By Nathan Brown
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown's Industrial Development Agency has approved a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the planned medical college at the former Horton Hospital complex.
The owners would pay no property taxes in 2014. In 2015, they would pay $59,379. The payment would go up by about $60,000 a year, to $831,300 in 2028; after that, it would be taxed at its full assessed value.
Lawyers for the city and for the Danza Leser Group, which owns the property, are reviewing the PILOT agreement now, Mayor Joe DeStefano said. The Danza Group plans to convert the property, which was a hospital from 1929 until it closed in 2011, into an osteopathic medical school that would be run by Touro College and would, when it is done, bring hundreds of medical students to Middletown who would train at area hospitals. There would be other, associated uses there too — an assisted living facility, medical offices and dormitory housing for students and faculty. The PILOT only applies to the proposed use, DeStefano said — if the college isn't built or the property is used for something else, the PILOT wouldn't apply, and if the property were to be sub-divided, the PILOT would only apply to these medical/educational uses.
The money would be divided between the city, school district, Orange County and the Middletown Thrall Library.
The hospital was tax-exempt, DeStefano said, so this would be the first time the property has paid taxes in many decades. DeStefano said he is more focused on the benefits of the project — it is expected to generate hundreds of jobs and will, its backers hope, draw more doctors to an area that doesn't have enough of them.
"It'll change the character of the community, I believe, and health-care delivery for the whole region," he said. "There are so many benefits to it. ... The money was the least of our concerns."