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Harrison Place to begin paying back Lockport development loans

LOCKPORT - A decade after the City of Lockport took over Harrison Place, the multitenant facility is doing well enough to begin repaying loans it received from the city’s development agency.

The Greater Lockport Development Corp. on Thursday called $200,000 on the loans, which totaled $887,000, according to Brian M. Smith, city planning and development director. That means that 210 Walnut LLC, the city-controlled entity that owns the former Harrison Radiator plant at Walnut and Washburn streets, must pay that amount – and it can finally afford to do so.

This is the first payment ever made on the money lent to turn the 461,000-square-foot, four-building complex into a home for small businesses.

The city took charge in 2006, after a former owner defaulted on a loan worth more than $1 million.

Building manager B. Thomas Mancuso of Mancuso Business Development Group said Harrison Place now contains about 48 businesses, with the largest being Trek Inc., an electronic instrument manufacturer with more than 100 employees. But most of the tenants are small businesses with only a few workers. Total employment at the complex is 230, Mancuso said.

The development corporation board Thursday also approved spending nearly $160,000 on improvements to the property.

“Harrison Place is effectively out of rentable space right now,” Smith said. But inside Building 2, which hosts the most tenants, the second and third floors are largely vacant, and $100,000 of the improvement money will be spent on subdividing those areas into rentable space.

“We don’t have people coming in looking for 25,000 square feet,” Smith said. “We have people looking for 1,500 square feet.” Putting up some walls to provide smaller spaces will help 210 Walnut accommodate that market, Smith said.

Allan W. Jack, a board member of the development corporation, was pleased to see the loan repayment. “I think it’s important that we extract money whenever we can,” he said.

GLDC Chairwoman Joan G. Aul said the money being spent on projects, which also includes repaving the parking lot and installing a new security gate in an alley between buildings, “doesn’t get into things that are ‘nice’ to have. We didn’t talk about wi-fi for the building or painting the tower. This is work that will bring in revenue.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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