Greenfield votes to continue Abercrombie’s tax break

  • The Abercrombie building on Bank Row in Greenfield. Recorder File Photo

Recorder Staff
Thursday, December 21, 2017

GREENFIELD — Despite a proposal by its vice president, the Town Council has chosen not to reconsider its decision to grant a tax break to the developer of the Abercrombie Building on Bank Row.

Council Vice President Isaac Mass made a motion to reconsider the 10-year Tax Increment Financing Agreement for the historic building at 56 Bank Row, which has long been vacant and is being redeveloped to house the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office of Franklin County and a nonprofit arts organization.

Mass said his vote in favor of the Abercrombie TIF was based on the idea that there would be a split tax rate — which would have resulted in higher taxes for commercial property owners — but Mayor William Martin has vetoed the split rate.

On Wednesday, the council voted overwhelmingly against Mass’ motion to reconsider the tax break.

Martin spoke against the idea, saying he has serious concerns about the reconsideration and noted that TIFs are part of a legal process that goes through the state.

“When a community makes that commitment, that promise, it means something,” he said, adding, “It’s our reputation. Once we make a commitment and we vote and approve it, then it should stand.”

The 10-year tax break will save the developer an estimated $14,398. The building is currently valued at $149,700 according to John Lunt, assistant to the mayor for Special Projects. That value is expected to increase to $2.3 million after the renovation is complete.

The District Attorney’s Office, formerly located on Conway Street, will move in 35 employees and is expected to move into the building this month. Conjunction Arts is expected to take up residency in August 2018. The nonprofit will be located on the fourth floor and will provide two full-time and four part-time jobs.