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An Elma contracting company that has been involved in many brownfield projects plans to turn a long-vacant industrial site in South Buffalo into a recycling center for construction and demolition debris.

Battaglia Demolition & Trucking is launching an $830,000 project that includes cleaning up a seven-acre site in the 1000 block of Seneca Street at Peabody Street and building a 10,000-square-foot recycling facility. The center will process wood, cardboard, metal and masonry products from construction and demolition projects throughout the area.

The facility is expected to create five new jobs, according to President Peter J. Battaglia. He said the building will be on land that once housed a storage and processing facility for truck parts. In an earlier era, the site was used as a flour mill and a lumber mill, according to Battaglia. The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The project won the support of the Erie County Industrial Development agency Wednesday, as the board approved a $130,300 incentive package, including a $91,000 property tax abatement over 15 years.

Erie County Legislator Michael A. Fitzpatrick, an ECIDA board member, raised questions about giving incentives to a company that is competing with many other local contractors that perform similar services.

But ECIDA staffers acknowledged that there are other local contractors that perform similar services, they cited benefits from the project, including a reduction in the amount of debris that will have to be landfilled.

Paul Leone, the ECIDA's director of business development, said the project will also make productive use of a community "eyesore," a parcel that has been vacant for about a decade.

"It's a former junkyard, and the neighbors are very happy about this project. The neighborhood will certainly be improved," Leone said, noting that tires, truck parts and other debris filled the site prior to a two-month cleanup that was recently completed.

Battaglia said there are no environmental issues that must be addressed at the site.

"There's a lot of vacant land in Buffalo, and this site is attractive to a suburban business like ours," said Battaglia. "Being right next to the Thruway, it has good access. It also has the proper zoning."

In other action, the ECIDA approved a $543,900 incentive package for an expansion of the Sonwil Distribution Center on North America Drive in West Seneca. The proposed project involves a 70,000-square-foot expansion to accommodate the relocation of Visteon Climate Control Systems Ltd., a manufacturer and distributor of automotive parts.

Visteon, Ford's former parts-making division, employs about 150 workers at a plant in Cheektowaga. ECIDA officials said operations will be consolidated at the Sonwil Distribution Center in a move to maximize production and distribution efficiencies. Agency officials said the project is expected to create 50 new jobs and generate about $234,000 in additional revenues to local taxing jurisdictions.

ECIDA officials claimed that without the incentives, Visteon could have considered out-of-state locations for the expansion. Under the payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement approved Wednesday, the project developer will save $434,500 in taxes over 15 years, in addition to saving $82,000 in sales taxes and $27,400 in mortgage recording taxes.

Erie County's main development agency also agreed to provide tax breaks to a Batavia company that plans to build a new headquarters at the New Buffalo Industrial Park on Thielman Drive near S. Ogden Street.

Skyworks is a one-year-old company that wholesales, leases and repairs aerial work platforms, cranes and other equipment. About 60 percent of its sales volume is generated outside Erie County, according to agency staffers. According to an application filed by the company, the project will create 13 new jobs.

The ECIDA board approved $199,000 property tax abatement for Skyworks and about $38,000 in other tax incentives.

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