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Western New York, March 2007

Business Expansions

New this Month

The Seneca Nation of Indians officially opened its Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel March 30th in Salamanca (Cattaraugus County). Ground was broken on the $160 million project on October 29, 2005. More than 1,200 people are employed at the facility.

After six years, Buffalo (Erie County) has finally signed a predevelopment agreement with Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World for the downtown waterfront. The 100,000-square-foot store, is about half the size of the Bass Pro originally proposed for the nearby Memorial Auditorium site, which will now be demolished. The store will serve as anchor tenant for the Canal Side, which will fill the Erie Canal Harbor neighborhood with a mix of shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, museums, a hotel, and residential office space. Construction is aimed at starting in spring 2008.

Quaker Crossing in Orchard Park, (Erie County) the largest strip plaza in the Southtowns, is about to grow even larger with the plans by Wal-Mart to build a new 120,000-square-foot supercenter. Within a few months, the plaza will welcome new tenants such as PetSmart, Borders, Marshall’s, Oreck, Foot Quarters, Famous Footwear, Cold Stone Creamery and Red Robin Hamburgers. When fully developed, Quaker Crossing will have more than 717,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and restaurant space and employ more than 1,000 people on a full or part-time basis.

Kohl’s Department Store opened its fourth area location this week in Amherst (Erie County). 150 new staffers have already been hired to work in the new 88,000-square-foot store.

M&T Bank Corp. plans to move 340 more jobs downtown Buffalo (Erie County) from the suburbs as it takes over additional space in its headquarters, while moving into a new building in the city. Banking headquarters will be closed in Amherst, shifting 90 employees downtown and will move its 250 central operations and trust employees from their current space in Cheektowaga to the new headquarters by the summer.

Quebecor World Inc. in Depew (Erie County) has signed a multiyear deal with Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, securing an important source of work for the printing plant that has been struggling to keep its 800 jobs. The deal with Harlequin directly protects over 250 jobs.

Medcotek Inc., a start-up technology company in North Carolina, has chosen Buffalo’s (Erie County) medical corridor as the launching pad for its X-ray image sharing service. Seven initial employees will move to the state Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences in April, with hopes to have about 70 employees after three years.

Business Contractions

New this Month

The third and final group of Ford Stamping Plant workers to accept the company’s buyouts has left the company’s Woodlawn (Erie County) facility. About 30 percent of the hourly workforce, or about 396 employees, took the buyouts to shrink the plant’s combined employment by late 2006 to about 1,237. The current hourly employment is 1,136.

Bon-Ton will be closing its store in Amherst (Erie County) by the middle of May. The 75 people who work at the store will be offered positions in the company’s eight remaining local stores.

Labor Disputes

New this Month

Steelworkers have authorized a strike at Luvata Inc.’s brass processing plant in Buffalo (Erie County) as their three-year contract is set to expire March 31st. United Steelworkers of America Local 593 has about 500 members at the plant, which was formerly called Outokumpu American Brass. The company plans to move some work to a sister plant in Mexico, raising a potentially difficult issue for negotiations. If there is no agreement by the end of the month, the unions could decide to keep talking on a day-to-day basis, or withhold services.

Union workers at Will Poultry Co. in Buffalo (Erie County) have rejected a contract proposal but continue working without one. Teamsters Local 264 represents about 68 delivery drivers and warehouse workers at the food distributor.

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