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Western New York, March 2013

Business Expansions

New this Month

The Town of Tonawanda Development Corp. is planning to develop more than 40 acres of once-polluted land along the Niagara River in the Town of Tonawanda (Erie County). The proposal is aimed at what’s known as the Niagara River world, a parcel of mostly abandoned industrial land that also houses a 230,000-square-foot warehouse at the front of the Brownfield’s property, which is almost fully occupied. Under the preliminary plan, the development agency would acquire the 42-acre property –not including the warehouse-and then clear it of debris and any structures that are not usable of historic. The property would then be converted into a mixture of offices, research and development, and possibly display areas that would focus on solar or alternative energy and environmental sustainability.

Less than two weeks after receiving necessary approvals, the Buffalo Sabres have started construction of the HARBORCenter project. The $172.2 million center is a mixed use project anchored by a twin-set of hockey rinks and a 200-room full service hotel.

TLC Health Network has filed plans with the state to build a new $23 million hospital in Perrysburg (Cattaraugus County) four years after its original hospital was destroyed in a flood. Plans filed call for replacing the former Tri-County Memorial Hospital with the Tri-County Health Services Center. The new hospital would create 40 jobs.

The 15th area Sav-A-Lot is coming to Cheektowaga’s (Erie County) Airport Plaza. The store has a tentative opening date of June 15th.

The coal-fired power plant in Dunkirk (Chautauqua County) has won a two-year reprieve under an agreement between the plant’s owner NRG Energy and National Grid. The 80-megawatt unit will continue to operate in order to maintain the reliability of the region’s electricity supply while more extensive studies are done to determine whether the power plant is needed long term. NRG Energy had previously filed a notice to regulators tin March 2012 that the plant would be mothballed because of steep losses at the facility.

MASH Urgent Care Network is expanding, adding two new sites in the Buffalo area. Later this month, in the Tonawanda (Erie County), will open and this springs a site in North Amherst. Once completed, the two new locations will bring the company’s Western New York presence to seven locations and its employment to over 150 people in the region.

In January, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to hire approximately 300 city carrier assistants, and despite an overwhelming response to that call for city carrier assistants, the U.S. Postal Service is still looking for more candidates to fill about 50 positions in the greater Buffalo (Erie County) area. The deadline to apply was March 11th.

M&T Bank is aiming to fill 329 positions, plus a large number of jobs that will also be created later this year in the Buffalo (Erie County) area. The jobs include retail services, mortgages, consumer lending, technology and credit and finance. M&T is the 9th largest employer in the region according to Business First research.

Citigroup Inc. held a job fair on March 16th at its Amherst (Erie County) site to fill dozens of local jobs in finance, risk management, technology and operations. Currently the Citigroup site in Amherst employs 1,300 people.

With the expanded Buffalo Creek Casino slated to open later this year, and openings at all three of its area operations, the Seneca Gaming Corp. has set a series of online and in-person job fairs in March. Job openings include table game dealers and supervisors, cage cashiers, slot attendants and technicians, bartenders, servers, cooks, security officers, valet attendants and maintenance and environmental services.

With an incentive package offered from state and local officials, FedEx Trade Networks Transport and Brokerage division has decided to expand its regional operations in a fast-growing Town of Tonawanda office park. Tonawanda was selected over several other Upstate cities and outside sites in Memphis and Indianapolis. FedEx will be consolidating its existing office and warehouse into the newly built 88,000-square-foot operations center. Construction could start by early May and the building is expected to be completed by the summer of 2014. Currently, FedEx has 926 employees and is expected to add 82 more with the expansion.

Yahoo is planning a major expansion in the Western New York region under a deal being finalized with Gov. Cuomo’s administration. The company, which currently employs 77 people, will add 15 jobs at its current location and open a 100-job call center in a yet to be determined location in the region. Before the deal is finalized, incentives to support the project must be approved.

American Douglas Metals plans to move its aluminum and steel processing operations from its current location in the Town of Tonawanda to a larger site in Buffalo (Erie County). The $2.9 million project is expected to create 11 new jobs over the next two years.

