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ECIDA Approves Big Ditch Project, Clawback Policy

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency today gave approval for an incentive package for Iskalo Development’s conversion of a former downtown vehicle storage facility to a micro-brewery.

Iskaso, which is best known renovation of the historic Electric Tower office building, plans a $2.5 million conversion of 337 Ellicott Street, to create a home for Big Ditch Brewing Company.

Big Ditch would occupy approximately 45 percent of a structure built by Verizon as a vehicle storage center. The brewery will utilize the former, one-story maintenance and wash bay for craft beer production, bottling, distribution and storage. A tasting room and support space for the new business will also be housed in the first floor space.  Iskalo will do a complete exterior facelift of the building.

The new brewery will create 13 new jobs within two years.

Big Ditch plans to operate a 20 barrel capacity brew house and sell its products off premises through commercial distribution channels. It expects to sell about 1,500 barrels, or two batches per week, in its first year of production.  When it hits peak production, it would have the capacity to sell 15,000 barrels of beer per year.

The ECIDA board also gave final approval to a policy designed to hold businesses accountable for project outcomes.  The “clawback” policy allows the agency to force those receiving tax breaks and other incentives to return funds if they fail to achieve job creation and other promises made at the time financial support was approved.

Under the policy, the ECIDA spells out a detailed plan to follow up on those receiving benefits, including a due process system of warnings, reviews and hearings regarding the breach of contract.  Ultimately, if the business remains out of compliance without demonstrating it faces extenuating circumstances, it could face termination of aid and recapture of aid dollars.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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