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FDIC requires contingency plans from big banks, Racer Machinery gets incentives from Lancaster IDA, and Riverbend project gets grant

From Business Today:


The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has approved an "interim final rule." It requires the most complex FDIC-insured banks with at least $50 billion in assets to submit backup plans to federal regulators, outlining a plan of action for closing down its operations should it fail financially. The idea is to minimize losses and avoid repeating the same mistakes of the financial crisis.

Another rule is for the largest and most complex companies to have similar "living wills." M&T Bank, with $78 billion in assets, will be required to do that. First Niagara might be too, once it completes its purchase of HSBC's Upstate New York branches, depending on how many branches it keeps and how much it grows.


 A Canadian manufacturer landed tax breaks from the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency Wednesday. Racer Machinery International was granted a package of incentives including a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, sales tax breaks and a break on the mortgage recording fee.

The Cambridge, Ontario company makes machine tools and industrial saws. It plans to buy and renovate a 14,100-square-foot building at 6 Lancaster Parkway. Officials said the company would employ 13 people here, and possibly as many as 48 within two years.


The Riverbend project has received a grant. National Grid awarded the project $250,000 to redevelop 202 acres that were the former home to Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke. The South Buffalo site will be redeveloped into an environmentally friendly, mixed-use business park.

The project, spearheaded by Buffalo Urban Development Corp., is part of the South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Act. It is targeting 2,000 acres of former industrial land on the shores of Lake Erie and the Buffalo River for cleanup.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

We're halfway through September:


Fireworks at the Lancaster IDA

Industrial Development Agency meetings can be staid affairs, conducted with little disagreement and plenty of unanimous votes.

That wasn't the case at this morning's meeting of the Lancaster IDA board, however, where for a while it seemed like the audience was watching ESPN's Pardon the Interruption or the old Crossfire show on CNN.

The debate broke out as members of the board discussed whether to renew the agency's contract with a well-connected lobbying firm, Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese & Associates, whose partners include former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello.

The agency pays the firm $500 per month, or $6,000 for the year, for lobbying and "government affairs consulting services," and the firm sought a one-year extension that would run through September 2012.

Several board members began to discuss whether the agency has received enough value for its money. Bill Tate said the firm submits to the board notices of the meetings its representatives hold with various state officials, but those submissions don't include enough substance and it's unclear what has come from the lobbying sessions.

"What are the results of these meetings?" he asked.

The discussion then turned to whether Carl Calabrese, a partner at the firm and the former deputy Erie County executive, should meet more often with the board or provide more written reports on the firm's work.

Calabrese met with the board in August and gave a presentation on the firm's efforts to address two main areas of concern: Reforming the state's environmental review regulations to make them more business-friendly, and bringing "consistency and balance" to the state's wetlands policy.

This recent session didn't seem to be enough for some board officials, including the agency's attorney, Dominic Terranova, who began arguing with agency consultant Paul Leone over how --- and how often --- Calabrese should report to the board.

The Terranova-Leone tiff continued after the meeting, as Depew Mayor Steven Hoffman waited to talk to Leone, with the consultant explaining that he only received the contract-extension request at this morning's board meeting and reminding Terranova that Calabrese spoke at the previous month's board meeting.

An exasperated Leone then called up Calabrese and handed his cell phone to Terranova so that the attorney could say what he wanted to say to the lobbyist.

After the phone call, Terranova and Leone said they didn't know why this turned into such a heated argument. As a spirit of detente settled over the empty council chambers, they agreed whatever communications Calabrese previously made only to board Chairman Robert H. Giza and his secretary need to be distributed to the full board.

The board never did vote on the contract extension, and they've asked Calabrese to come to the agency's October meeting and to submit regular updates on the firm's progress.

Reached later, Calabrese said he'll have to rework the presentation he made at the August meeting for next month's meeting.

"I thought it was a pretty comprehensive report," Calabrese told us, noting that the Erie County IDA just retained his firm's services. "I don't know what else they want."

-- Stephen T. Watson



Calspan lands big contract, Manufacturing lull in August and Corner Bakery Cafe prepares to enter Buffalo market

From Business Today:


Calspan Corp. has landed a huge contract with the Department of Transportation. The $40 million, five-year contract was awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to continue researching motor vehicle crashes.

