The Selectboard has agreed to a $38,437 tax break to Joseph S. Rae, owner of the former Sweetheart restaurant.
A Tax Increment Finance (TIF) agreement provides a tax reduction on the added value of new construction and capital improvements, as an incentive to bring new development and business to a town.
Rae’s company, Sweetheart Realty LLC, will be turning the iconic building, at the corner of Route 2 and South Maple Street, into a bistro-level brewery and pub, with a banquet hall/restaurant on the main floor. When construction is finished, the brewery and pub would employ between eight to 10 employees, while the restaurant and banquet hall would employ between 15 to 20, according to Kevin D. Parsons, the lawyer for Sweetheart Realty LLC. The development of both phases of the business are to occur in 2018 and 2019.
Rae has accepted the agreement, said Parsons. And, on May 2, annual town meeting voters will be asked to approve the measure. If approved, the tax agreement would begin in 2020 and would run for five years.
“We’ve agreed to it, but we were hoping for a longer, 10-year term, consistent with the last three agreements,” said Parsons, who also represented Ashfield Stone, the Greenfield Cooperative Bank and the Shelburne Falls Woodshop in securing 10-year TIF agreements with the town.
The Sweetheart was built in 1914, soon after the opening of the Mohawk Trail scenic highway and the notion of scenic Sunday drives in Model T cars. Sweetheart Realty LLC bought the long-vacant building last winter and workers have been working on the exterior of the building, clearing land behind it for a parking area and building a stone wall and stone patio overlook.