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Western New York, April 2003

Business Expansions

New this Month

UPDATE: Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. (Erie County) closed its $3.1 billion acquisition of Baltimore-based Allfirst Financial. As a result of the acquisition, the company has begun hiring employees to fill the nearly 260 new jobs.

Two more Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses (Erie County) are in the works, bringing the total number planned for the Buffalo Niagara region to three. The latest stores are planned for Amherst and the Town of Orchard Park.

A $100 million indoor waterfront amusement park and entertainment complex has been proposed for Buffalo's Outer Harbor by Toronto-based Syata Group LLS. The E-Zone (Erie County) domed park will feature various attractions. Syata has been given a six-month contract to act as preferred developer for the project, which is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs. Syata plans to make a further commitment to Buffalo by locating its U.S. headquarters here, and use the facility as its worldwide training center as more venues are opened. The company has pledged to put up a minimum of $45 million of its own funds to start the project with substantial funding from the state and local government. Construction is planned to begin in April 2004 with a projected opening date of May 2005.

Gander Mountain (Erie County), a new sporting goods chain, will open its first store in Tonawanda on June 27. The store will employ 120.

Nuvo Group presented the city of Lockport (Niagara County) a letter of commitment to build a mall on the South Block. The Canadian firm has also lined up financing for the $5 to $6 million project. The Planning Board and the Common Council will have to approve the final plan. Nuvo has bought several pieces of property near the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls and has established an office in that city. Plans for the Niagara Falls property are to be announced soon.

AccuMED (Erie County) a Buffalo manufacturer employs about 90 people and plans to increase that total to about 200 over a three-year span. The company has also tapped into Empire Zone benefits, and is working on applying for a Small Business Innovation Research grant. AccuMED makes fabric for the medical, sporting goods, safety and defense industries.

Business Contractions

New this Month

UPDATE: General Motors Company (Erie County) will invest $300 million to produce the new engine line, protecting more than 700 jobs at the Town of Tonawanda plant. This will help fill the gap left when two aging motors were retired earlier this month and means that 520 laid-off workers will be rehired and 200 more will be retained. Recall of laid-off workers is expected to being later this year. In addition, workers expect retirements to create job openings when the new UAW contract is adopted. The current agreement expires in September.

Delavan Industries (Erie County), a maker of automobile transport trailers, has laid off between 100 and 150 production workers. The company has sites in Blasdell and West Seneca.

UPDATE: Bethlehem Steel (Erie County) retirees company-paid health care insurance, prescription drug coverage and life insurance were officially cut off on April 1.

The Buffalo Board of Education (Erie County) voted to close Kensington High School when classes end in June. The plan to close the school was chosen over an option that would have kept the building functioning as a high school, but shrink enrollment and eliminate next year's freshman class. The closing will ease the district's $68 million budget gap. Tops Markets (Erie County) which is now under Ahold USA, will keep its own identity under its new leadership. Tops will maintain its corporate office in Amherst, but its corporate employment will decline further this year to about 300 people from 500.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The United Steelworkers of America contract with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. (Erie County) at its plant in the Town of Tonawanda expired on April 19, but both sides agreed to extend it while negotiating a master contract. The contract covers 1,130 workers at the factory.

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