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Lakeside Commerce Park to host Phillips & Burns office building

The recycled industrial "brownfield" on the Lake Erie shoreline isn't just for industry anymore.

The Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park will host its first office building, development officials announced Wednesday.

A 3.5-acre patch of the reclaimed industrial land at the Union Ship Canal site will be the home of debt collector Phillips & Burns LLC, the commerce park's first purely office-space occupant.

"It's a significant milestone for us, getting Phillips & Burns to move there," said David Stebbins, president of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. The agency's board has approved the sale of the land for $147,000.

The company, now located in downtown Buffalo, plans a $4 million, 30,000-square-foot office, with construction starting sometime next spring.

"They're making that canal into a park -- I think there will be several companies that will follow suit," said Sean Welch, one of three partners in the collection firm.

The commerce park plans a 20-acre greenspace around the Union Ship Canal, an amenity that will make the area attractive for office workers, Welch said.

Phillips & Burns plans to move from its current leased office on Ellicott Street to the new building in the spring of 2009, he said. The company expects to add about 100 jobs to its current 47 over three years.

The South Buffalo commmerce park opened in 2005 and attracted industrial tenants such as CertainTeed, maker of vinyl railings, and Cobey Inc., which manufactures equipment for the oil and power industries. A pending project on 54 acres plans two 300,000-square-foot warehouses for Sonwil Distribution.

About 70 acres remain to be developed, and will become available over the next year, Stebbins said.

Occupants are eligible for state Empire Zone benefits, which include breaks on taxes and utilities. They are also in line for state brownfield redevelopment tax credits.

"We want to be part of the revitalization of Buffalo," Welch said. The four-year-old collection business works on behalf of banks, credit cards and other creditors nationally. Its owners are partners Welch, Ryan Kazmark and Brad Spoor.


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