Weekly Feature

2010-03-25 / Business

Hearings to address saving, creating jobs


A Depew company is requesting the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency’s assistance in keeping 71 jobs in Depew.

The LIDA has scheduled a public hearing for 4 p.m. Thursday, April 8, in the boardroom of Lancaster Town Hall, 21 Central Ave., to discuss a special payment in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for a project at Cardinal Health, 3356 Walden Ave., Depew.

The PILOT deal would extend the current tax abatement of 50 percent on portions of the property for an additional five years. Cardinal Health is asking for the arrangement because it currently operates out of three facilities in New York and hopes to consolidate, adding that the only way to keep the site in Depew open would be to secure future tax incentives.

The Walden Avenue site is the company’s smallest, at 150,000 square feet. It also operates a 206,000-square-foot facility in Syracuse and a 700,000-square-foot building in Montgomery.

The health care company has 71 employees with a payroll in excess of $2 million in Depew. The company feels that the PILOT would make the location more cost-competitive and less likely to close as the company studies its options.

“Cardinal Health is contemplating the consolidation of facilities in New York State by closing one or more operations,” according to the LIDA. “If the special PILOT is not granted, it is probable that this facility would be closed, with the consolidation to take place at one of their larger facilities.”

Two other public hearings will be held during the April 8 meeting, including for:

• A project not to exceed about $7.8 million for Buffalo Filter, Inc., which currently operates two facilities in Amherst but wants to consolidate in a new 50,000-square-foot site at 5892 Genesee St. The company employs 65 and would add five full-time workers. The facility also would be expandable up to 100,000 square feet.

• A project not to exceed about $2.77 million for MedFirst Urgent Care to construct a 5,775-square-foot facility at 4827 Transit Road. The site would employ 10 full-time and 20 part-time workers and provide walk-in, extended hours for medical care as an alternative to emergency rooms.

During the LIDA’s meeting March 18, the board heard a proposal from Carl Calabrese of lobbying firm Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese and Associates and James Allen, executive director of the Amherst IDA. The proposal involved having IDAs and other area groups form a coalition to hire the lobbying firm to monitor activities in Albany and let groups know ahead of time when bills that might affect the groups are coming up for votes.

LIDA Chairman Robert Giza said that the initial cost to the agency would be $500 per month, but there would be a 30-day escape clause if the board is not satisfied with the results. The cost also would decrease as more groups sign with the coalition.

The board will decide on action during a future meeting.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a bid of $4,800 by ETS Clearing & Grading, 4429 Walden Ave., Lancaster, for grubbing of LIDA-owned land on Cemetery Road. Giza said that the process would cause the 11 acres to look more like a building lot, giving potential buyers an idea of what they may be up against if they were to buy the property.

e-mail: LJohnson@beenews.com

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