Port terminal deal hits delay - The Buffalo News

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Port terminal deal hits delay

The Toronto-area outdoor furniture manufacturer seeking to purchase the port terminal complex on Buffalo’s outer harbor has delayed closing the deal with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and requested a 30-day extension of its due diligence period.

The sheer size of the property and complexity of the transaction have prompted Gracious Living Co. of Woodbridge, Ont., to seek more time to complete its physical inspection of the cavernous buildings that formerly served as main facilities for the Port of Buffalo, according to NFTA spokesman C. Douglas Hartmayer.

Hartmayer said the intervention of the holidays and recent cold weather delayed the original 120-day period Gracious Living was granted to complete its investigation of about 700,000 square feet of projected manufacturing space occupying an almost 50-acre parcel.

“We thought the request was more than reasonable,” Hartmayer said of the 30-day extension.

Gracious Living Vice President David Minor described the venture as “a big move for us” and added that more attention to detail is now required than what was first anticipated.

“We’re still working on our due diligence, but as a private company, we’re not going to say what our due diligence is,” he said, adding the company aims to be “very diligent” in conducting its research on the property.

With considerable fanfare, New York State and NFTA officials announced last September the $4.7 million sale of the complex. When completed, the sale will mark the first time in modern history that a major portion of outer harbor land will be privately owned.

Gracious Living makes outdoor furniture, indoor and outdoor organizing products, garage utility systems and pet accessories that company officials said are often sold in big-box stores.

It now looks to establish its first U.S. location as well as access to the huge U.S. market, and originally said it expected to be operating by late 2014.

The company also has taken advantage of economic incentives offered by the state, which helped tip the expansion decision toward Buffalo. The Empire State Development Corp. offered $2 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for the company’s job creation commitments.

The state’s help was appreciated and important, Minor said in September.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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