When Quandt’s Foodservice Distribution sold out to US Foods, it left nearly $1 million in unused tax credits.
That money, according to Empire State Development spokesman Jason Conwall, will now be made available to other Mohawk Valley businesses that aren’t planning to sell to national corporations.
Quandt’s, based out of a warehouse on Quist Road in the town of Amsterdam, was awarded $903,000 in tax credits in 2011 as part of the first round of the Regional Economic Development Council funding program. According to Montgomery County Economic Development Director Ken Rose, the company won the award to help offset the cost of an $18 million, multi-temperature warehouse and office space it planned to build across Route 5S from Montgomery County’s Florida Business Park.
The credits would have kicked in upon completion and run over 10 years, as long as Quandt’s created new jobs. But that warehouse was never built. It was never even started.
“They did a feasibility study, and evidentially, it wasn’t feasible,” Rose said.
Conwall said the new, larger facility was supposed to expand the 110-member Quandt’s workforce by 25 employees over five years, which is a big reason it got the award.
“We have grants for companies looking to invest and grants for companies looking to create jobs,” he said. “This was both.”
A year ago, Quandt’s officials announced their study hadn’t worked out and construction of the facility wouldn’t move forward, but Conwall said the Mohawk Valley Economic Development Council and Empire State Development kept in contact with the company.
“When we award a company, we do our best to help move the project forward, especially if the company is unsure,” he said.
Empire State Development kept trying right up until Quandt’s sold to US Foods earlier this month. According to a statement released at the time of the sale, the Quist Road facility will be shuttered early next year, with operations moving to an existing US Foods warehouse in Clifton Park.
Now, after two years, those tax credits are available again, and Conwall said they’ll go to businesses in the Mohawk Valley.
He explained the program awards incentives not just to the business getting the direct benefit, but to the community as a whole. In that regional spirit, the tax credits won’t just be returned to the program, but given to other area businesses.
The credits will likely be given out to businesses that scored well in the regional council application process, but not well enough to get an award.
Conwall could not comment on which specific projects might get the money or whether they will be from the first funding round, the second round, conducted in 2012, or the most recent third round.
Empire State Development’s decision to keep the tax credits regional answered one of Rose’s longstanding questions about the program.
“There were a number of projects across the state that never got off the ground,” he said. “[Empire State Development] officials didn’t immediately say if unused money would stay in the region or get reabsorbed. I’m glad the money is staying.”
Conwall said the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council will meet with Empire State Development officials to look over past applications and make decisions. The hardest part, he said, will be finding another company that meets the requirements.
It’s not a simple grant program. A company must have a project mostly funded and ready for the green light. The tax credits amount to a nudge in the right direction, rather than a major source of funding.