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Trucking firm eyes Vantage Pointe site

A Canadian trucking company plans to buy 15 acres in the industrial park controlled by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, a deal which could bring the county $75,000 in revenue and $33,000 in savings.

The IDA board voted Thursday to negotiate the deal with TBN Transport of Mississauga, Ont., for a site in Vantage International Pointe, on Lockport Road near Walmore Road.

The 120-acre site, formerly known as Inducon Industrial Park, was turned over to the IDA by the County Legislature in 1999 after the county foreclosed on it because of unpaid property taxes.

However, the county was charged special assessments the Town of Wheatfield to pay off infrastructure in the park. The county has been paying those since 1992, when Inducon's owners stopped paying.

Before the foreclosure, those taxes cost the county $2.65 million. Since the foreclosure, the county's tab has been about $2 million, although exact figures weren't available Friday. The cost in 2005 was $686 a day, or $250,390.

IDA Assistant Director Larry D. Witul said the agency will give the entire $75,000 purchase price to the county, and reducing the county-owned land by 15 acres will lower the special assessments by $33,000.

The 15 acres will go onto the tax rolls, although TBN is expected to apply for IDA assistance in constructing a 40,000-square-foot warehousing and distribution facility for goods imported from Canada. That means the building, estimated to cost $300,000, won't be fully taxable.

Witul said the sale brings the total amount of land sold by the IDA in Vantage International Pointe to 56 acres, or almost half the park.

He said many of the deals have occurred since the County Legislature voted in 2003 to scrap the terms of a 1999 contract with the IDA, which required the IDA to charge $15,000 an acre for land in the southern half of the park, and $18,500 an acre for land in the northern half.

"It was modified to help expedite the process," Witul said. TBN is paying $5,000 an acre for land in the southwest corner of the park.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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