Chautauqua County officials are looking to create a new industrial park in the northwestern most part of the county.
During the county Industrial Development Agency meeting, board members agreed to purchase some vacant land in Ripley and use it as a location to market for future development.
Mark Geise, county IDA director and chief executive officer, noted they have been discussing for several years to buy a large piece of land and make it “shovel-ready” by putting in the necessary infrastructure, including water and sewer. The county’s three other industrial sites are mostly full and he said he regularly gets calls from developers looking for large shovel-ready sites.
The land in Ripley, which is 147 acres in total, is owned by four different property owners and is across the street from Love’s Travel Stop near I-90, behind the Regal Trucking Service Company. The land is zoned for commercial and industrial use.
Geise said the site isn’t perfect, adding no site is. Some of the issues in Ripley include 26.5 acres of wetlands and three small tributes that flow into Lake Erie. Potential challenges that are being addressed include shallow bedrock and possible archaeological remains.
Industries that could benefit from this location, Geise said, include warehouse distribution and light manufacturing.
According to Geise, this land purchase is Phase I of the project. They would like to acquire additional land as well.
Acquisition of the land for Phase I is $2,008,920. That would be for 64 acres. Geise said the price tag came from a professional appraisal.
Acquisition of the land for Phase II, which would be another 85 acres, is roughly $2.2 million. Infrastructure would run around $6.5 million.
Adding in closing costs and pre-development work, the entire project is expected to cost $11,325,650.
Geise said the county has already contributed $4.8 million through its American Rescue Plan Act funds and $830,000 from its capital projects account. The IDA is contributing $595,000.
The IDA is seeking a $5.1 million grant from the state, which would cover 75% of the infrastructure costs and $2 million in federal funds. They’re also seeking around $1.85 million from other funding sources. “If we get all of those, we’ll be in good shape,” Geise said.
According to Geise, in order to apply for some of the grants, the county must show that it has secured the land, which is why they’re buying the 64 acres now.
He said once the 64 acres are in the county’s possession, they’ll start marketing that land.
Geise said if the grant funding falls through, they won’t be able to move forward on Phase II, as a fully developed site. They may try to acquire the land for Phase II and hold off on the installation infrastructure.
The county IDA Board of Directors unanimously approved spending the roughly $2 million for land purchase for Phase I.