A deal is in the works to put the tax-exempt OTB Imperial Racing Center on State Street back on the tax rolls, two officials said on Monday.
Ray Gillen, chairman of the Metroplex Development Authority, said the deal would involve selling the three-story building and taking advantage of Empire Zone benefits. One such benefit allows the owner to pay full city, county and school property taxes and then receive reimbursement from the state.
“Our goal is to redevelop the property. The facade needs to be redone and the building needs to renovated. We would like to see it become part of the revival of downtown and would like to see it put back on tax rolls,” Gillen said.
Gillen called the building the last major piece of the puzzle for downtown’s redevelopment. “It is in a desirable spot,” he said.
OTB would continue operating a betting parlor downtown, perhaps in the same building, said Robert Hemsworth, OTB general counsel. “We plan on staying downtown,” he said.
OTB occupies the first floor of the building, which it owns. The second floor is vacant. Send Word Now had occupied the third floor, but it relocated this month to One Broadway Center.
Gillen said Send Word Now’s relocation is “part of a plan to completely renovate that building.”
Hemsworth said OTB has been talking with Metroplex about finding a tenant for the space. “We are working with Metroplex,” he said.
Gillen and Hemsworth would not discuss additional details of the deal.
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