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Is Amazon bringing 500 jobs to Western New York?

Lancaster town officials said Monday they still can't confirm a published report that Amazon.com will be taking over a Walden Avenue warehouse, but they're thrilled by the possibility.

"If it is, in fact, it's very exciting," said Town Supervisor Johanna Coleman. "I'm ecstatic. It's great for Lancaster and great for our Western New York region."

But, she said, she couldn't confirm or refute the report as of Monday.

"I only know what I'm hearing around town," she said. "I have a feeling that very soon there will be more information coming forth."

Buffalo Business First reported Friday that the Seattle-based Internet retail giant would be occupying a vacant warehouse at 4201 Walden for a new regional distribution center that would serve the immediate Buffalo region as well as other parts of upstate and the Southern Tier. The facility is expected to open later this year, the story reported, with up to 500 jobs.

"I don't have that information," said Coleman on Monday evening, before the Lancaster Town Board's meeting. "Let me tell you what I do know. Roughly two months ago I had a meeting with two representatives from Benderson, and they had indicated that they were working on a lease agreement with a very high-profile tenant, a nationally known name. They were not allowed to share who it was."

The 525,000-square-foot warehouse, located on 32.26 acres, had previously been occupied by Dutch supermarket company Ahold USA. The building is owned by Benderson Development Co., which has been marketing it for lease since December.

In January 2016, Ahold announced it was moving operations to other parts of the country, said Coleman.

"They vacated the building in September," Coleman said.

With Tops Markets no longer a client of Ahold, Coleman said, the company decided to move elsewhere.

Built in 1993, the facility has 71 bays and loading docks, plus 80 truck parking spaces and 370 car parking spaces, and ceiling heights of up to 33 feet.

The Town Board approved at its meeting Monday evening a building permit application from Benderson for interior demolition and renovations at the facility.

Business First also reported that preliminary talks were held with the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency, which holds title to the property under a previous tax break arrangement. But LIDA consultant Paul Leone said he doesn't know of any such discussions.

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