Erie County Medical Center has opened the region’s first Transitional Care Unit, which is designed to reduce the number of days Medicare patients remain in the hospital, while still maintaining care levels. The New York State Department of Health approved the unit in September 2011, pending submission of final construction plans. The closest similar units are in Binghamton, Champlain and on Long Island.

Demolition and abatement have begun on the landmark Tishman Building on Lafayette Square, with new owner Hamister Group aiming to complete the conversion of the historic former National Fuel Gas Co. headquarters into a hotel, apartment and corporate offices by the third quarter of 2014. Officials are seeking to restore the 53-year old building to what it looked like in 1959. Plans for the $41 million project call for a Hilton Garden Inn hotel- with 124 rooms to occupy the first 14 floors; 18 market-rate apartments on floors 15-17; and Hamister’s headquarters on the top three floors, housing 30-40 employees. Hamister’s current headquarters are in Amherst.

A downtown Buffalo (Erie County) surface parking lot is emerging as a new, possible headquarters location for Delaware North Cos. Inc. CitiPark Corp., the Toronto-based firm which owns several parking lots in the central business district is pitching to Delaware North plans for a 250,000 square foot building that would house the company’s corporate headquarters, a six-level parking garage and a 150-room brand name hotel. Delaware North has 350 people currently working at its Key Center headquarters.



Business Contractions

New this Month

A newly announced plan by KeyCorp to shift jobs to India will affect an undetermined amount of Buffalo (Erie County) workers. KeyCorp has decided to partner with GenPact, a business and technology management company with operations in India. In Buffalo, a team of 15 employees will be affected, the specific positions, however, haven’t been finalized, nor has timeline of layoffs been established. About 60 KeyCorp jobs in the United States will be eliminated when job functions move to India.

VascuFlo, a Buffalo (Erie County) area medical service that offers non-invasive treatment for chest pain, is going out of business. The company announced that it will close after a lengthy billing dispute with the region’s major health insurance companies. The company at one time employed 10 people and served patients at five satellite sites.

More than 300 civilian workers from the 914th Airlift Wing base in Niagara Falls (Niagara county) will be furloughed one day a week without pay from late April through the end of the year because of the sequester. Everyone will be off on Mondays, and the airlift wing will be closed.

Bank of America Corp. plans to close its Getzville (Erie County) mortgage facility by May 31st. M&T Bank Corp. will take over the lease and hire at least 600 of the 1,200 employees to service mortgages that a third-party investor bought from Bank of America. Another 100 employees will remain with Bank of America at other area locations, leaving a net loss of 500 jobs. Bank of America is shutting down the 13-year mortgage processing operation because it no longer has as many troubled borrowers who need help with their delinquent mortgages.

DRS Integrated Defense Systems, an Arlington, Virginia based defense electronics supplier, is closings its Buffalo (Erie County) plant in September. Thirty-six people will lose their jobs with the closing.


Labor Disputes

New this Month

Erie County Medical Center Corp. and the CSEA union representing its 1,267 employees have ratified a new, five-year contract. The agreement covers employees working on the campus in both medical and nonmedical professions. The agreement, ratified during a March 7th vote, was necessary because the hospital no longer operates as a county department, but as an independent, $475 million health care business. Staff at ECMC have worked without a contract since the previous agreement expired on December 31, 2006. Under the new agreement for ECMC employees, several concessions were made, including paying for a percentage of their health care costs. The employees will remain members of CSEA Local 815 Erie County Unit.

Registered nurses at Kenmore Mercy Hospital in Buffalo (Erie County) and hospital officials plan to meet with a federal mediator on April 9th after the nurses rejected a tentative contract for the second time. CWA Local 1133 represents about 270 nurses at the hospital.

650 workers represented by SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East have been in labor talks with Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center since September 2012. With no progress on a new labor contract, employees are planning to picket the hospital on April 3, 2013. SEIU represents registered nurses, technicians, licensed practical nurses, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance, therapists and social workers at the Niagara Falls site.

Trocaire College and the Trocaire Faculty Association have agreed to a one-year extension of the current collective bargaining contract. The contract will now run until August 16, 2014.

80 workers represented by SEIU 1199 United Healthcare Workers East at Niagara Lutheran Nursing Home have ratified their first contract, which includes a 6.5 percent wage increase. The contract will remain in effect for three years.


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