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by chocieni
Mon, Aug 20th 2012 12:00 pm

Buffalo, NY - The Erie County Industrial Development Agency today approved over $2.8 million in tax abatements for nearly $69 million in adaptive reuse and industrial projects in Buffalo, plus nearly $5 million in industrial projects in the Town of Tonawanda.


Leading the project list is a $39.9 million plan to overhaul the long-struggling Tishman Building, located on downtown's Lafayette Square, into a mix of office, hotel space and apartments. The Hamister Hospitality Wake, LLC, will spend $39.9 million to turn the former National Fuel headquarters building into multi-tenant structure housing the Hamister Group's main offices, a 123-room Hilton Garden Inn and 18 market-rate apartments.


The ECIDA board approved $1.57 million in sales and mortgage recording tax incentives to aid the major adaptive reuse effort.  The Hamister Group will move its headquarters from Amherst to downtown Buffalo, bringing 28 current employees, while creating seven new company positions.


The Hamister Group, which had moved its headquarters from Delaware Avenue at the edge of downtown Buffalo out to Amherst a decade ago, will once again call the city home.


The new hotel is expected to employ 62 full-time equivalent jobs within the next two years.


The ECIDA also approved $900,000 in sales tax savings to another landmark adaptive reuse project - the overhaul of the former Donovan State Office Building into One Canalside, the new home of law firm Phillips Lytle LLP and 96-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.  The $22.5 million project involves tearing the eight story structure down to its steel infrastructure and completely rebuilding it.  The building, set to open in January 2014, will house some 250 Philips Lytle lawyers and support staff, while the hotel is expected to employ at least 50 persons.


Benderson Development's Harbor District Associates, LLC, is behind the high profile waterfront project.


The ECIDA board also approved funds for rebuilding of a long-time business in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood which was nearly wiped out by fire in July 2011.  Niagara Lubricants, located on Chandler Street, plans to invest $2.2 million to construct a new 60,000-square-foot plant. The ECIDA agreed to $172,000 in property and sales tax abatements to assist the company in getting back on its feet.


The company, which employs 31, has been operating out of nearby leased space for the past year. The company will hire an additional nine workers when its new quarters are constructed.


The Zenger Group, one of the area's largest printing companies, was approved for $82,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax abatements to aid its plan to combine three of its five current worksites on East Park Drive in Tonawanda.  The company's $4 million plan will create a single plant, combining work now done in Buffalo, Orchard Park and Hamburg.


The consolidated workforce is expected to grow from 89 to 109 at the new, expanded printing facility.


The ECIDA also approved abatement of $32,500 sales and mortgage recording tax for USitek Group. The manufacturer of PCs and servers for small and mid-sized businesses is relocating from a 90-year-old building on Military Road in Tonawanda to a modern facility at 1016 Niagara Falls Boulevard in the town.

USitek, which employs 10 staffers currently, anticipates its workforce will grow to 18 when the $935,000 retrofitting and relocation effort is complete.

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