Wisconsin firm negotiating to buy Niagara Ceramics factory - The Buffalo News
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Wisconsin firm negotiating to buy Niagara Ceramics factory

A Wisconsin development company that also handles liquidation sales is negotiating to buy the former Niagara Ceramics factory in Buffalo, city development officials said Thursday.

Under the deal now being discussed, the Wisconsin company, Niagara Worldwide LLC, would purchase the property at 75 Hayes Place, the former Buffalo China factory off the Niagara Thruway that has been vacant since Niagara Ceramics shut down in September, for $725,000, according to officials at the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency.

Representatives from Niagara Worldwide could not be reached to comment, but the company is not expected to attempt to revive the business. Niagara Worldwide is a property development company that most often acquires, manages and resells large industrial and manufacturing sites. Among the properties it currently is marketing is a 26-acre brownfield site on the shore of Lake Ontario in Oswego.

“In general terms, there is a ready, willing and able purchaser of this property,” said Scott C. Billman, the urban renewal agency’s general counsel. “They have secured the property.”

The proceeds from the sale, if it is completed, are expected to be sufficient to pay off the $142,300 water bill that Niagara Ceramics owes, agency officials said. The water bill must be paid to avoid having a lien placed on the property and forcing it into foreclosure.

The remaining proceeds would be used to repay another investor, Everyware LLC, which provided Niagara Ceramics with a $500,000 cash infusion in May that helped keep the company operating through most of the summer as it tried to work out a deal to be acquired by an unidentified buyer that would have kept the business operating. That deal, however, never materialized, and Niagara Ceramics closed in early September.

Everyware also is owed about $125,000 in fees – a figure that is growing by the day because of daily expenses, such as security and winterizing the property, said Justin Nadeau, assistant vice president of the New York Business Development Corp., which provides loan management services to the urban renewal agency.

“Their balance is increasing every day, which is essentially hurting any type of recovery possible,” Nadeau said.

The proceeds, however, are not expected to be sufficient to repay the $82,000 that remains outstanding on the $300,000 loan that Niagara Ceramics took out in 2004, agency officials said. That loan is farther behind Everyware and the water bill on Niagara Ceramic’s list of creditors.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com and jterreri@buffnews.com

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