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AMHERST IDA OKS THREE PROJECTS THAT WILL ADD 118 JOBS

Ingenix, a rapidly growing health management software company, plans to add 40 jobs in Amherst.

The company's expansion plan was one of several small projects approved by the Amherst Industrial Development Agency Friday adding jobs in the local information technology sector.

Ingenix is expanding on NorthPointe Parkway to service health maintenance organizations and other clients using its Web-based data storage and analysis products.

The Salt Lake City-based company has grown its revenue from $46 million in 1997 to $375 million last year. Ingenix has a five-year software contract with the New York State Department of Health.

The state agency uses Ingenix software to store data and generate management reports about the health care costs and services provided to 3 million Medicaid recipients.

Ingenix has offices in 12 U.S. cities. The Amherst office was originally InfoMiners, a start-up software company founded in the late 1990s by the former head of information technology at Independent Health.

The company, financed by Rand Capital and other local investors, grew to about 25 employees before being acquired by Ingenix last year.

Ingenix is relocating the local office from 5,200-square-feet at 25 NorthPointe Parkway to 12,000-square-feet in 85 NorthPointe Parkway and plans to employ 68 people within 2 years.

Since all the office buildings in Zaepfel Development Company's NorthPointe Business Park were financed with AIDA bonds, the new lease needed formal board approval. No new tax abatements or incentives were granted for the company's relocation.

The board gave similar lease approvals for Cricket Communications to occupy 6,740-square-feet in an office building owned by Ciminelli Development Co. at 6390 Main St. and 17,505-square-feet of warehousing space in a building owned by Uniland Development Co. at 385 CrossPoint Parkway.

Cricket, owned by San Diego-based Leap Wireless, is putting up cellular towers throughout Western New York to provide a local phone network. The company offers unlimited local cell phone use, and incoming long distance calls, for one monthly fee.

Cricket operates in about 20 markets, primarily in the west and southeast and is moving into the Buffalo market. The company will employ 25 people at the two locations. Several Buffalo job openings, including a general manager position, are currently listed on Cricket's Web site.

The board also approved expanding a previous $2 million bond financing resolution for developer John Yurtchuk to $3.3 million for construction of a 23,800-square-foot building at 297 Spindrift Drive. The building was initially designed as 14,000-square-feet.

PC Industrial Design, a computer-aided drafting company, will be the primary tenant. The company has 32 employees and projects adding 28 jobs. Pulmonary Group of WNY will also occupy a small amount of space in the building.

The vacant land currently generates about $9,000 in combined annual taxes, the developed property will make more than $40,000 in annual county, town and school taxes before proceeding to fully assessed value.

The board also authorized Executive Director James J. Allen to explore acquiring a 1.6 acre parcel at the corner of Main Street and Getzville Road from Genrich Builders.

The AIDA would knock down a 100-year-old, vacant, multi-family residential building to construct a new headquarters. The agency's lease in Uniland Development Company's Audubon Office Park expires in mid-2002.

Allen said the property is in the redevelopment zone, which offers extra incentives for redeveloping older property instead of paving green space, designated by the board earlier this year. The AIDA would be "putting its money where its mouth is" by moving into the redevelopment zone in Snyder, he said.

Several issues must be worked out, including whether or not the existing building has historic value, and a decision could be made within 90 days.

e-mail: cbridger@buffnews.com

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