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Tax breaks approved for new offices in Amherst

The Amherst Industrial Development Agency approved more than $326,000 in tax breaks Friday for a $3 million office building that McGuire Development Co. plans to build on the site of the former Newman Center on Main Street.

McGuire plans to start construction next month on a 15,000-square-foot office building, located on 1.5 acres at 6325 Main St., between the new YMCA and Erie Community College's Amherst campus.

Accounting firm Szymkowiak & Associates, which is currently in offices at 333 International Drive in Amherst, plans to move into the new building, occupying just under half of its space, said James Dentinger, McGuire's president. The other half of the building has not been leased yet.

"It's a nice little project," Dentinger said. "We're excited about it."

IDA officials noted that the project, even with the tax breaks, will result in a big increase in the tax revenue generated by the site, which had been tax-exempt when it was owned by the Diocese of Buffalo.

The parcel, which generated just $547 in tax revenue when it was owned by the diocese, is expected to yield nearly $158,000 in tax revenue during the seven years covered by the tax abatement.

"It takes a site that was tax exempt and, even with the abatement, puts it back on the tax rolls," said James J. Allen, the agency's executive director.

Szymkowiak, which gets about 70 percent of its business from international clients, had considered relocating most or all of its operations to Mississippi, where one of its major clients has available space, IDA officials said.

The accounting firm, which has 18 full-time and two part-time employees, is expected to add three full-time jobs and one part-time job, the agency said.

McGuire expects to begin work on the new building in May, with construction expected to be completed by December, Dentinger said.

McGuire bought the property in 2010. Last year, it paid to dismantle a barn on the property that dates to the 1800s and move it to the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village in Amherst, which previously was known as the Amherst Museum.

The IDA also increased the value of developer Carl Paladino's project to turn the Stereo Advantage property on Main Street into a hotel. The project, which the IDA previously granted more than $1.9 million in tax breaks, now is valued at $28 million, up from $22.7 million.

The increased price tag is mainly because it now is expected to include a Wyndham Garden hotel, rather than the Aloft Hotel, a Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand, that was included in the original plan.