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The projects include new homes for FedEx and Niagara Blower in Tonawanda and revival of two historic buildings on Swan Street in downtown Buffalo


Buffalo, NY - The Erie County Industrial Development Agency today approved $2.5 million in tax abatements to aid $25.2 million in private projects which will add a total 107 jobs to the local economy.


The agency's board approved $1.9 million in property and sales tax abatements for TM Montante Development's 555 Riverwalk Parkway project which will create a state-of-the-art home for FedEx Trade Networks Transportation and Brokerage, Inc. (FTN). 


Montante plans to build an 88,000-square-foot facility for FTN at its innovative Riverview Solar Technology Park, located off River Road in the Town of Tonawanda.


FTN, a global provider of full service customs brokerage, ocean and air cargo distribution and North American transportation, will use 33,000-square-feet of the building for office space, plus 55,000-square-feet as warehouse.


Montante Development will pursue Silver LEED certification for the structure and incorporate solar power generation that will offset the equivalent of 1 million kWh of fossil fuels over the life of FTN's lease.


Empire State Development Corporation has also approved the project for inclusion in its Excelsior Jobs Program which will provide jobs, investment, research and development and property tax credits.


When completed in early 2014, FTN will move 168 employees from two locations in Tonawanda to the new site and add 82 new jobs. FedEx currently has a total of 600 workers in the Buffalo area.


The board also approved $591,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax abatements for Schneider Design Architects, PC for its $13.6 million adaptive reuse project at 145 and 149 Swan St. in downtown Buffalo.


Schneider, which has completed two conversions of vacant historic buildings into residential and commercial space, plans to renovate the mostly empty five-story, 50,000-square-foot structure at 149 Swan St., as well as the neighboring 30,000-square-foot, four story building at 145 Swan St.


145 Swan St. was built in 1908 for Witkop & Holmes grocers, while 149 Swan St. was built in 1896 for the Sibley & Holmwood Candy Company.


Dubbed 'Apartments at the HUB', the project will feature 50 upscale apartments, which will occupy 96 percent of the redone space.


The project will also make room for the WNY Bicycle Center, which will include a bike retailer and bike storage for tenants and downtown cycle commuters, a café, fitness center and office space.


A roof-top patio garden and highly-landscaped, green space areas are also in the plans.


The mixed-use project, set to debut in 2014, will create five jobs.


Niagara Blower, founded in Buffalo in 1904, gained approval for $61,250 in sales tax abatements, to create a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and headquarters at 91 Sawyer St., in Tonawanda.


The company, which paid $2 million for the vacant 100,000-square foot manufacturing and office facility, plans to invest over $1 million on renovations and equipment for what will become new world headquarters for Niagara Blower and  Kathabar Dehumidification Systems, one of its subsidiary companies.


The Tonawanda plant will house 75 percent of the manufacturing operations and 40 percent of its office staff.  The fast-growing company, which has grown from 55 to 110 employees in the past three years, plans to hire another 20 workers through the expansion.


It will continue to operate from its current facilities on Ontario Street in Buffalo and Cheektowaga.


The ECIDA board also approved formation of a selection committee to hire a new CEO/COO for the agency, as well as its sister agencies, the Industrial Land Development Corporation and the Regional Development Corporation.


Al Culliton, the current ECIDA chief, plans to retire by the end of the year.


The selection committee will include:  Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz; Hon. John LaFalce, ECIDA Chairman; Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz, Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana and Brenda McDuffie, President and CEO, Buffalo Urban League. A "client" representative will also be appointed.


The selection committee will work with a yet-to-be-hired executive search firm to screen candidates to be Mr. Culliton's successor.