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Western New York, September 2013

Business Expansions

New this Month

M&T Bank Corp. has expanded its office space in Downtown Buffalo (Erie County) once again, leasing 22,000 square-feet of office space in the Larkin Center of Commerce building. The Buffalo-based bank has moved more than 100 staff members into the new space as part of its effort to support the growth of the bank’s compliance division. The bank continues to fill positions and currently has 513 jobs available in Western New York ranging from senior-level technology positions to entry-level customer service and banking jobs.

The first completed piece of steel tubing rolled off the production line at Welded Tube USA Inc. in Lackawanna (Erie County). The company opened earlier this year to supply materials to out of state Hydrofracking sites. The plant, which is still under construction, should be completed in the next two weeks and will feed other facilities. Currently the plant employs 30 employees and runs one shift, but new machines should help three shifts work efficiently and will hire more once the workload increases.

Planet Fitness has signed a lease to occupy space in the Big Lots Plaza in Lockport (Erie County). The location, the chains third in the region, is expected to open later this fall.

Efforts to bring new businesses to the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna took a step forward with the opening of a relocated two-mile rail line that will make about 300 acres in the industrial site accessible for development. The $4.7 million project, which has been in the works for more than a decade, is a key part of the efforts to make the Bethlehem Steel site more attractive to businesses and manufacturers.

The Cobblestone, a bar in the Cobblestone entertainment district of downtown Buffalo, (Erie County) is planning an $850,000 expansion. The restaurant/bar plans to add a rooftop patio and a 1,765-square-foot patio deck, all part of a three-story addition. If approved, construction will take place this winter and the new patios will be ready by late spring.

Yahoo! is looking to hire 125 customer care agents at its Lockport (Niagara County) facility.

A Dubai-based steelmaking company has chosen Buffalo (Erie County) over Houston, Texas to build a $102 million plant that will employ an estimated 172 workers. Alita USA Holdings Inc. will construct a nearly 350,000-square-foot plant on a 30-acre site in South Buffalo, an area near the former Republic Steel Plant. Alita produces welded steel casing pipes used in the oil and Hydrofracking industries. The company hopes to have the plant up and running by mid-2015.

The new building at Yahoo’s Lockport (Niagara County) data center will be constructed to accommodate more than 300 employees, far more than the 115 new jobs that the internet company promised when it obtained its second package of tax breaks and low-cost power in April. Currently Yahoo employs about 90 people at its existing data center with hopes that they will exceed the 200-employee level shortly. In all, three buildings will be erected with construction beginning on the first phase around December 1.

OSC Manufacturing & Equipment Services, an affiliate of Ontario Specialty Contracting is moving to the site of the former American Axle plant in Buffalo (Erie County) and will receive $750,000 from the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board. The company is planning a $17.5 million project to convert the former auto parts plant into factory space. The project is expected to retain 20 jobs and create 26 new positions.

Niagara Label Co., a family-owned label printing business is planning a $1.56 million project with the help of $150,000 in funding from the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board. The two-phase project will increase the production capacity of its factory in Akron (Erie County) and lead to the creation of 17 new jobs.

An investment of $682 million into Ford Motor Co.’s Oakville, Ontario assembly plant will benefit its stamping plant in Hamburg (Erie County). The Ford Stamping Plant in Hamburg has close ties with the Oakville site, stamping metal body parts for the Ford Edge and Flex and the Lincoln MKX and MKT which are assembled in the Ontario plant. The expansion of the Ontario Plant will lead to increased manufacturing capability, allowing more production in Hamburg. The stamping plant is also capitalizing on the $136 million investment that Ford pledged as part of the labor contract with the UAW that was ratified in October 2011. The plant is upgrading press lines, has installed a new door line, and eight more subassembly lines are due to be installed by early 2014. The Hamburg plant is hiring more workers and new jobs will be added incrementally. As many as 120 laid off workers could be rehired and 400 new jobs created. Currently the Hamburg plant has 492 hourly and 73 salaried employees.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has agreed to sell the last of its waterfront holdings to a Canadian manufacturer for $4.7 million. Gracious Living Corp., an outdoor furniture and house-wares maker and distributor, plans on opening a U.S. manufacturing base at the site and create 250 new jobs. The deal is expected to close later this year.

Popeye’s fried chicken chain held a groundbreaking for its first restaurant in the City of Buffalo on September 27th. The restaurant is expected to open in December of this year and create over 45 new jobs.

   

 

Business Contractions

New this Month

Keywell, a metal and steel recycling business in Frewsburg (Chautauqua County) is planning to close one of its locations. The company is citing economic reasons for the proposed shutdown that will put 83 people out of work.

Meals on Wheels for WNY will terminate its contract with food vendor Sodexo effective November 29th, resulting in the loss of 41 jobs at the site. The contract issue appears to be tied to funding uncertainties related to the county's contracting process, as well as Sodexo’s inability to make its profit margins.

The Hyde Park Steakhouse, an upscale restaurant inside the Walden Galleria Mall in Cheektowaga (Erie County) closed its doors without warning on Tuesday, September 3rd. Employees were told Texas de Brazil, a Brazilian steakhouse, has bought Hyde Park out of its lease with the mall.

New Era Cap Co. in Derby (Erie County), the exclusive provider of baseball caps for Major League Baseball, will be reducing their workforce by 25 percent, resulting in 70-75 employees losing their jobs. The cuts are being made as the company balances production efforts with the demand for products made at the plant. Roughly 300 people currently work at the facility. There is no definite timeline for the layoffs but could come as soon as October, but will definitely happen by the end of 2013. Employees at the plant are represented by Local 14177, Communications Workers of America.

Niagara Ceramics Corp., formerly Buffalo China, has shut down its Buffalo (Erie County) plant effective immediately. In May the company had announced that 22 new jobs would be coming to the plant. 110 workers are affected by the plant closure.

Allstate insurance company is consolidating its Amherst (Erie County) and Rochester claims offices, putting 48 people out of work. Employees will have the option to relocate to Rochester. closure of the Amherst location will happen by December 16th.

     

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Skilled maintenance workers at Lake Shore Hospital in Irving (Chautauqua County) have rejected representation by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. The election was originally scheduled for the skilled maintenance unit and the Business Office Clerical Unit, however, a day before the vote the union had withdrawn its petition for a representation vote for the Business Office Clerical Unit. This is the second time that the skilled maintenance workers have voted against union representation.

 

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