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Western New York, July 2014

Business Expansions

New this Month

Knee Deep Holdings LLC, parent company of Hamburg-based A. Titan Co. has purchased the company’s new Orchard Park (Erie County) manufacturing site. Titan, which currently has 15,000-square-feet of space spread among two buildings, will be initially using 70,000-square-feet of its new 112,000-foot space. With the move and the expansion, Titan will add 10 workers to its 30 person staff.

Lake Shore Hospital in Irving (Chautauqua County) will receive as much as $6.6 million in aid which will provide more time for the hospital to emerge from bankruptcy protection or find a buyer. TLC Health Network, which operates the hospital, will be able to use the money for operating expenses, but not to retire outstanding debt. The future of the hospital is still uncertain, but will continue to operate as usual for the time being.

Two months after moving into new offices in downtown Buffalo, Liazon Corp., is taking steps to double its workforce. The Buffalo-based operator of private health insurance exchanges currently has 128 workers who fill the eighth floor of the former Fairmont Creamery building on Scott St. and is working with its landlord to take up the entire seventh floor. By next month the company hopes to bring a first batch of 20 or 30 new workers into space that can be used as renovations are completed. Liazon officials hope that construction work on the seventh floor, which has another 15,000 square feet of space, will be finished by October and hiring of the additional workers can continue through the end of the year and into 2015.

The world’s largest management firm, BlackRock Inc. has selected a vacant parcel in CrossPoint Business Park in Amherst for a nearly $80 million data and back-office center. The project, one of the largest private-sector driven developments recently in Amherst, hinges on an incentive package from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency as well as an allocation of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority and grants from the Empire State Development Corp. The company has agreed to hire at least 25 new workers with a starting annual salary of $68,000 yearly.

A former Kmart store in Allegany (Cattaraugus County) may be redeveloped by Sprague Development Corp. The Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency is working with the company and has approved a series of incentives for the $3 million project. The building has been vacant for nearly 20 years.

The ten year tax-free incentives program for companies that locate in one of 64 designated zones around New York known as Start-Up NY is helping eight firms to either expand or locate in Western New York. Liazon Corp., an emerging online-benefits exchange provider, has pledged to create 500 jobs over the next five years. Bak, which produces electronic tablets, has selected McGuire Developments Compass East along Michigan Ave. The company will lease the fifth floor and hopes to begin operation by early November. In addition to Liazon and Bak, other companies that will be receiving incentives are:

• Appistry Partners-a company specializing in genomic data analysis located in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus area will invest $2.45 million and employ eight people.

• Biologichem-a pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries research firm. The company will invest $75,000 in startup costs and plans to locate at UB’s Stor Incubator at the Baird Research Park in Amherst creating four new jobs.

• Canget BioTekPharma-a anticancer drug research company hopes to invest $100,000 and create six jobs at UB’s Center of Excellence building.

• Clinical Support Services, a software development company, plans to invest $275,000 and create 16 jobs in Buffalo’s Gateway Building.

• IFYE Association of the USA wants to invest $25,000 and move its corporate headquarters to Buffalo creating 10 new jobs.

• Vader Systems, a producer of liquid metal jet printing devices wants to invest $1.39 million and create 15 new jobs by expanding into the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus’ Innovation Center.

In all the eight firms approved for the Start-Up NY program will create approximately 659 jobs.

The new $51 million Catholic Health corporate headquarters building is nearing completion. About 75 employees from human resources, facilities planning and management, marketing, public relations and creative services departments initiated the company’s transition to its new administrative office and regional training center began moving into their new space on July 28th. In all, Catholic Health will relocate more than 700 employees from eight regional offices to the new downtown headquarters.

Time Warner Cable hosted an open house interview event on July 30th at its offices in Buffalo. Applications for the technical support positions are available online at Time Warner cable.

The Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Investment Board has received a state grant totaling $270,000 to help train unemployed, underemployed or those who meet TANF requirements for jobs in health care. The board is one of 14 agencies across New York that is sharing $3.6 million in funding from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s Career Pathways program. The board will partner with Erie 1 Boces, Catholic Health and Kaleida Health this fall to offer training and education in five, in-demand occupations: certified nursing assistant, home health aide, phlebotomist, sterile processing and distribution technician and medical office assistant.

The former HSBC Tower, now named One Seneca Tower will be getting new tenants. The nearly vacant building will house employees of the HARBORCENTER and Pegula Sports and Entertainment on the 31st floor of the building. Employees are expected to move in this August.

AAA of Western and Central New York is holding a job fair on August 2nd. The automotive agency is looking ahead to the winter season and is accepting applications for full and part-time workers, specifically hiring for Roadside Problem Solver Technicians, Tow Technicians, and Automotive Repair Technicians.

The state agency overseeing the planned solar-energy and high-tech hub at Riverbend has purchased the remaining 96 acres of property from the city of Buffalo for $2.8 million. The new purchase adds to the 88 acres that the state acquired in 2008. The proposed Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub will house clean energy and biotechnology companies as part of an economic development initiative to create hundreds of new jobs.

Dollar General will open its 10th City of Buffalo store (Erie County) on August 2nd. The newly constructed 9,100-square-foot store will employ 6-10 people.

Shoe Carnival, an Indiana-based shoe store chain that carries brand name footwear geared toward families, will open its first two New York state stores. The stores, located in Hamburg (Erie County) and Niagara Falls (Niagara County) will both hold their grand openings on August 2nd.

The development project known as Riverworks is more than 50% completed and on schedule for a winter of 2014 opening that includes: two hockey rinks with a full roof over both, a massive, multi-use 60 thousand square foot building for events and concerts, complete with a bar and restaurant, a beer garden that will be located on the ruins of an old grain silo and a brewery inside another grain silo on the property. Construction on the $15 million project began in November of 2013.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane (Niagara County) will lay off 60 employees. The layoffs come as part of a restructuring plan at the hospital that will consolidate inpatient care and surgical services at the hospital’s Lockport site. Currently there are approximately 560 full-time employees at the hospital, with 123 at the Newfane site.

United Airlines will outsource jobs at Buffalo Niagara International Airport to a vendor beginning October 1st of this year. The cost-cutting move will affect baggage handlers and ticket and gate agents. The impending outsourcing creates uncertainty for about 70 employees at the airport, as the vendor, not the airline will chose whom to employ to proved services to the airline, at what is expected to be a lower rate of pay.

Eastern Niagara Hospital has filed a WARN notice with the NYS Department of Labor that will impact 185 workers, just weeks after announcing the layoff of 60 employees. The hospital will begin the layoffs October 13.

Tyson Foods is planning to close its meat-processing plant in Buffalo in early 2015. Tyson is also planning to close two other plants, one in Iowa and the other in New Mexico. The company cited the distance of the Buffalo and New Mexico plants from their raw material supply base in the Midwest, as well as changes in product demand as factors in its decision to close. The plant closure will eliminate 300 jobs.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local One at Tops Markets approved a new three-year contract. The agreement covers 13,000 employees in upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Full and part-time workers will receive wage increases, more funding to pension funds and health care benefits with reasonable co-payments. About 70 percent of the workers covered by the contract are part-time employees.

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