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HAMBURG IDA OKS SALES TAX BREAK

The Town of Hamburg Industrial Development Agency Tuesday approved a sales tax exemption for International Steel Group on $4.55 million worth of improvements to its Hamburg facility.

The agency had previously approved a three-year exemption on a $2.25 million project, but at the company's request increased the amount and lengthened the term from three years to four.

The work will include paving, roof repairs and repairs to overhead cranes and help the company remain competitive both in the industry and within the ISG group, Carl Pfeiffer, comptroller, told the board.

The company employs about 250 and is looking to "add a few people," Pfeiffer said.

ISG was recently purchased by Mittal Steel and Pfeiffer said he knows of no plans to close the Hamburg facility.

"I don't think they're merging in order to shrink (the size of the company)," he said.

On another matter, the board decided to grant a partial exemption for a proposed new spa in the Village of Hamburg after questions arose about whether the agency should be granting tax breaks to a new business when there is an existing similar business.

Bella Day Spa plans to open in a former funeral home at 84 Lake St. and is seeking a sales tax exemption on $430,000 worth of improvements to the building and $239,000 for equipment.

The board voted unanimously to grant the exemption on the building but table the equipment request.

Meanwhile, the developers of a proposed $7.5 million sports complex said Tuesday the project continues to move forward and they are working to sell the naming rights.

The 90,000-square-foot structure on Commerce Place will contain indoor and outdoor golf driving ranges, a facility for soccer or softball or other uses and clubhouse with golf shop, restaurant/bar and banquet room, according to Jeffrey Walker, vice president of New York Sports & Entertainment, LLC.

A September 2005 opening is planned.

The statement is in response to skepticism expressed by HIDA officials that the project, which originally was scheduled to be open by now, would become a reality.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com