Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 18, 2013

Yahoo expansion approved unanimously

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Yahoo’s expansion in the Town of Lockport has gotten the OK to move forward.

Town Planning Board members voted unanimously to approve the Internet giant’s site plan Tuesday. The vote took place after Niagara County Planning Board members approved the plan Monday and Tuesday’s public hearing did not draw one speaker.

Paul Bonaro, data center facilities director for Yahoo, told the board last week the second Yahoo project will be built in two parts. Both will adjoin the current Yahoo data center complex at the corner of IDA Park Drive and Junction Road in the town industrial park.

Part one will include a computer “pod” building and half of the central core operations building. Construction is expected to start in December — assuming the project is approved by town and county planning boards — and is expected to take about 12 months, Bonaro said. A general contractor is expected to be chosen by Yahoo by the end of the month.

The central core operations building will house the 24-hour customer care call center. Part two of the expansion will include the second half of the operations building and a second computer pod, to be constructed at a future date, Bonaro said.

Construction on the first phase of the project will include all the utilities and emergency generators needed for both halves, he added. The total size of both projects is to be 242,000 square feet, with 165,000 square feet for the first part. All three buildings will be in the north east corner of the Yahoo property.

Town Attorney Michael J. Norris said some blasting may need to be done to excavate the bedrock on the property. But officials said blasting was possible during the construction of the current Yahoo buildings and it wasn’t needed after all.

In April, the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors approved a 20-year package of property tax and sales tax breaks for the company. The deal would cover both parts of the expansion, town officials said.

Yahoo will have a 20-year sales tax abatement for building materials and equipment, as well as 100 percent abatement of property tax for 10 years. The property tax exemption would then be reduced by 20 percent every two years for the next eight. It’s estimated the deal will save Yahoo more than $30 million total.

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