BY JOE OLENICK
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Scott P. Kiedrowski, the clerk and treasurer for the city of North Tonawanda, was elected chairman by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board of directors at its annual reorganizational meeting Wednesday.
The officers, as well as committee chairs and members, will be voted on at the April 17 board of directors meeting. Kiedrowski succeeds Henry Sloma, who resigned in January.
“I am honored to have the confidence and support of my fellow board members and look forward to serving our community in our collective effort to bring new jobs and investment to the region as well as provide assistance to companies already here in Niagara County,” Kiedrowski said in a statement.
It’s expected that the officers will remain the same, including Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker as vice chairman. Wednesday’s meeting also saw a couple of Lockport projects receive tax breaks.
Businesses expanding is another sign of growth for Lockport, Tucker said.
“These are projects we’ve worked on for so long, it’s good to see them coming together,” he said.
Also Wednesday, the board approved four tax breaks for projects in Niagara Falls and Lockport. The IDA said the projects would retain 17 full-time jobs and 47 part-time jobs, while creating approximately 50 new full-time jobs and about 20 seasonal and part-time jobs. The projects also will generate more than $10 million in capital investment.
“We are certainly hitting the ground running with the projects we approved and the applications we accepted today,” Kiedrowski said.
Geise Properties, LLC was granted a five-year Opportunity Zone and sales tax exemptions to renovate space within the historic Old City Hall property at 2 Pine St., which will be leased to the Flight of Five Winery as well as other food and tourism retail operations. The renovations to Old City Hall are estimated to cost $200,000 with an estimated annual positive community benefit of $1.145 million, according to figures provided by the county IDA.
Flight of Five will be operated by Jackie R. Connelly, formerly of Niagara Landing Wine Cellars in Cambria. The winery is expected to open this spring.
Hydraulic Race Co. received a five-year Opportunity Zone PILOT and sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions for the construction of a new ticket office and visitor center at 5 Gooding St. Hydraulic Race Co. operates the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride.
The total project cost is $104,300 with an IDA-estimated annual positive community benefit of $172,100.
Hotelier B.F. Patel, as Indian Ocean LLC, received approval for a 10-year commercial PILOT and sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions. Patel plans to invest $6.65 million to renovate and convert the former Moore Business Forms plant at 900 Buffalo Ave. in Niagara Falls into a Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
When completed the new hotel would create 24 new jobs and 9 part-time jobs with a total annual payroll of approximately $700,000. The estimated annual positive community benefit of the project is $3.37 million, according to IDA figures.
Also in Niagara Falls, Maid of the Mist Hospitality is seeking to invest $4 million to refurbish the Comfort Inn The Pointe located at One Prospect Pointe. The upgrades must be done in order to keep the Comfort Inn franchise, the IDA said. Maid of the Mist received a 10-year commercial PILOT sales tax and mortgage recording tax exemptions. The total annual estimated positive benefit to the community is approximately $3.9 million, according to the IDA figures.
The board also accepted three applications for assistance Wednesday and will decide on them next month. Those projects include:
• Diversified Manufacturing, 410 Ohio St., is seeking a 15-year PILOT, sales tax exemptions and mortgage recording tax abatement. The company is seeking to move and consolidate its Amherst operations to Lockport by building a 47,000 square-foot addition, including 37,000 square-feet manufacturing space and 10,000 square-feet of office space. The proposed expansion will bring 46 full-time jobs and 13 part-time positions to Lockport. The total project cost is $4.8 million with estimated annual community benefit of almost $11 million, the IDA said.
• Lake Effect Ice Cream is requesting a five-year Opportunity Zone PILOT and sales tax exemptions. The ice cream manufacturer has outgrown its current location at 20 Lock St., which serves as both an ice cream stand as well as production facility. In order to meet growing demand, the business wants to acquire, renovate and expand a building at 79 and 81 Canal St. The Lake Effect Ice Cream project is estimated to cost $211,000, creating 15 part-time jobs and providing an estimated annual community benefit of $293,000, according to the county IDA.
• KI-PO Automotive leases a dealership facility at 2534 Youngstown-Lockport Road in Ransomville and is considering acquiring the property. In addition to purchasing the property, KI-PO would build a 4,300 square-foot addition to the property to meet new standards to remain a GM Chevrolet dealer. The expansion project is estimated to cost $1.54 million and will create five full-time jobs and three part-time positions, while retaining 23 full time and 1 part-time position. KI-PO Automotive is requesting a 15-year PILOT, sales tax exemptions and mortgage recording tax abatement. The project is estimated to have an annual positive community benefit of $1.06 million, the IDA said.