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Niagara County IDA Approves First-Ever Project Through Opportunity Zone Program | Business

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Niagara County IDA Approves First-Ever Project Through Opportunity Zone Program
Niagara County IDA Approves First-Ever Project Through Opportunity Zone Program

Board also accepts application for assistance for construction of a new facility in Wheatfield and significant expansion to facility in North Tonawanda

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (NCIDA) Board of Directors today induced the application of assistance from the Greater Lockport Development Corporation (GLDC) for renovations to 57 Canal Street in the historic locks district in downtown Lockport.  The building is owned by the city of Lockport and leased to the GLDC.  The induced application for the GLDC is for a five-year PILOT is the first ever application through the Niagara County Opportunity Zone Program, which was created by the NCIDA to provide financial incentives in the form of tax abatements to commercial, retail and tourism based businesses to encourage reinvestment to rebuild urban centers in Niagara County.

Once renovations are completed, Trek, a manufacturer of high voltage amplifiers, electrostatics measurement instruments and a variety of other high tech products, will be moving its engineering and research and development departments from Medina, NY.  The GLDC plans to invest up to $500,000 in the building in order to meet Trek’s technological needs. Trek is expected to bring 22 new jobs to the region with an annual economic impact of approximately $4.5 million.

“Today’s decision by our board to approve the application of assistance by the Greater Lockport Development Corporation, the first under our Opportunity Zone Program, is very exciting and marks a historic day for economic development in Niagara County,” said Henry M. Sloma, chairman, Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.  “Now that we have approved the first application under the program the board is eager to identify other projects that would qualify for the Opportunity Zone Program so that we can help rebuild and bring back economic vitality to our urban centers.”

The GLDC is renting 12,400-square-feet, the top two floors, of the three story building at 57 Canal Street. Until now the GLDC has not been subject to taxes on its construction on the building due to its not-for-profit status, but because now the improvements are tenant specific, they are taxable, and as such the GLDC is requesting a five-year Opportunity Zone PILOT and sales tax exemptions to make the project feasible.

In 2008 the Niagara County Legislature requested that the NCIDA establish a comprehensive tax abatement program specifically for retail and tourism related businesses locating in economically distressed areas of Niagara County.  Through the collaborative efforts between Niagara County and the cities of Lockport, Niagara Falls, and North Tonawanda the Opportunity Zone Program was created to attract new businesses, encourage existing businesses to expand, and begin to rebuild the region’s urban cores into the thriving commercial centers.

The NCIDA board of directors also accepted an application of assistance from Sunlight Solutions, a hydroponics manufacturing company that produces turn-key residential greenhouses.  The company’s greenhouses are used to produce pesticide free foods for cancer patients and Kosher diets, to grow organic fruits and vegetables as well as by laboratories for botanical experiments.  The company is seeking to build a new 7,200 square foot facility on nine acres at 2557 Niagara Falls Blvd. in the Town of Wheatfield. The facility will be used for light manufacturing, assembly, research and development, shipping, receiving and offices. The total cost of the project is $650,000 and it would retain the 14 full time employees and six seasonal workers, while creating four new full time jobs. Sunlight Solutions is requesting a 15 year Industrial PILOT, sales tax exemptions and mortgage recording tax exemptions. Currently the vacant parcel of land at 2557 Niagara Falls Blvd. generates $955 of real property tax annually; once the requested PILOT expires the estimated annual real property tax will increase to $20,500.

In other matters, the Niagara County IDA approved the application for assistance submitted at the April 2011 board meeting by Brown Electrical Inc. for a proposed 8,500 square foot new facility at 6421 Campbell Boulevard in in the Town of Pendleton to consolidate the company’s operations, which will result in an investment of approximately $415,000 and will create 10 new jobs.  Brown Electrical Inc., is an industrial and commercial contractor which provides electrical services throughout Western New York.

The electrical company has been in business for 30 years and has outgrown its current warehouse and shop facility in the Town of Tonawanda.  The new facility will provide office and warehouse space with a small portion being considered for lease to a commercial tenant.  Brown Electric is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.  Brown Electrical approved application for assistance includes a 10 year commercial PILOT, sales tax abatements and mortgage recording tax abatement.

About the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency:

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation established in 1972 by the County Legislature. Under the provisions of the New York Industrial Development Agency Act, the NCIDA is empowered to actively attract and develop economically sound commerce and industry, thereby fostering job opportunities, general prosperity, and economic welfare for all residents of Niagara County. The NCIDA utilizes a variety of financing, tax incentive, and job training programs to induce economic growth. Many of these programs can be employed individually to meet a specific need or assembled to form a comprehensive development package.



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