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Western New York, September 2006

Business Expansions

New this Month

Malcolm Pirnie, a national environmental engineering firm, is relocating its Western New York office from Orchard Park to downtown Buffalo (Erie County) as of November. The firm will take over 10,000 square feet of vacant workspace in KeyCenter. The relocation includes 55 engineers, scientists, management consultants and support staff. The move will allow employees to work more efficiently and will provide room for expected moderate growth in the future.

The Memorial Auditorium will be torn down and a new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store will be built in its place under the latest plan to lure the retailer to Buffalo’s Inner Harbor (Erie County). The project has been based on reusing the Auditorium, but cost –benefit analysis of retrofitting the vacant sports arena has concluded it makes better economic sense to tear it down and build from scratch.

Cheektowaga Concrete LLC is breathing new life into the former Riefler Concrete production plant in the town of Hamburg (Erie County). The company, which will operate as Great Lakes Concrete Products, is already producing concrete blocks at the Camp Road site and employs about 15 people. Its goal is to employ 100 to 120.

HSBC North America Holdings is planning a $200 million-plus global data center in Western New York to handle the growing number of transactions for its U.S. and Canadian banks. The proposed new center would be 275,000-square-feet, including electrical and mechanical space, and would largely be for computers and other technology. The project would add about 78 jobs for HSBC, which currently employs 5,830 in Western New York.

A $30 million outlet shopping center could be constructed next to the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County). If developers get project approvals and a new Interstate 86 exit, the shopping center would be built in the next five years. The projected 400,000-square-foot shopping center would include 70 to 140 stores and employ about 300 people.

A second power plant could be coming to the town of Somerset (Niagara County). AES Somerset is seeking tax breaks on its existing power plant, as well as incentives to build a new $ 1 billion clean coal facility that will employ between 100 and 120 new workers. The new project would also create between 1,000 and 1,500 construction jobs.

The former Radisson Hotel across from the Buffalo International Airport is slated to be demolished to make way for two hotels, restaurant and a small water park. Benderson Development has submitted preliminary plans to the Town of Cheektowaga (Erie County) to transform the parcel of land from the run down vacant hotel to the new complex.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Wegmans Supermarkets is closing its Walden Avenue store in Cheektowaga (Erie County). The chain said it would try to limit the impact by offering jobs to all 229 of the store’s employees.

Men’s suit maker Hartmarx Corp.will cut 90 jobs at its North Buffalo (Erie County) plant in November, as sales have declined. Hartmarx will eliminate the fabric-cutting department and reduce the sewing department. When complete, the downsizing will leave the plant with about 275 jobs.

Another 206 workers signed up for severance programs at Delphi’s Lockport (Niagara County) plant, bringing the total number of voluntary departures by January 1, 2007 to 1,333. In the other direction, 200 more temporary workers-earning half what the departing workers make-began training Monday, September 18. That brings the number hired this year to about 600. The number of replacement workers is not one-to-one, as productivity improvements occur. The number of temps that will become permanent depends on production volume, and on talks with management on a national level. By year-end, the net impact of the buyouts and temporary hiring would leave the Lockport plant’s job count at about 3,100 active, full-time workers, down 700 from the start of the year.

American Axle & Manufacturing will make parts for General Motors’ new Camaro in Mexico instead of Buffalo (Erie County). About 500 production workers in UAW Local 424 are on layoff from the factory.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Unionized workers at Ford’s Hamburg (Erie County) stamping plant approved labor contract changes on September 10th. United Auto Workers Local 897 represents the production workers at the plant. The contract changes will allow the company to operate more efficiently, changing how work is performed but leaving wages untouched. Winning new work is expected to support current jobs without adding new ones.

Jamestown Support Staff Association (Chautauqua County) members have been working without a contract for the last 16 months, and have asked the Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education for a wage its workers can live on. The association has 138 members, comprised of custodians, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.

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