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The Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) yesterday approved nearly $7.8 million in inducements for a mix of industrial and educational projects yesterday.
The agency board approved $122,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax relief for conversion of a residential structure on Buffalo’s West Side into West Buffalo Charter School. Lafayette Group, Inc., a division of Ellicott Development is undertaking the $3.8 million project to turn the former Lafayette Tower apartment complex into what will become a K-4 school.
The five-story structure will debut this fall as a K-2 facility on the building’s lower two floors with 162 students. Enrollment will climb to 270 by its fifth year of operation when third and fourth graders are part of the education equation and the entire building has been rehabbed.
It is expected to employ an administrative and teaching staff of 28-full-time and five part-time when all five grades are offered.
The school will emphasize development of proficiency in core early literacy languages skills. One half of students that have enrolled for next year are Burmese refugees for whom English is a second language.
In other action, the agency board is proposing to lift its moratorium on financial assistance for hotel and motel projects by approving a revised policy which tightens the rules for eligibility.
Under the new policy, the ECIDA would no longer provide incentives for hotel renovations, and aid to new or existing hotels must fall under one or more of the following criteria:
-A new or substantially renovated facility in connection with a new or existing convention center, and would substantially and directly impact the operations of such convention center;
-A new or renovated hotel associated with a new conference center that primarily services out of area users; center must also have stand alone food service facilities and state-of-the-art technology services and an analysis must show customers would primarily come from outside Erie County;
-A new hotel constructed in connection with and directly support a major regional attraction;
-Be part of an Adaptive Reuse Project that meets the agency’s Adaptive Reuse Project guidelines.
Also approved was a project that represents the first new major investment on the former Bethlehem Steel property was also approved. The 40-acre brownfield site will also require remediation work before construction can commence.
Toronto-based Welded Tube of Canada, Inc. plans to construct a new high-speed steel tube production facility in Lackawanna’s Tecumseh Business Park, investing $50.1 million in site acquisition, construction and equipment purchases over the next five years. The multi-building industrial venue will include in Phase One a 100,000-square-foot production plant, with later phases to include a 30,000-square-foot testing lab and a 30,000-square-foot pipe threading and coupling facility.
The ECIDA board approved $6.8 million in property tax savings, plus $850,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax abatements to assist the massive industrial project.
The company, which currently employs more than 600 workers at five sites in Canada and one in South Carolina, anticipates hiring 25 staffers for the Lackawanna plant in its first year of operation, growing its workforce to 121 when the facility reaches 100 percent build-out.
The company produces multi-faceted, cold-formed carbon and high-strength, low alloy tubular steel used for industrial companies across North America.