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Western New York, December 2013

Business Expansions

New this Month

Florida-based One Touch Direct plans to open a customer service center in Orchard Park ( Erie County). The marketing and call center firm will bring about 270 new jobs to the area.

Popeye’s Restaurant opened on December 17th in North Buffalo (Erie County). The popular southern style chicken restaurant is the first in Buffalo and employs about 50 people.

White Rock Pigments, a Cleveland-based company that produces the white pigment that is used in paint, plastic and other products, is planning to open a $50 million plant to Western New York within the next 18 months to two years. The company is currently looking at existing manufacturing sites in Lackawanna (Erie County) for a factory that could employ 85-100 workers in the initial stages of production, with employment growing further if the venture is successful.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has granted $10 million in tax breaks to Uniland Development Co. or its Delaware Avenue office and hotel project after months of debate. Work will begin next month on the 12-story office tower in Downtown Buffalo, that will serve as headquarters for the Buffalo-based concessions giant Delaware North Co.s. The complex is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015. 65 new jobs will be added to the current headquarters staff of 350.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Dunkirk (Chautauqua County) to announce that the NRG Power Plant will not be closing. The aging coal-fired facility will be converted to burn natural gas, solving the two biggest problems facing the owner of the company: the cost of its fuel and the pollution it causes. NRG will invest $150 million to upgrade the plant, saving the jobs of nearly 70 employees and providing work for an additional 50 in construction to make the changeover which is expected to be completed in 2015.

AMS Servicing LLC has targeted Elma (Erie County) for an expansion of its mortgage servicing firm. AMS plans to add at least 195 jobs to its local workforce, growing from 270 to an estimated 465 in the next few years.

Ground was broken on the Basil families’ newest auto franchise, Basil Volkswagen, in Lockport (Niagara County). The dealership will bring 35 new jobs to the area.

The former Bristol-Myers Squibb site on Forest Avenue in Buffalo (Erie County) has a new lessee. Regional Integrated Logistics will occupy about 220,000-square-feet of a new high-bay warehouse space under a 10-year lease. The other half of the property will be student housing that will be built by a North Carolina company.

Niagara Salt Co. is working with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency on plaans to build a 33,400-square-foot plant in a portion of the former Bethlehem Steel Co. property in Lackawanna (Erie county). The $7.3 million expansion project would create eight new jobs at the company.



Business Contractions

New this Month

Lake Shore Health Center in Irving (Chautauqua county) has confirmed that a bankruptcy filing is imminent and it plans to shut down by mid-January or sooner-ahead of the late January date initially announced. Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, the parent company of the hospital, had announced in mid-October that it had intended to close the facility by January 31, 2014. A chapter 11 reorganization filing would buy the hospital some time for a potential purchaser to see the exact net worth of the hospital as well specific financial needs. In the short-term, the facility will continue to operate as normal. More than 400 workers will lose their jobs.


Labor Disputes

New this Month

The union representing 200 workers at Lake Shore Health Care Center in Irving (Chautauqua County) has filed unfair labor practice charges against the hospitals parent, TLC Health Network. SEIU 1199 United Workers East said that hospital officials had confirmed a bankruptcy filing is imminent and it plans to shut down by mid-January or sooner-ahead of the late January date initially announced. According to the union, the health network also has repeatedly rejected union proposals over accrued time payouts and insurance coverage. The union has been negotiating with TLC regarding the terms of the closure, but there remains no agreement on whether insurance will be maintained and has also refused to guarantee hours of work for current workers who remain through the closure.


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