Calspan operates the NHTSA's National Automotive Sampling System Zone Center 1, encompassing the Eastern United States. It collects crash data from counties and major cities for the Sampling System, a database used to improve highway safety.

The contract will allow the Cheektowaga company to retain 71 jobs--23 of them local--and could lead to more hiring in the future.


Buffalo Niagara's manufacturers stopped growing during August. Production and new orders both receded, according to a new report by the National Association of Purchasing Management.

The region's index of business activity at local factories fell to a reading of 50. That was down from July's 55.9 reading, which indicated modest growth.


Another restaurant chain is headed for the Buffalo market. Corner Bakery Cafe will open its first location on Transit Road in the Eastgate Plaza near Sheridan Drive in Amherst by December. A second location is slated to open in Amherst on Niagara Falls Boulevard between Maple Road and Interstate 290 by spring. Franchisee Fran DeSimone is looking for locations for another four restaurants in Western New York.

Corner Bakery Cafe is a fast casual franchise specializing in soups, salads and sandwiches with freshly-baked bread. Its concept is similar to that of Panera Bread.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

I wonder what kind of data Calspan has on things like this:



Real Estate roundup and How to start your own home-based child care center

From Business Today:


The new expanded Sunday business section made its debut this week with a profile of Moog, a growing aerospace company in Elma; a Q&A with Kimberley Minkel, executive director of the NFTA; a talk with Holt Vaughan, founder of California Road Studios, a Hollywood-level sound and video studio in Orchard Park; and a preview of the rate hikes local health insurers are asking for. 

Check out today's business section for a listing of real estate transactions in Erie and Niagara Counties.

The highest home price in Erie County was $825,000 for 86 Wildwood Lane in Orchard Park. The highest price in Niagara County was $200 million, for the Fashion Outlets of Niagara.

Listings are for the week ending Aug. 5.

From MoneySmart:


News Business Reporter Emma Sapong takes a look at what it takes to launch a home-based child care company.

The story looks at the start-up costs, training, state certification and other requirements needed to get started.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It  may be a gloomy Monday, but it's nothing a little Buddy Guy can't take care of. Especially a little Buddy Guy in a polka-dot shirt and overalls:


Website for health insurance rate information

Click here to see rate hike requests from health insurance companies across New York State:

Business investment is up locally, Hedge fund sells former Rite Aid for $2.56 million and Lockport construction company wins tax breaks

From Business Today:


There has been an uptick in business activity in the area, according to the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. The business recruitment and retention agency is claiming 14 new project "wins" for the last year. That's an increase of 55 percent over the previous year, but still lagging behind numbers posted before the recession.

For the BNE's fiscal year, ending in June, the region won $472 million in new investment. The previous year had just 9 wins, for a total of $11.8 million in new investment.


 A New York City Hedge Fund sold a former Rite Aid pharmacy in Getzville for $2.56 million. The seller, Frad Holdings LLC, is owned by Fortress Investment Group--one of the largest hedge funds in the world. The 2.43-acre parcel is at 2545 Millersport Highway, the site of the 10,908-square-foot drug store. It was sold to an entity called 2545 Getzville LLC.

Two publicly-traded private equity funds owned by Fortress manage $41.7 billion in assets.



Two Lockport companies have won tax breaks from the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency. Mulvey Construction was granted a 10-year tax abatement by the IDA for its new 14,800-square-foot building in Ulrich Business Park on Davison Road. It will start with an 80 percent tax exemption next year, which will decrease by 5 percent per year through 2021.

The company builds and furnishes fast food restaurants. The company had been recruited by Wheatfield to take a paymentin-lieu-of-taxes agreement from the Niagara County IDA.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Is it Casual Friday where you work?


Home sales and prices are up, Appliance rebate program ends and UB center gets new name

From Business Today:


Home prices in the Buffalo Niagara region broke records in July, while home sales rose by 18 percent. It's a sign that the local housing market is stabilizing--and at a positive level--now that enough time has passed since the government's housing tax credits ceased. In July, 848 homes closed, compared to 721 for the same month last year. Pending sales rose by 11 percent. The average home price in July was $147,561, up from $125,000.


