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Western New York, September 2014

Business Expansions

New this Month

Albany Molecular Research Inc.’s move into a new biotech market is leading to an expansion of the company’s drug-discovery operations that are now under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. AMRI, the first effort funded through the Buffalo Billion initiative, is moving into the mass production of proteins and medical uses. The company plans to add some of that new line of business to its drug-development operation, a $250 million, public-private partnership with New York State. The push into the new market will bring additional jobs and investments to the research center.

New York State officials are offering Higher One, the company that acquired Campus Labs in Buffalo two years ago, an incentive package to help keep the Buffalo (Erie County) office from being shifted to a building that the company owns in Connecticut. Executives from the company said there is a $2 million gap between the cost of an acceptable office in the Buffalo Niagara region and the expenses associated with moving the operations. To help close the gap, the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board recommended that the company receive $300,000 from a fund generated by the sale of unallocated hydropower in addition to $1.27 million in tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program. If the company stays and moves its offices to the Burns Building on East Huron, 70 local jobs will be preserved and 36 new jobs will be created.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority hosted an open house on September 10th. The company is currently hiring bus drivers for immediate full-time positions. Candidates need to be at least 21, have a high school diploma or equivalent and a New York State commercial driver’s license, Class B minimum with passenger and air brake endorsements.

An 11,000-square-foot, $1.2 million expansion at Niagara Blower Co. is expected to be completed by October. The company, which manufactures industrial heat transfer equipment, plans to add to its 110 person workforce by hiring around 10 welders and assemblers by next month, and a total of 15 by the end of the year.

The HARBORCenter in downtown Buffalo (Erie County) is looking to fill 300 positions. Jobs are available at the Tim Hortons shop, concessions and at the two hockey rinks. Applications are available online at HARBORCenter.com and interviews held on September 19,22 and 24.

The United States Postal Service is hiring around 50 seasonal employees at its Buffalo Processing and Distribution Center on William Street in Buffalo (Erie County). The temporary mail handlers will process, collect and transport mail during the holiday season in November and December.

The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls (Niagara County) will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration for 35 of its 50 planned new outlets on November 6. The remaining outlets have an anticipated opening in early 2015. The additions will make the outlet mall about 700,000-square-feet, one of the biggest outlet malls in the country.

Solar City officially broke ground on its solar panel factory in South Buffalo (Erie County) on September 23. Currently about 15 workers are working at the 88-acre site and by the end of the year employment is expected to rise to 50 and 100 people to dig the foundation for the complex. By next summer, the number will to jump to between 600-800 workers. The company plans to invest $ 5 billion in the site over the next 10 years. New York State is investing $750 million in the project, more than three times the original $225 million it had originally planned. More than 1,500 manufacturing jobs will be created. The plant is also expected to lead to the creation of more than 1,400 jobs for workers providing support and services for the factory. SolarCity is also expected to create more than 2,000 jobs across the state for workers selling and installing solar energy systems and services. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015. Installation of equipment and a reduced scale of production is planned by early 2016, with full production expected by early 2017.

The pace of the work at the RiverBend site in South Buffalo is set to pick up now that the SolarCity deal is in place with the state. Currently, about 15 workers and eight pieces of heavy equipment from LPCiminelli are working at the 88-acre site, mostly continuing with preliminary site preparation work that has been going on throughout the summer. Now that the state has agreed to invest $750 million into the project, the workforce at the site is expected to jump to between 50 and 100 people by the end of the year to dig the foundation for the complex. By next summer, the number is expected to jump to 600-800 workers.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Synacor Inc., an internet provider that has been losing money since last spring, will lay off 70 workers, or about 20% of its workforce. Fifty of the jobs that will be cut are at the company’s headquarters on the Buffalo (Erie County) waterfront. About 210 people at the site after the cuts are made. (September 30, 2014-The Buffalo News)

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Members of two unions at RHI Monofrax in Falconer (Chautauqua County) went on strike on Monday, September 29th after rejecting the company’s latest contract offer. 120 members of the Service International Union and 14 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Work went on strike because the new contract called for a “massive increase” in the employees’ share of health insurance, as well as freezing their pensions. No new talks have been scheduled at this time.

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