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Amherst IDA approves tax breaks for pharmaceutical distributor

A Cheektowaga pharmaceutical distributor plans to move from Cheektowaga to a bigger facility in Amherst with the help of more than $600,000 in tax breaks from the Amherst Industrial Development Agency.

Buffalo Pharmacy's institutional division plans to create an additional 15 to 20 jobs within the next two years after doubling the size of its current facility by moving into 12,000-square-feet of space at 20 Lawrence Bell Drive.

The company, which currently has 46 employees, repackages and distributes pharmaceuticals to institutional clients, such as hospitals and nursing homes.

Company officials told the IDA that it has outgrown its current 6,000-square-foot office and could not expand at that location. The business could not be competitive moving to a different leased property that it did not control, company officials said.

Buffalo Pharmacy will occupy slightly more than half of the 22,000-square-foot building, IDA officials said Tuesday.

The company will pay $701,281 to local school districts and governments during the 10-year life of the tax breaks, an increase of $658,503 from the tax revenues that would be generated by the vacant parcel during that time.

The agency also approved $35,000 in sales tax breaks for the purchase of new furniture, fixtures and equipment under a remodeling project at the University Inn and Conference Center at 2402 N. Forest Road.

The hotel, which opened 14 years ago, is becoming a Ramada franchise in an effort to become more competitive against other franchised lodging facilities in the Amherst area.

Although the project qualifies for incentives under the common eligibility policy followed by the county's IDAs, the aid must be approved by Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan because it is considered to be a retail project, said James J. Allen, the agency's executive director.

The agency also expanded the scope of tax breaks available to the $18.5 million global payments data center that Citicorp plans to build in the CrossPoint Business Park. Citicorp has increased the size of its building to 107,327 square feet, up from the original plan of 90,672 square feet, and increased the estimated cost of the project by $3.6 million, IDA officials said.

The project, which is expected to create 100 jobs at the 430-employee operation, now qualifies for $4.8 million in property, sales and mortgage tax savings.

The project is expected to generate $3.6 million in revenue for local school districts and governments during the 15-year life of the tax breaks. That would be $3.47 million more than the $125,145 that the currently vacant parcel would generate in taxes during that 15-year period, IDA officials said.

"We're getting an immediate return of 20 or 30 times what we would have" by offering the incentives, said Edward Stachura, the IDA's chairman.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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