A rebate program designed to get more consumers buying energy efficient appliances has ended. The Buy Green, Save Green New York State High Efficiency Appliance Rebate program ended just five days after it started. The $3 million allotted to the program ran low over the weekend. Another $500,000 was added to the pot, but by Sunday afternoon, all funds were exhausted.


The University at Buffalo Center for Industrial Effectiveness has changed its name to reflect the times. Now called UB TCIE, the center provides a bridge between local businesses and the school's engineering and business resources. Officials thought the word "industrial" sounded outdated.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


Regional Councils plan for jobs and sustainable development, UnitedHealth Group to add jobs, Group hosts Gluten-free info expo

From Business Today:


The top priorities for the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council are sustainable development and jobs.

The panel  approved an eight-point priority list Tuesday that will guide the group as it creates an economic development plan for the region and tries to secure state funding for selected projects.



UnitedHealth Group, the nation's No. 2 health insurer, said Tuesday that it will
hire another 75 employees in Tonawanda by the end of the year, bringing its total hiring
locally for the year to more than 200.


Hearthstone Manor will host Gluten Freedom Day, a food information fair about the gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease. It will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 333 Dick Road in Depew. The $5 admission is waived for those who attend for preregistered workshops. For more information, contact Cliff Hauck, president of WNY Gluten-Free Diet Support Group at 636-9855 or

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Still raining, huh?


Len-Co opening Tonawanda store, Westwood CC may have a deal, and Tops expands...

From Business Today:

Len-Co Lumber, the popular local lumber and hardware company, is opening a new store on Delaware Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda in the Premier Liquor building. Len-Co bought the property this week, on the same day Premier bought a site on Maple Road in Amherst, where it is building a new store. It seems fitting that a locally owned company would buy the building from the locally owned Premier. And for the folks in the Kenmore area, having a Len-Co nearby will be a huge benefit.

The board of the Westwood Country Club has voted to accept a purchase offer from the company that runs the restaurant in the Amherst club. Windows on the Green was selected over two other offers, but the club's 88 shareholders must now vote on the offer, and that could be a contentious vote. The Windows on the Green offer is being directed by John R. Yurtchuk, president of Matrix Development, and Jon Cohen and Todd Sugarman, co-owners of the club restaurant. Offers from Paul Snyder's Snyder Corp. and a group called Amherst Golf Partners, were not selected. All the offers pledged to keep the club open.

Tops Friendly Markets continues to grow. The company announced it is buying Furnal's Fresh Market in Hilton, near Rochester.

Who is  getting hired, promoted or honored?



Ford laying off 150, Buffalo Games is looking for product testers, Profits soar at Taylor Devices and local lawyer named NLRB chairman

From Business Today:


About 150 workers at the Ford Stamping Plant in Hamburg are facing layoffs. The furloughs will take effect Sept. 12. Some of the laid off employees are making arrangements to transfer to Ford plants in Louisville, Ky. and Chicago, while others remain here, hoping to be called back to their jobs.

The Route 5 facility made stamped metal parts for an assembly plant near St. Thomas, Ont. That plant is scheduled to close in two weeks, and the reduced workload calls for fewer employees. About 500 salaried workers will be left at the Hamburg plant.


Buffalo Games is looking for game testers. The Buffalo-based maker of puzzles and party games is launching an official Play Laboratory at its James E. Casey Drive headquarters. The purpose is to test new game concepts throughout their development and before they go to market. Game testers will be observed by designers--sometimes playing with them--and answer questions. They'll be provided pizza, drinks and snacks while they play and be given some free games to keep. To sign up, click here.


Fourth-quarter profits at Taylor Devices were up by 64 percent. The North Tonawanda company makes shock absorbers, which are in big demand to protect buildings and bridges from earthquake and high wind damage. The company's profits jumped to more than $722,000, or 23 cents per share, from $439,496, or 13 cents per share, a year ago.


A local lawyer has been named chairman of the National Labor Relations Board. Mark Gaston Pearce has served on the NLRB for the past year, but was made chairman by President Obama over the weekend. Pearce was a founding partner of the Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen and Giroux firm in Buffalo, where he worked from 1979 to 1994.



Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?


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