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Western New York, March 2015

Business Expansions

New this Month

Crews are expected to be on site to begin construction on one of the largest private-sector investments ever in the Town of Hamburg (Erie County). Kansas City-based Jones Development Co. will begin work on the 320,000-square-foot complex for FedEx Ground Transport. The $50 million project is expected to be completed by early next year and will replace the current facility in Cheektowaga. More than 600 employees will work at the new site.

National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. will be constructing a 15,400 horesepower-driven natural gas compressor station in the Town of Hinsdale (Cattaraugus County). The project, one of the largest private sector investments in the town, will cost $42.5 million and will employ nearly 100 workers during construction. Work will begin this spring and the station should be completed later this year.

Red Siren, women’s fashion and accessory boutique, will be the first of four small retailers to occupy the Buffalo Sabres’ HarborCenter. The new store will occupy about 1,200-square-feet of the 5,000-square-foot mini mall. Three other spaces are still available for lease and officials are working with prospective tenants to finalize details over the next few weeks. The retail space along the lower Main Street side of the building will open in late spring or early summer.

Seneca Resorts & Casinos will hold its 9th annual Spring Career Fair in Niagara Falls (Niagara County) in the Seneca Niagara Events Center on March 26th. Over 200 full and part-time positions are available for the Seneca Casino’s Buffalo and Niagara Falls locations in information technology; gaming; administration; marketing; hotel operations; food and beverage; spa and salon; and security and facilities. Last month the Seneca Resorts and Casinos hosted two table games dealer job fairs to fill a total of 65 part-time positions at its resorts in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County) and Niagara Falls (Niagara).

Crews are scouting possible sites that may serve as a backdrop for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” movie in the Buffalo region (Erie County). Empire State Development officials confirmed that the movie will be shot in Buffalo and New York City. Between the two cities, the combined economic impact is estimated to be around $70 million, with Buffalo’s total at least $7 million, and will put more than 1,000 people to work during the filming. The movie crew will be staying in local hotels, dining in restaurants and hiring locals to be part of the production team. The movie is due to be released in the summer of 2016.

Redevelopment of the former AM&A’s department store building is being led by Lily Li of Queens. The designer is backed by the fifth-largest real estate development group in China, which will be spending an estimated $60 to $70 million of its own money for the project. Cleanup work will begin as soon as insurance certificates are filed with the city. The group owns a travel agency in Queens with more than 110 buses that handles large tour groups traveling from China to New York and up to Niagara Falls. The developers want to use the AM&A’s building as part of that business, housing tourists in a 300-room hotel, two restaurants, pool room, spa, and a basement level with four to five pools. The second floor would be focuses on health, enabling tourists to receive medical services such as acupuncture, bloodwork, MRI’s and CT scans, as well as a dental clinic. In all, the project would likely employ about 150 people, with many of the employees fluent in Mandarin Chinese to interact with the travelers. Developers are aiming for the project to completed in about 18 months, opening in December of 2016.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency awarded a $2 million loan to TMP Acquisitions group, led by company President Robert Laughlin and Vice President Kirk Dorn, to help finance their purchase TMP Technologies from current owner Jeff Dorn. The company has drawn interest from several of its competitors, prompting fears that an acquisition by one of those companies could lead to a shutdown of its Buffalo operations. TMP makes the MR. Clean Magic Eraser for Proctor & Gamble as well as other products requiring applicators sold under other brand names. The deal would preserve the company’s 124 jobs and maintain its operations in Buffalo (Erie County).

Business Contractions

New this Month

The region’s largest private employer, Kaleida Health is cutting jobs in management as part of a restructuring within the hospital system. Two dozen middle managers who worked in information technology, operations, nursing and other departments at Kaleida Health’s four hospitals, its administration offices in the Larkin district, and the Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York have all been affected.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

The new owner of St. Francis Nursing home in Williamsville (Erie County) has agreed to start negotiating a new contract with the union that represents the workers. Members of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East had threatened to strike within ten days of Comprehensive HealthCare Management Services taking over the facility if they were unwilling to negotiate with the union workers. 102 certified nursing assistants, service workers, and clerks are represented by the union.

The Amherst Town Board unanimously approved a new contract with the Amherst Police Club. The contract, which covers 151 officers, will be retroactive to January 1, 2013 and will include raises through 2017 as well as increases in longevity payments. In return, the officers will begin to make contributions toward their health insurance. Amherst Police officers have been without a contract since their last one expired on December 31, 2010.

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