Sandusky Register | Make Cafaro tax deal work


Register Editorial Board

Nov 13, 2021 8:00 AM

We’re a proponent of development, and we’re a proponent of tax incentives for developers and area businesses. Tax investment is an important tool in the economic development toolbox. That’s especially true when the developer is a known quantity and a respected developer of longtime good standing.

The Cafaro Co., the original developers of the Sandusky Mall, certainly fits that category of a company that has a long history with our community and a deep connection here. That’s why we support a tax abatement plan for Cafaro as it continues to reimagine and redevelop its property near the mall.

This reconstruction plan is for property near the mall, near the old Sears store parking lot, where Cafaro wants to build 126 rental apartments. Perkins Township trustees and the Perkins school board both have approved an agreement that would abate 100% of new property taxes for 10 years. The Erie County commissioners also have to approve it, and that’s not a for certain outcome.

There is some concern the agreement is too generous and that it is precedent-setting in that rental housing is not something normal or routinely granted abatements. We appreciate that concern and believe it’s worthy of review.

This project is not directly connected to redevelopment of the mall property, but Cafaro has already invested heavily in re-designing the mall for a new era. The project is related in that it will support this important shopping district, which has a great history and huge connection in our community. There also is a need for housing that this project addresses.

Given the uniqueness of those aspects, we hope county commissioners, trustees and the school board members can have a meeting of the minds on this agreement.