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Western New York, April 2015

Business Expansions

New this Month

A Cheektowaga-based (Erie County) information technology company plans to add up to 36 jobs over the next five to ten years. TROVE Predictive Data Science plans to invest $3.3 million as part of its expansion where the company currently employs 8 people.

SolarCity has posted its first job openings for its Buffalo (Erie County) solar panel factory. Three job openings are for human resources and recruiter positions which will help lay the foundation for the company’s hiring as the factory moves toward its completion date. The other positions are for a vice president of manufacturing and 2 staff engineers as the company gears up to start outfitting the new factory early in 2016. Construction of the building is set for completion by the end of the year so that equipment can be moved into the plant during the first quarter of next year. Production is set to begin during 2016.

More than 350 people will be hired to work at restaurants and hotels in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) for the upcoming tourist season. NFNY Hotel Management is looking to fill more than 200 positions for the Rainforest Café inside the Sheraton at the Falls, which is scheduled to open May 28th. The company is also looking to fill jobs at the hotel, as well as a TGI Friday’s restaurant located off the lobby. The management company also has job openings at the Days Inn at the Falls and the Denny’s located within that hotel. Positions are full time, part-time or seasonal.

Borderworx Logisitcs, a Canadian company that assembles and transfers plastic and personal care products and light fixtures plans to buy 31 acres of land in the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency’s industrial park in Wheatfield. The company plans to build a 50,000-square-foot warehouse and light manufacturing facility using tax breaks and incentives from the IDA, creating 61 full-time jobs.

The law firm of Goldberg Segalla LLP is doubling the size of its downtown Buffalo (Erie County) headquarters. The 14-year-old law firm currently occupies 25,000-square feet of space at 665 Main St. and houses 225 attorneys in the space. The additional space will allow the firm to bring 55 employees-including its back office and support functions, as well as some attorneys to its downtown location from their secondary location in Williamsville. New hires are also expected in the coming months

Yahoo announced it will hold a grand opening ceremony at its new customer and data center in The Town of Lockport Industrial Park on April 30th. The data center is the second built by Yahoo in the Industrial Park. More than 100 call center workers, who had been based in temporary quarters in Amherst, moved into the new facility in January.

Ground was broken on “The Delavan”, a new hotel being built owners of Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. The project, which is being built by Concept Construction Corp. is slated to open by early 2016 and will feature luxury-style suites, a fitness center and a full salon and day spa.

James Cordova, owner of Finger Food Products, received approval from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency to buy 7.5 acres of land in the IDA-controlled industrial park in Wheatfield. The maker of “Original Pizza Logs” will construct a new food-processing and distribution facility and expects to add 10-15 employees over the next three years to its current workforce of 50. The company expects to open the new facility in May 2016.

The region’s first Hyatt Place hotel in Snyder (Erie County) is slated to open to guests by late June or early July of this year. The 137-room, $18 million hotel pushed back its opening by a few weeks to allow for last minute modifications to its lobby area. The Hyatt Place is anchoring a multi-phased, two hotel development on the former Lord Amherst property. Iskalo Development is investing more than $10 million to renovate the Lord Amherst hotel, which is expected to open next winter. A new restaurant will also operate where the now-closed Sonoma Grille operated and be a part of the complex.

Retail giant Walmart has purchased the former Super Flea Market property on Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga (Erie County) for $7.45 million. The company plans to demolish the building and replace it with a 183,000-square-foot supercenter on the 17.4-acre site. The new store, which will be open 24 hours a day, will replace a Walmart that currently operates further east along Walden Ave. 85 new jobs are expected to be created in addition to those coming over from the former Thruway Plaza site when it opens early next year.

Cloud62, a consulting agency for companies that use Salesforce software has pledged to create 35 new jobs. The company, which has grown to roughly 30 employees, was recently accepted into the Start-Up NY tax breaks program and has moved out of the UB Technology Incubator in Amherst and has moved to UB’s Gateway Building in downtown Buffalo.

IBM, which opened it Buffalo Innovation Center on January 1, currently has about 11 employees in the North tower in Fountain Plaza and would like to have about 50 people working at its office by the end of the year. Once Delaware North Cos. Vacates the south tower, sometime later this year, IBM will begin to move to the top 6 floors-a transition that should be completed in 2016. The IBM Innovation Center director says the plan is to hire up to 500 workers in areas including big data, analytics and cloud computing. The $25 million facility will become a hub for cognitive computing and the backbone for IBM supercomputer Watson. The goal is to develop Watson’s infrastructure and service a variety of industries, including life sciences and health care. With a major focus on healthcare, proximity to the medical campus was one of the determining factors for the move to the downtown Buffalo site.

The former Adam Meldrum & Anderson Co. property has gotten a favorable review from the Buffalo Planning Board , after some uncertainty about whether the project would get approval at the April 7th meeting between the planning board and the project’s architect and engineer. Pending a final sign off from the Buffalo department of Public Works, and mandated environmental review, Flushing-based H&L Landco LLC is poised to get the $60 million project underway. H&L Landco wants to anchor the 10-story building with a 300-room hotel that will cater to a customer base of primarily Chinese Tourists it will be bringing to the U.S. for sightseeing trips. The project also calls for six apartments, a pair of upscale restaurants, spa and medical center to be developed inside the building. The Engineer and architect of the project John Schenne stated that as long as work is underway by early July, the targeted December 2016 opening deadline should be met. Asbestos removal will be starting early next week and should take three months to complete. H&L Landoc’s development proposal marks the first significant plan to emerge for the former department store since it closed in 1995. The board will likely vote on the project when it meets on May 5th.

Five new companies tied to the University at Buffalo have been added to the Start-UP NY program. Prior to this announcement, UB already had 37 company partners that have promised to create 1,452 jobs and invest $46.6 million over five years. The five newest companies are:

• Cytocybernetics, a startup that works on drug safety scpeening for the pharmaceutical industry, moving into Sherman Annex on UB’s South Campus, promising four jobs and a $41,000 investment.

• Greenwich Geriatrics, a startup that designs software to help those who care for people with complicated medical problems make better treatment decisions, moving into UB’s Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics & Life Sciences in the downtown medical corridor, promising 20 jobs and a $355,000 investment.

• Geocove, a Florida company that makes geographic information system tools and provides GIS services, expanding into UB’s Baird Research Park in Amherst, promising five jobs and a $60,000 investment.

• Zintera Corp., a young California cognitive computing company that develops applications for health care, genomics and the life sciences, expanding to the bioinformatics center, promising five jobs and a $91,000 investment.

• Natural Energy Systems, a private Canadian corporation that converts organic waste to clean-burning, renewable fuel for commercial applications, expanding to New York and moving into the Baird Research Park, promising five jobs and a $50,000 investment. Together, the five companies will create 39 jobs and invest more than a half a million dollars in tax-free zones.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Nothing to report.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Nurses at Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center ratified their first union-bargained contract. 37 licensed practical nurses joined 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East late last year. They join 135 other workers at the site who were already covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Both contracts will expire in April 2017.

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