City seeks to appraise vacant parcels in Batavia City Centre for prospective transactions


Batavia city management is seeking approval to spend $5,400 for an appraiser to determine the value of several vacant properties within the City Centre.

As part of the 2017 agreement between the city and the Mall Merchants Association, the city has responsibility for the 46,000-square-foot mall concourse and related expenses and has foreclosed on several defunct properties, namely parcels 11, 11A, 17, 18, 19 and 20.

City Manager Rachael Tabelski, in response to an “influx of business owners looking to purchase or lease” these properties, wants to know the value for each in order to proceed with negotiations to sell or lease them, she said.

“To prepare these properties for lease or sale, I recommend that the city engages in the appraisal services of Rynne Murphy to determine the market value of the property,” Tabelski said in a memo to the council. “I recommend that the City Council approve a budget amendment of $5,400 to use (video lottery terminal) funds for appraisal costs of city-owned parcels (2, 11, 17-20 Batavia City Centre).”

The request will be up for discussion during the council’s conference session set for 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

A total amount of $440,789 in VLT money was received by the city, and the $5,400 would come out of that, Tabelski said, and be put into a Community Development fund. Performing these appraisals and proceeding with potential sales and/or leases of vacant properties is part of a mall redevelopment strategy to “bring vibrancy to the mall,” she said.

According to Genesee County’s online assessment records, parcel 2 is a hallway with an assessed value of $5,000; parcel 11, formerly Valle Jewelers several years ago, has a total assessed value of $124,000; and 17-20, known in the heyday of the mall as Gentleman Jim’s, is assessed at $55,300.

Parcels 2, 35 and 39 have recently been rented by Batavia Players during the group’s theater construction.

Other agenda items include a presentation from the Batavia Development Corporation and a request from the police department to spend $125,000 of reserves to purchase police vehicles by the end of this year.

City Chief Shawn Heubusch has asked, via a memo to Tabelski, to head off ongoing supply chain issues by securing the vehicle purchase in December 2022. Otherwise, the arrival of such needed police cars may not happen until early 2024 or later, he said.

“This obviously puts stress on the already aging fleet, escalates repair costs to those vehicles ordered after the city’s fiscal year begins in April 2023, he said.

Both items are expected to be moved for a vote during a business meeting to follow. Other matters up for vote are to schedule a public hearing for a Round 7 Restore NY grant application, to authorize engineering services for a Bank Street water system improvement project, and to appoint members to various city committees or boards.

There is time allotted for public comments during the conference session. Speakers may sign up prior to the meeting.

File Photo of a portion of the concourse in Batavia City Centre. The property on the left was formerly Gentleman Jim’s, a diner that sat alongside the Palace of Sweets. Photo by Joanne Beck.

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