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ECIDA backs more aid for Astronics project

Astronics Corp. moved closer to realizing millions in additional tax savings for its East Aurora expansion after the Erie County Industrial Development Agency declared the $7.5 million addition to be a regionally significant project.

The designation, which still must be approved by Empire State Development, would give Astronics 10-year abatements on property and sales taxes, in addition to tax credits based on the company's investment and new job creation.

The Erie County IDA approved the designation on Monday after adopting an agreement that spells out how the regionally significant project benefits program would be administered among local municipalities and school districts.

The agreement between the IDA and the City of Buffalo gives the city a state payment for allowing use of its Empire Zone rights in another community. The city will use those proceeds to fund other economic development initiatives in Buffalo, said Mayor Byron Brown.

Astronics spent $7.5 million to build a 57,000-square-foot addition to its East Aurora facility to accommodate growth in the company's aircraft lighting systems business. The addition, which was completed earlier this year, is expected to add about 100 jobs to Astronics' work force, boosting it to 380 within three years.

The agency also approved $10 million in commercial revitalization deductions under the federal Renewal Communities program for UniQuest Delaware, a joint venture between Acquest Development and Uniland Development to renovate the Dulski Federal Building into a hotel, offices and condominiums.

The deduction allows a business to deduct half of its qualified revitalization spending in a single year or all of its qualified expenses over a 10-year period.

WNY Medical Arts Center was granted $1.7 million in commercial revitalization deductions for the 30,000-square-foot medical specialty complex it is building in downtown Buffalo, while 567 Exchange St. LLC received $300,000 in deductions for its project converting a 60,000-square-foot warehouse into an artist community.

The IDA also approved $6 million in tax-exempt bond financing for AIDS Community Services of WNY to finance the acquisition of the Roanoke Arms building at 206 S. Elmwood Ave, near Chippewa Street, the renovation of that space, and the construction of a 23,000-square-foot addition.

Another non-profit group, Aspire of Western New York, will raise $3 million in tax-exempt funding through the IDA to finance the renovation of a former school building at 7 Community Drive in Cheektowaga.


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