LOCKPORT – A Yahoo executive told the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency on Thursday that construction on its second Lockport project is about half done.
The buildings under construction since December are expected to be ready in early 2015, site director Paul T. Bonaro said.
The project going on now comprises one and a half of the three buildings authorized for the 13-acre site northeast of the original data center. The company is constructing one data pod and half of its two-story administrative office and call center building.
The other half of that building will be stuffed with computer equipment for Yahoo’s Internet operations, as will a second complete data pod. They are to follow sometime after completion of the current work. The three buildings, when completed, will total 271,000 square feet.
IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon also said that Yahoo, which already owns 63 acres in the town industrial park, is interested in purchasing 18 more acres, north of its current complex. However, no deal has yet been completed.
Bonaro said Yahoo has 115 call center employees already at work in temporary quarters in Uniland Development Co.’s Sheridan Meadows Corporate Park on Sheridan Drive in Amherst. “They’ve all been working for six months. Most of them are local hires,” Bonaro said.
Kinyon said all employees had to have at least a bachelor’s degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.2 out of 4.
Bonaro said the work “is more about the customer service than about the technical problems they’re going to encounter.” But he said several of the call center workers already have been transferred to jobs at the Lockport data center.
“We’ve had people from the data center move on to headquarters in Sunnyvale (Calif.),” Bonaro said. “It shows there’s a career path.”
The placement of structural steel for the data pod began in March. It’s complete, and the building is being enclosed, Bonaro reported. Steel is now going in for the “core operations building,” as the administrative and call center is called.
A new electric substation also is being built to serve the new pods, and Bonaro said equipment deliveries began last month. The substation is to be energized in August and the electrical system is to receive its first full test in November, he said.
Meanwhile, the IDA board decided to go ahead with drainage improvements affecting 16 acres of vacant land in the northeast corner of the industrial park. Kinyon said the work is needed to comply with updated regulations from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon recommended a $45,000 plan to stack another foot of fill onto the banks of an existing detention pond, enabling it to hold more water. The pond measures about 200 by 800 feet, and its depth ranges from 5 feet at the northern end to 7 feet at the southern end.
The board authorized paying Wendel, Klavoon’s engineering firm, $10,600 to design the new banks for the pond. That money is part of the estimated $45,000 tab. Klavoon said that it is far cheaper than excavating fill and rock out of the bottom of the pond, which he estimated would cost up to $680,000.
Kinyon said that passing on the cost of more expensive improvements to potential lot buyers would drive the industrial park’s land costs above competitive levels. The IDA’s standard charge is $25,000 per acre for lots in the park.
The IDA board also gave Gooding Co. a one-year extension of time to take advantage of a tax break it received last year for an addition to its Davison Road printing plant. Kinyon said the company isn’t sure if the project will be done this year, leading him to suggest the extension.