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Western New York, January 2016

Business Expansions

New this Month

The new Whole Foods Market in Amherst (Erie County) is expected to open in mid-2017. Construction of the $75 million project is planned to begin in the spring.

Rocky’s Big City Games & Sports Bar have chosen the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville (Erie County) as the first site for their new restaurant and entertainment destination. The Rocky’s site has been designed as a prototype for what its investors hope evolves into a national chain. The sports bar is taking over the vacancy left by Dave & Busters after the chain moved its operations to the Walden Galleria. In addition to the $1.5 million state-of-the-art arcade, a six-lane bowling alley, bumper car ride, six private meeting rooms and two-full service bars and restaurant will be featured in the 38,000-square-foot space. As many as 150 full-and part-time employees are expected to be hired, with the hope of opening by early February 2016.

Ascent Aerospace, a California aircraft assembly service provider which recently purchased local company Gemcor in West Seneca (Erie County) could receive an extra $1 million over the next 10 years if it will keep at least 72 jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region. The incentive funds come for the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, which agreed to set aside the money from its nearly $11 million profit from the sale of the company. The ECIDA owned a 25 percent stake after investing in 2004. Under the incentive, money will be put into an escrow account, with a target that Ascent will keep those jobs in the area. The company will not begin to receive any money until after 5 years, and at that point receive $500,000 and then $100,000 every year there after as long as the jobs are retained. Currently the workforce stands at about 90.

Seneca Gaming Corp. broke ground on its $40 million expansion project of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino on January 14th. The project will feature a two-level, 60,000-square-foot expansion that will house an additional 300 slot machines, table games, a performance stage at the Stixx Sports Bar, new retail space and an expanded Buffalo Savors Grill. Also in the works is a high limit room and a Western Door-styled restaurant that will have indoor and outdoor seating and banquet and meeting space. Some preliminary work has already begun but the major construction will begin in February, with the new wing customer-ready by spring 2017. With the expansion, the casino will be hiring about 300 new workers, bringing its total employment to almost 800.

A $50 million modernization project of the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge from the U.S. to Canada has been given the final green light to rebuild the bridge’s administration office, expand parking and add extra travel lanes. Construction on the project is set to start in the spring of 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020. The project will bring with it 1,200 new local construction jobs according to the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.

Athenex, a specialty cancer-drug startup headquartered on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, is set to build a high-tech drug manufacturing center in Dunkirk. The state plans to spend $200 million on the project in Chautauqua County led by SUNY Polytechnic, one of the agencies that administers the governor’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative. Athenex began as Kinex Pharmaceuticals, with one promising possible cancer treatment. As many as 1,000 jobs would be created at all of the company’s facilities, in Dunkirk, Conventus and elsewhere in the Western New York region over five years and the companies investment would reach hundreds of millions of dollars over that same period.

The long delayed development of the vacant Adam Meldrum & Anderson Co. Inc. in downtown Buffalo will begin this spring. The developers-H&L Landco LLC have set a revised schedule and expect to hire an asbestos removal team within the next 30 days, comprised of both local and out-of-town firms. The $70 million, privately funded project was announced in late 2014 and was expected to be finished in December of this year. The revised development schedule has the 300 room hotel, restaurants, health spa and medical clinic opening by late December 2017 or early 2018.

Business Contractions

New this Month

Retail giant Macy’s Inc. is closing three Western New York stores as part of a larger restructuring and cost-cutting move in response to disappointing sales over the past year. Two stores in the Mckinley Mall in Hamburg (Erie County), which includes a home store, and one store in the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville (Erie County) will close in early spring. At least 155 local jobs will be cut locally, while nationwide the company plans to eliminate about 4,500 jobs. .”

On New Year’s Day, Tanning Bed abruptly closed all 18 locations around Western New York with no warning to its employees or customers. Zoom Tan, another tanning salon, has agreed to purchase Tanning Bed’s almost 6,000 customers. Tanning Bed filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy roughly a year ago.

Supermarket industry giant Ahold USA is transferring its local warehouse operations to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., a move that will result in 600 local jobs being lost as those functions are shifted away from the Buffalo region. The two warehouses impacted are the American Sales Co. operations in Lancaster and Scrivner Place in Cheektowaga. The two warehouses distributed general merchandise, health and beauty care and seasonal products for Ahold-branded supermarkets-including Stop & Shop and Giant, neither of which are in the immediate Buffalo area. C&S will transfer the warehouse functions to warehouses the company runs in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The transaction is expected to be completed by August 2016.

An Amherst (Erie County) call center that has operated since 1988 will close its doors and eliminate 120 jobs. DialAmerica will close its doors on March 4th. The call center handles both inbound and outbound customer calls dealing with health care for multiple clients. The decrease in work aided in the company’s decision to move its work offshore and close the location. Just over a year ago DialAmerica was planning to hire 125 new employees, citing growing client demand. The company is working with the labor department to provide employees with job-placement and related services.Tennessee-based home health services provider American HomePatient plans to lay off 42 workers when it closes its billing center in Hamburg (Erie County). The company plans to close four of its nine regional billing centers across the country. According to the notice filed with the New York State Department of Labor the closing will occur by April 27th of this year.


Labor Disputes

New this Month

Nothing to report.

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