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Western New York, December 2005

Business Expansions

New this Month

Steuben Foods and Niagara Ceramic Corp. (Erie County), have been approved for low-cost hydropower allocations from the New York Power Authority, allowing the companies to expand and create 85 new jobs. Steuben Foods, a manufacturer of food and soft drinks, will create 75 new jobs through an $18 million expansion over the next several years. Niagara Ceramics, a decorative dinnerware maker, will add 10 more jobs linked to its purchase of two electric kilns for firing dinnerware products.

Luminescent Systems Inc. in East Aurora (Erie County) is planning a 50,000-square-foot expansion. The company makes aerospace lighting, primarily found in commercial, private and military craft. It also produces keyboards and keypads that are used in aviation-based electronic systems. While the expansion is only in the preliminary stages, it could create 150 new jobs.

UPDATE: Casino On December 4, the parcel of land in the city’s Cobblestone District became the sovereign territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Senecas acquired the property in early October as part of their plan to develop a Buffalo (Erie County) casino. While the site is large enough to accommodate casino development, they are continuing to negotiate with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to acquire the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Terminal. Seneca leaders held a groundbreaking December 8 on the nine-acre site to meet the terms of their gambling compact with the state.

The Erie County Waterfront will receive $279 million over 50 years, under a deal with the New York Power Authority over the re-licensing of the Niagara Power Project. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp, which is handling the redevelopment of Buffalo’s inner and outer harbors, will now have the funds for waterfront access projects and other efforts in the next few years. Monies will also be set aside for a greenway along the Niagara River and Lake Erie, and an Erie Canal museum.

Swain and Allegany County IDA officials met last week to discuss plans for an $8 million dollar investment at the Swain Ski and Snowboard Center (Allegany County). The proposed project includes plans for construction of about 70 lodging units and a year-round ice arena. Groundbreaking is set for the spring of 2006, with completion in the fall of 2006.

Dial-up internet provider LocalNet in Williamsville (Erie County) bought a Midwestern competitor that will about double its size, and add to its 165 jobs in the Buffalo area. LocalNet acquired CoreComm in East Lansing, Michigan. Together the companies make up the largest privately owned dial-up service in the U.S.

Bed, Bath & Beyond officially opened the first of its two new stores. The Clarence (Erie County) store opened in November, and the Hamburg (Erie County) store is projected to open January 23, 2006 in the McKinley Mall.

Business Contractions

New this Month

TeleTech’s Niagara Falls (Niagara County) Call Service Center will lay off 548 workers, almost its entire work force by February 28. The call center provides telecommunications services for businesses. The layoffs are a result of the loss of a major contract.

Visteon Corp. announced plans to halt production at its West Seneca (Erie County) plant and move to a lower-cost area. The climate control systems manufacturer will cut 130 production jobs, but will retain another 70 in administration, engineering and customer service. No date is set for the shutdown and the decision is not final until after negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

Media Play, a retail chain that sells music and other entertainment media, will close 61 stores, including 5 in the Buffalo (Erie & Niagara Counties) area by late January 2006.

General Motors Corp.’s plant in the Town of Tonawanda (Erie County) will be laying off about 240 workers at the Tonawanda Engine Plant in January. The plant will recall workers now on temporary layoff and make permanent layoffs instead. The cutback comes because of GM’s slow sales, and because of fewer than expected retirements. The job cut will be permanent “unless market conditions change or retirements increase” according to a plant spokesperson.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Nothing to report.

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