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Buffalo News: Expansion is planned in West Seneca

 Friday June 26, 2015

The Buffalo News.com


Expansion is planned in West Seneca by Upstate Pharmacy

ECIDA tax breaks sought for West Seneca project



BY: Stephen T. Watson   Published: June 22, 2015, 02:52 PMUpdated: June 22, 2015, 06:34 PM

Upstate Pharmacy, a leading distributor of pharmaceutical drugs, is planning to expand its West Seneca base of operations and add 10 jobs over two years.


The developer, Concept Construction Corp., is seeking sales tax and property tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to build a $1.7 million, 15,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and pharmacy on a vacant, 21/2-acre site on North America Drive, according to ECIDA documents. 


Upstate Pharmacy now operates out of a 10,000-square-foot building on North America Drive, where it employs 70 pharmacists and technicians.


The company was founded in 1998 and provides pharmacy services to 230 residential group homes in 10 counties in the Buffalo and Rochester areas, according to the ECIDA filing.


In addition, Upstate Pharmacy is the region's largest provider of specialty cancer medication, serving 1,100 patients referred by Roswell Park Cancer Institute and their physicians.


Its existing building is not a retail, walk-in pharmacy. Instead, it is staffed round-the-clock, 365 days a year, with pharmacists and technicians filling prescriptions for delivery by drivers.


Upstate Pharmacy is anticipating a growth in its business serving patients who need medications and pharmaceutical supplies delivered to their homes.


The company, which is running out of room in its current location, said it considered moving to new sites in Hamburg, Elma or Batavia but would prefer to stay in West Seneca, according to the application. Concept Construction said in the ECIDA filing that the tax breaks are needed to make the project financially viable and ensure Upstate Pharmacy's future in Western New York.


The project would maintain the 70 existing jobs, which have an average salary of $59,000, and create 10 jobs.


The application estimates the project is eligible for $65,625 in sales tax. The building owner would save an estimated $170,000 in town, county and school property taxes over the course of the seven-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, or PILOT, said Karen M. Fiala, manager of tax incentives for the ECIDA. The project also would generate an estimated $47,000 over that time in new property taxes on what is now vacant land, Fiala said.


In addition to the $1.7 million in construction and land acquisition costs, Upstate Pharmacy also would spend $440,000 on new equipment. Construction would begin as soon as next month and finish in January.


Concept Construction formed a development holding company, Shevlin Land and Cattle Co., for the project. B. Michael Shevlin, Concept's CEO, declined to comment on the project Monday, and Upstate Pharmacy officials did not respond to messages seeking comment.


A public hearing on the request for tax breaks is set for 9 a.m. Thursday in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road, West Seneca.


email: swatson@buffnews.com

Stephen T. Watson