Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

March 22, 2013

Yahoo! calling

Internet giant will build new data center and call center, bringing in 115 jobs


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “It’s very promising,” Southwick said. “It says something about the area.”

At Thursday’s meeting the IDA board of directors formally accepted Yahoo’s application for financial incentives. Yahoo is seeking a 20-year Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes for construction and equipment, as well as a 100 percent abatement of property taxes for the first 10 years of the deal. Then the exemption would be reduced by 20 percent every two years.

Yahoo would also receive a sales tax abatement on construction costs and for the replacement of computer and network equipment. Bonaro said the majority of the cost — roughly $100 million — was in equipment alone.

The Town of Lockport does not have a town property tax, meaning the municipalities most affected would be Niagara County and the Starpoint Central School District.

Tax incentives can help, but they should be used in moderation, Southwick advised. You don’t want to hurt municipalities or already existing businesses.

“You have to be careful about that,” he said.

The town IDA will hold a public hearing on the tax breaks, at 9 a.m. April 25 in the town hall on Dysinger Road. Additional details about the construction and call center are expected then, although it’s unknown at this point if the IDA board will vote that day on the incentives or not.

Also Thursday, the New York Power Authority Board of Directors approved an allocation of 7,200 kilowatts of low-cost power. A similar allotment of 15 megawatts, with similar tax incentives, is partially what drew Yahoo to Lockport originally.

BY THE NUMBERS • WHAT'S COMING: Yahoo wants to build a new data center and customer service call center, totaling 150,000 square feet • WHERE: The data center will go on the 13-acre site Yahoo bought from the Town of Lockport last fall, it's unknown where the call center will go, but it will be in the IDA Park for sure, according to officials • IMPACT: Yahoo will invest $168 million and would bring 15 new jobs with the data center and 100 additional jobs with the call center • INCENTIVE: Yahoo has submitted an application for IDA incentives that consist of a 20-year tax abatement, with the first 10 years being 100 percent property and sales tax exemption, followed by a 20 percent reduction of the exemption every two years

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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