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A $1.4 million pharmaceutical research company to be built in Wheatfield was granted $275,000 in tax breaks Thursday by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

United Biochemicals, currently doing business as Farmis Inc., plans to construct a 20,000-square-foot production and research facility in Vantage Pointe International, the industrial park at Lockport and Walmore roads owned by the county agency.

The new plant will create 20 jobs, said Larry D. Witul, IDA assistant director.

The estimated benefits to the local economy -- more than $1 million over 15 years -- far outweigh what the company will save in tax breaks, he said.

The county development agency also gave sales tax exemptions over 15 years to International Fiber Corp., a North Tonawanda company planning a $256,000 renovation.

Tax breaks amounting to $614,125 were given the final green light to Peak Investments of Lenexa, Kansas, which intends to buy the Occidental Chemical building that shut down last year, laying off more than 300 workers.

Peak will buy the building and machinery for $31.7 million and initially hire 65 workers and technicians to make phosphorous-based chemicals used in lubricating oils and grease additives, said Scott Randolph, Peak's chief financial officer.

Final approval for $685,000 in tax breaks over 10 years was given to Lockport Lodging Group to build a $3.9 million Holiday Inn Express on Ruhlman Road near Transit Road.

The 66-room hotel survived protests from operators of Lockport's three existing hotels who said the tax breaks would give the new hotel an unfair advantage and take away their customers.

But Lockport Lodging President Pravin Patel said his hotel will be a better quality and charge more for rooms than the other three and therefore would not be competing for the same clientele.

The IDA also gave final approval for sales tax exemptions totaling $180,000 over 15 years to Fairview Fittings & Manufacturing, an auto parts assembler that plans to build a $1.8 million plant in the new Woodlands Corporate Park, a business park in Wheatfield being developed by Calamar Enterprises.

Fairview, which employs 300 at a plant in Toronto, has outgrown its Tonawanda facilities and chose the new business park at Niagara Falls Boulevard and Shawnee Road for its expansion.

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