Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 8, 2013

Planning, zoning OKs given for Trek relocation

Staff reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Retention of Trek Inc. as Harrison Place’s anchor tenant progressed further Monday with requisite land use approvals from the city planning and zoning boards.

The planning board OK’d legal subdivision of Building 4, a 96,000 square foot standalone building on Walnut Street east of Locust Street, to separate it from the rest of the Harrison Place complex.

The zoning board of appeals granted a series of area variances, or exemptions from zoning code which prescribes minimum lot size, setbacks, allowable lot coverage by buildings and the like.

Although Building 4 is existing, with subdivision it’s like “new” and modern zoning code technically applies, R. Charles Bell, director of Greater Lockport Development Corporation, said.

Subdivision and the variances are pursued by GLDC, through 210 Walnut St. LLC, the subsidiary that owns Harrison Place. It’s all for Trek Inc., which is poised to commit to a 10-year lease for Building 4. The company, which designs and manufactures products for the electronics industry, plans to relocate from Medina before summer.

With the planning and zoning approvals in hand, the next “big thing” for Trek and GLDC is signing of the lease, according to Bell. That should happen this month, once final agreement on Trek’s rent payments is reached, he said.

GLDC is investing $3.75 million in renovation of Building 4 to make it ready for Trek. The agency is incurring a $3 million mortgage from Five Star Bank, is pursuing a second mortgage of $500,000 from the hydropower proceeds-fed Niagara County Economic Development Fund, and is putting $250,000 cash into the project, Bell said.

In response to a question from a planning board member regarding parking accommodations for Trek employees, Bell said there are 175 parking spots at or near the complex, including a parking lot on Locust Street and a small area at Washburn and Walnut streets. The number does not include a parking lot on South Street that’s also complex property.

Trek has proposed occupying the first floor and part of the second floor of Building 4 immediately, and the remainder of the second floor within two years as the business grows. Manufacturing and process operations would take place on the ground floor and administration would be on the second floor.

The proposed lease provides Trek a 5-year option to take the third floor, as well as 10-year lease renewal and building purchase options.

There’s a very good chance Trek will occupy Building 4 for at least 20 years, according to Bell.

“Both sides expect the (renewal) option will be exercised or Trek will purchase the building. We’d be shocked if one or the other does not occur,” he said.

Lockport’s proximity to the University of Buffalo, with which the business has an electrical engineering training arrangement, was a factor in Trek’s decision to relocate here, various officials have said.

It’s expected the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board of directors will approve a 20-year tax relief agreement with GLDC and Trek, covering Building 4, at its Wednesday business meeting.

Relief consists of a five-year Opportunity Zone Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement, which fully exempts the building from property taxes, followed by a 15-year Industrial PILOT agreement which gradually raises the property tax bill over time.

Both PILOTs also provide exemptions on mortgage recording tax and sales tax on construction and furnishing-related purchases.