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February 15, 2014

Wave of business activity in town

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — There’s a lot of business activity expected in the Town of Lockport over the next few months. And it’s not just Yahoo and Walmart making the moves.

Yahoo is planning an expansion of its data center complex at the corner of IDA Park Drive and Junction Road in the town industrial park.

Announced last fall, the expansion was a 150,000 square-foot, $170 million project that included a customer care call center and two computer “pod” buildings.

That expansion was increased by 20,000 square feet Tuesday, when town Planning Board members approved the site plan change.

Yahoo’s new plan also increases parking to 430 spaces, up from 240, and adds 12,000 square feet to the call center. Town Building Inspector Brian Belson said Yahoo expanded its second floor of the call center.

Work started in December on the first half of the expansion, which is half of the call center and one of the pods, and should finish before the end of the year.

The new buildings will be in the northeast corner of the Yahoo property. About 100 people are employed in the original five-pod facility Yahoo opened in 2010.

Another 115 jobs are promised with the expansion. Yahoo also received an 18-year property tax reduction and a 20-year sales tax exemption on building materials and computer equipment at the new center.

David Kinyon, the town’s economic development director, shared the Yahoo news with the town Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors on Thursday.

And the town expects more changes are in store for the Yahoo center, Kinyon told board members.

About three weeks ago, Town Supervisor Marc R. Smith visited Yahoo’s temporary call center on Sheridan Drive in Amherst. The Internet giant seemed pleased with the local workforce. It may have led to Yahoo increasing their Lockport presence, Smith said.

”They’re so thrilled with the quality of the employees,” he said.

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