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Five projects to receive stimulus funding

The Buffalo News [ View Original Article ]

By Jay Rey

Five local projects - including a steel processing plant and a boutique hotel - have been chosen to share a $28 million pot of tax-free financing made available through the federal government's economic stimulus program.

The five businesses that will receive the so-called "Recovery Zone Bonds" will be announced today.

They are:

Galvstar LLC. The start-up company wants to renovate a portion of the abandoned American Axle & Manufacturing plant on East Delavan Avenue to open a steel galvanizing and processing facility.

Galvstar, which has strong support from Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y., will receive $8 million, the largest portion of the local pot.

Developer Marc D. Croce. Croce is being awarded $6 million in tax-exempt financing to convert the long-vacant Curtiss Building at Franklin and West Huron streets into a boutique hotel.

Seneca Exchange Larkin Partners. Five million dollars will be allocated for its renovation and redevelopment of 635 Seneca St. It will be a mixed-use project.

Multisorb Technologies. The company will receive $5 million to expand and renovate its facilities in West Seneca and Cheektowaga. Multisorb makes packets that protect products, such as electronics and food, from being damaged by moisture or exposure to oxygen, among other things.

Iskalo Development. Four million dollars in tax-free financing will be awarded to the developer to tear down the former Kane-Doyle dealership at 2780 Delaware Ave. in Kenmore and replace it with a 20,000-square-foot building with retail space on the first floor and offices on the second.

The names of the businesses were released to The Buffalo News. A formal announcement is scheduled to be made today by County Executive Chris Collins and Mayor Byron W. Brown.

"Private sector investment is critical to growth and prosperity of this community," Collins said in a prepared statement. "This tax-exempt bond financing will be key to moving these five projects forward, and I am confident they will have a direct economic impact."

"We learned firsthand the plans each of these development projects have for creating jobs locally and how they expect to grow and expand through the investment of these federal bonds," Brown added.

The low-interest loans were made available in June 2009 through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help communities stimulate the economy by making money available for development.

The five projects were recommended by a committee of city and county officials from a pool of 11, based on the projected return on investment to the community.

The county is responsible for handing out $17.1 million in funding, while the city's share is $7.2 million.

The Town of Amherst also received about $4 million in Recovery Zone bonds, but Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein has committed to using those funds for the five selected projects.

Weinstein said he had the Amherst Industrial Development Agency call developers in town to determine if they wanted to apply for the financing.

"We found no interest in Amherst," Weinstein said. "Based upon that, I volunteered to give the bonds to Erie County, as opposed to giving them back to New York State."

The exact amounts for each project will need approval from the Buffalo Common Council and the Amherst Town Board.