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Western New York, December 2010

Business Expansions

New this Month

PCB Piezotronics plans to expand operations at its Depew (Erie County) headquarters by acquiring the building next door to its current building, and shifting work that the sensor and instrument manufacturer now does in Lackawanna to the enlarged site. The $3.67 million project is expected to add 50 new jobs it the company’s 513 member work force.

Tops Markets held a grand opening for its first Tops Fresh Xpress convenience store and gas station in West Seneca (Erie County) December 7th. The store, which is a prototype for future gas stations that are not located at the site of a full-scale Tops supermarket, is part of the grocery chain’s multimillion-dollar capital improvement plan.

Two area hospitals will remain open permanently. DeGraff in North Tonawanda (Niagara County) and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Cheektowaga (Erie County) have been operating under limited life operating certificates set to expire June 30th 2011. In December 2006, the Berger commission recommended that both hospitals be closed. A total of 500 jobs would have been lost if the two area hospitals had been closed.

The Niagara County IDA has approved an abatement package that will help finance the construction and development of a “green” manufacturing facility in Niagara Falls (Niagara County). Greenpac Mill is eyeing an 18-acre site on Royal Avenue for its planned $400 million project. The plant, which will produce high performance, energy-efficient, light weight liner boards sold to corrugated box manufacturers, could see 110 new jobs created, plus another 400 during the construction.

Edwards Vacuum received an abatement package from the Niagara County IDA that will help the company build a 55,000-square-foot plant in Wheatfield (Niagara County). The $6.9 million project will add 25 jobs and retain another 100.

Two new hotel projects have been approved by the Niagara County IDA to be built in Niagara Falls (Niagara County). A $4.9 million inducement package was approved for Vishal Co. that will help the company with its plans to buy and demolish the Sunrise Inn and replace it with a 66-room Ramada Inn. Niagara Falls Hospitality was approved for a $4.3 million inducement package that will see the company raze the former Captain’s Cove Bar and Restaurant and build a 75-room Microtel.

The former Motorola plant in Elma (Erie County) is being sized up for a retail distribution facility with the potential for 350 to 1,000 jobs. The building has been sold to two local Elma residents. The new plant will be called 611 Jamison LLC.

General Motors’ Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) engine plant is recalling 37 workers from layoff as it gears up for increased business with its joint venture partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Group in China. The plant has already shipped about 25,000 engine heads to China this year. SAIC was so impressed with the quality of the engine heads shipped from the Tonawanda plant, that it has placed another large order for the Ecotec engine blocks, heads and cranks. The order will create more job security for about 100 current employees, in addition to bringing back 37 workers on January 3rd. The callbacks will bring the plant’s number of active hourly workers to 705, while 142 will remain on layoff.

Great Lakes Industrial Development LLC, local investor and development group has paid $3.5 million to buy the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna (Erie County), with plans to turn the sprawling 160-acre site in to a multitenant business park The new owners said they plan to convert the property into a business park that could accommodate a range of uses, including heavy or light manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, equipment storage and back office space.

The Seneca Gaming Corporation celebrated the grand opening of a new Tim Horton’s/ Cold Stone Creamery at the Seneca Niagara Casino December 21st. The new location created an additional 16 jobs at the casino.

An $80 million outpatient surgery center has been proposed by developers to the city of Buffalo (Erie County) on Main Street. The project on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus would be one of the most ambitious developments on Main Street in decades. Developers hope to start work on the seven-story structure within three months, and opening the complex by late 2012. The 350,000-square-foot medical building would include a Women & Children’s Hospital outpatient surgery center.

Southern Tier food supplier Maplevale Farms warehouse in Clymer was damaged earlier this month by heavy snow. The owner, with money from insurance has planned to reopen in Falconer, (Chautauqua County) saving 145 jobs.

A 60-room Sleep Inn may soon replace an older independent hotel on Main Street in Buffalo (Erie County). Pending various city approvals, construction on the project could start by mid-2011.

Bank of America, for the third time this year, is adding to its workforce. The nation’s top bank has 35 openings for customer service and sales specialists at the companies Crosspointe Business Park in Getzville.

Business Contractions

New this Month

State budget cuts to the SUNY system will cause the SUNY Fredonia campus to cut 20 positions. These position cuts come as part of the three-year campus plan to cut state funded jobs by 6.8 percent. Many of the 20 positions that will be cut will come from the 53 employees engaging in the early retirement incentive program.

Ponderosa Steakhouse in Wellsville (Cattaraugus County) has closed its doors. The restaurant, which opened in 1999, had 20 employees.

The weak economy and competition from national retailers has caused Rosa’s Home Stores to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The company was going to try and keep the stores open, but has since decided to close all five stores in the Buffalo Niagara region and liquidate its inventory. The stores, warehouse and offices employ about 105 people.

Four A.J. Wright stores in the Buffalo (Erie County) area will close, as its corporate parent TJX Companies eliminates the discount clothing and home fashion chain nationwide.

223 Erie County employees have received layoff notices indicating their positions have been eliminated effective December 31, 2010. The layoffs come after lawmakers hammered out a 2011 budget, a budget that included cuts and layoffs. Added to the vacancies that will not be filled, a total of 410 positions have been eliminated from the Erie County workforce.

Quad Graphics will cut 95 jobs in early January 2011 at its Depew (Erie County) printing plant. The company is moving a portion of its plants work to other company facilities where it can be produced more efficiently. The cuts will bring the number of employees down to 425.

Amherst Systems (Erie County), which is a unit of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman, is preparing to eliminate 120 of its 515 jobs effective February 2011. The reductions are mainly due to a lack of sufficient new orders for the unit’s electronic warfare simulation products. In June, the company eliminated 72 jobs.

The Hopevale facility for troubled teens in Hamburg (Erie County) is closing. The shutdown will transfer the youth elsewhere and put more than 200 people out of work. Hopevale began over 150 years ago helping troubled girls and now houses 40 neglected or abused teen girls and boys.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Unionized employees at Betrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville (Erie County) have approved a three-year labor deal. The 175 workers covered by the talks belong to 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

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