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Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board Approves $1.6 Million in Sales Tax Reductions to Aid $814 million in Upgrades at General Motors Tonawanda Powertrain Plant

April 12, 2010 - Buffalo, NY - The Erie County Industrial Development Agency will provide General Motors with sales tax abatements totaling $1.68 million dollars to assist with retro-fitting the Tonawanda Powertrain plant for production of new 2.2- and 2.5 liter engines.

The plant upgrade, which would see GM install $400 million worth of new production equipment, also positions the local facility to compete for manufacture of the company's new eco-friendly V-6 and V-8 engines, which if successful would result in an additional $390 million investment at the plant Changes at the plant, located at 2995-2999 River Road in Tonawanda, are expected to result in 530 new jobs with an annual payroll exceeding $34 million.

The ECIDA also agreed to extend an existing Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) arrangement for Building 1 at the River Road site, as an incentive, if the automaker commits to bringing the new V-6 and V-8 engine work to the Tonawanda plant.

"The ECIDA has a long history of working with GM to retain and add jobs and continue Erie County's deep ties to the auto manufacturing sector," said ECIDA Chairman Phil Ackerman.  "At a time when the American auto industry has seen more retraction than expansion, we're extremely pleased to be a partner for growth."

The ECIDA board also approved $218,000 in sales and mortgage recording tax abatements for the adaptive reuse on the former Baker Shoe building at 456 Main St., in downtown Buffalo.  The 4858 Group L.P., a group controlled by Buffalo developer Carl Paladino, plans to investment $4.3 million to turn the long-vacant, 80-year-old structure into a mix of residential and commercial space.

The ECIDA also approved $189,000 in incentives for Chef's Restaurant to proceed with plans for expansion at 289-91 Seneca St.  The popular Buffalo eatery will increase seating and cooking space, while also adding a take-out window.

The 87-year-old, family-owned restaurant will see $1.9 million in new investment.

The Regional Development Corporation, the ECIDA's loan division, also approved $68,000 in aid for three local companies.  Recipients include: 

Kinex Pharmacueticals LLC, of Buffalo, $40,000; JST Construction, of South Wales, $20,000; and Heavenly Photography, of the Town of Tonawanda, $8,000.

The ECIDA board also conducted its annual meeting, re-electing Chairman Ackerman, Vice Chairman Phil Corwin, along with all other board officers and committee chairs.