The push to create a Throggs Neck Business Improvement District appears to be making steady progress.
Members of the BID steering committee and some business and property owners who still were not on board with the BID met on Thursday, April 27 to work on a compromise on issues stalling the effort, attendees said.
Roughly 30 commercial property owners and merchants attended the meeting, including many in favor of the proposal and those with concerns, according to attendees.
Also discussed at an earlier meeting was the prospect for state funding for parking, pedestrian and landscaping improvements if a Throggs Neck BID on East Tremont Avenue is formed, according to Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.
One of the snags for those still opposed to the BID was that corner commercial properties were slated to be charged more than those with less frontage facing the street, said John Bonizio, a TN BID steering committee member and chairman of the neighboring Westchester Square BID.
The original plan was to assess the properties at $39 per linear foot, said Bonizio, which would have included the sides of corner stores.
“You end up with an inequality,” said Bonizio. “The guy at the corner ends up getting charged a lot more (and) some people who were opposed to that came to the steering committee meeting and said it is not fair.”
Under a compromise, the plan is to charge corner properties the $39 per foot for the portion of their frontage on East Tremont Avenue and a flat $300 fee for the side frontage, he said.
The assessment fee is billed to the property owner, but it is usually passed down to the merchant either directly in ‘pass through clauses’ written into leases or indirectly through higher rents, said Bonizio.
Additional changes, including modifications to the BID’s proposed first year budget, were made to keep the cost at $39 per foot, said Bonizio.
The assemblyman, who attended the merchant meeting the evening before to lend his support to the BID effort, said he addressed possible state funding for municipalities that could be available if a BID is created.
“I told them that the beautification, improvements and the constant maintenance that would come to the merchant corridor along East Tremont Avenue would be a good thing for the community as a whole,” said Benedetto.
Benedetto said that he would like to be able to earmark state capital funds to make the shopping strip more vehicle friendly, walkable and picturesque.
He said the BID mechanism would provide a conduit for state funding to a locally-based ‘qausi-city organization,’ as BIDs fall under the umbrella of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
“That was my plea to them: give me the opportunity to channel funds to a worthy cause that will help the area in general,” said the assemblyman. “It is going to increase the value of those properties and will make the Throggs Neck community a more attractive place to live and shop.”
This would ultimately benefit shop owners, he said.
The steering committee is seeking “broad-based support” of commercial property owners and businesses to move forward in the legislative process, said Bonizio.