Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

August 29, 2013

Yahoo! to present its expansion plans

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

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Yahoo! will present its plans for expanding its Lockport campus to the town planning board next month.

The presentation will include a complete and updated site plan, which the planning board must approve before construction can start.

The board meets Sept. 10 for a work session and Sept. 17 for its regular meeting. A presentation will take place during the Sept. 10 meeting. The board’s vote could take place afterward or on Sept. 17.

Announced in the spring, the second Yahoo! project in the town was originally a $170 million investment offering 115 new jobs. The expansion was pegged at 320,000 square feet, including a larger parking lot and a utility substation.

Updated dimensions and job numbers weren’t available Wednesday, but the expansion will consist of a new data center and customer care center, Town of Lockport Economic Development Director David R. Kinyon said.

”There’s going to be some enhancements,” he said.

The planning board has tabled the Yahoo! project for months because there was no site plan to review.

This past 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.

Yahoo! will have a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for construction and equipment costs, as well as 100 percent abatement of property tax for 10 years. The exemption would be reduced by 20 percent every two years. It’s estimated the deal will save Yahoo! over $30 million total.

The company is also receiving $2 million worth of state tax credits and a seven-year renewable deal with the New York Power Authority for half-price hydropower. In March, the New York Power Authority Board of Directors approved an allocation of 7,200 kilowatts of low-cost power.

The incentive package offered by state, federal and town authorities was “very generous and helped ensure our expansion in Lockport,” a Yahoo! official said in an April statement. “In return for these generous incentives, Yahoo! has committed to giving back to the local community. ... We are proud to contribute to the local economy in such a positive way through this job creation.”

Going back to April, town officials noted the company’s apparent desire to make Lockport an important part of the California-based company’s operation. Kinyon said Yahoo!’s interest in expanding is beneficial to the area.

“Yahoo!’s commitment is very solid,” Kinyon said. “We look forward to a strong presence from one of the top Internet companies.”

In June, the IDA board voted to to sell Yahoo! about 20 more acres in the industrial park.

The deal, for $15,000 per acre, means Yahoo! now owns 63 acres of property in the park, near Upper Mountain and Junction roads. It’s believed the land will be used for a third as-yet unspecified Yahoo! project.

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