BATAVIA — Sales tax-wise, of J.C. Penney’s location in Batavia City Centre will harm both the city and county, City Manager Martin Moore said Friday.
“As far as sales and use tax, all we get is the amount of money they’re (county leaders) going to send us … our portion. We don’t have the individual data as to how sales tax is collected. We get a percentage of what’s collected countywide,” City Manager Martin Moore said Friday. “We know it will hurt us in sales tax revenue. It will hurt the whole county, actually.
“Particularly when we’re coming out of COVID-19 and we’re looking for some recovery in sales tax. It just feels like … ‘Wow’ now. It leaves you with an empty feeling,” he said.
The company’s Batavia store was on a list of 154 locations, including six others in New York, released late Thursday by the retailer, which had filed for bankruptcy last month.
J.C. Penney said in a statement that it selected the stores to close following a “comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint and a careful analysis of store performance and future strategic fit for the company.”
The 38,524-square-foot department store in City Centre Mall, has been the largest department store in the city. It was also a favorite shopping place for Amber Wade.
“It’s so sad. It’ll be sorely missed, being one of the major retail (stores),” the 30-year Batavia resident said Friday. “I just found out about it recently. I know a lot of my friends are going to be sad.”
Wade, who has a 16-year-old daughter, said, “We always went there for shoes and back-to-school clothes.”
“I’ve gone to J.C. Penney my whole life, not just in Batavia,” said Wade, who grew up in the Jamestown area. “It’s sad to see a lot of the big retail stores going down.”
Ken and Olivia Carlson of Batavia were on their way back to their vehicle early Friday afternoon after leaving the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market. Olivia Carlson said she hasn’t gone into the department store since moving to Batavia.
“I wouldn’t say it was a surprise,” Ken Carlson said. “Every time I’ve been in there, it seemed to be empty. It’s been a few years since I have been in there.
“I only read about it this morning. It seems like another casualty to online shopping,” he said.
The department store is located at 40 Batavia City Centre. The property is owned by 40 Batavia Centre, LLC, according to the Online Assessment Roll System (OARS) for Genesee County. The property is assessed at $400,000.
“Property taxes will still be due and payable regardless of whether the store is open. It’s still privately owned and the taxes are still payable,” Moore said.
Moore said the city didn’t have any advance notice of J.C. Penney’s announcement. He said with the department store being a downtown business, the city will talk to economic development groups — the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC), Business Improvement District (BID) and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).
“We have started the feasibility planning for the City Centre Mall space. This will be part of the discussion with the group that’s heading the mall feasibility study,” he said.