AUBURN | Mack Studios, an Auburn business that specializes in prototyping, retail fixtures, trade show displays and graphics, is planning to expand locally with a $1.7 million building project.

The company is looking to build a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing / warehouse facility near its location at 5500 Technology Park, according to an application for assistance it has filed with the Auburn Industrial Development Authority.

An architect representing Mack Studios presented the project site plan to the City of Auburn Planning Board Tuesday.

"The economy's going well," said William Murphy Jr., president of Space Architectural Studio. "Mr. Mack's looking to expand his business and hire some new people."

The planning board voted to become the lead agency on the project's environmental review, and after the State Environmental Quality Review is completed, the site plan will be up for approval, pending a few fire code adjustments.

"It's something we would ultimately like to see more of, from an economic development perspective," said Stephen Selvek, city planner.

After the meeting, Murphy said Mack Studios hopes to break ground on the project as soon as possible.

The city of Auburn currently owns the property, and a resolution authorizing the city manager to negotiate the transfer of the property to Mack Studios is on the Auburn City Council agenda for Thursday's meeting.

"Mack Studios is desirous of setting forth employment and manufacturing goals and timetables and is desirous of finalizing negotiations in order that construction of an addition may begin as soon as possible, subject to approvals by the appropriate Auburn City Boards," the resolution memorandum states.

Mack Studios listed a job creation goal of five full-time jobs in the first two years in its application to AIDA. The company currently employs 43 people.

Also included in the application is a request for a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes program that would save Mack Studios $657,552 in real property taxes over that period. The company also requested a $64,900 break on state sales and compensating use taxes and a $17,000 break on mortgage recording taxes.

Mack Studios has asked that AIDA meet the week of March 18 to begin the review process for its application.

Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 282-2239 or Follow her on Twitter at CitizenVoll.

(4) comments


Who can blame them for asking? But 3/4 of a million for only 5 jobs or about $150,000 for each job created and then who's to say that the employees will even be Auburn city residents? Economic development at what cost and how long can we continue these policies that help to erode our taxable property base? Our local budgets are about to go bust partly due to the fact that so much property isn't taxed and as the increased burden falls on the rest of us, more people will be forced to cut back or move, it's just unsustainable.

Cyrus Field

According to this article - the annual tax break is $33,000 per year. Small price for retaining a tech driven manufacturer with expansion plans and a loyal contributor to Auburn causes. Right or wrong, we live in a competitive economy where incentives are reality. And companies can move very easily. On a positive note, what does this business pay in actual prop taxes? payroll taxes? or what is his payroll impact on local mortgages? shopping? It would be good to see all of the gains for the Auburn tax base and not just the concession of $33,000 per year along with the sales tax exemptions...


I think that we can agree that NYS is a difficult state to do business in. Difficult in part because of the tax burden placed on it's businesses and residents as well. So if the problem is taxes, then address the problem of spending too much money and cut everybody's taxes. Picking winners and losers is not working. $150,000 for a newly created job is absurd especially when the city who gives the break may not even get the benefit of having a resident get the job. Since payroll taxes and other spending get the benefit from a tax break, as you state, then maybe we should just just eliminate everybody's property taxes all together? Auburn, for probably the first time, has a decrease in the total value of taxable property at a time when fund balances are at dangerous levels, how are we supposed to maintain services when people are refusing to pay in and then they demand those same services? Who will pay for the fire dept, in the event that the building catches fire?

Cyrus Field

I am not an expert on Auburn's fiscal problems But if over many years, a city does not elevate revenues while expenses rise then the river will flood over the bridge. This project is more than 5 is about an exciting,, growing company expanding and remaining when it would be very easy to move elsewhere and get loads of incentives. I believe Auburn has 15 PILOTS valued at $3 Million in full value $1.5 Million in PILOT payments??. So this is a $1.5 MIllion deficit on a $1.4 Billion tax base? Maybe I am wrong here. Citizen news reports indicate that by offering $35,000 per year in tax relief...Peter Mack will remain in Auburn paying millions in payrolls, purchases, plant expansions, new construction jobs along with his civic contributions. It seems the dollars retained and gained well exceed the $35,000 per year.... Our entire private sector economy is based on competition and discounting. This retention is a happy positive for Auburn with the McQuay departure

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