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Robinson Home Products moving into old Buffalo China plant <br> ECIDA also OKs tax breaks for eight other projects

Robinson Home Products is moving to the old Buffalo China plant on Bailey Avenue after the Erie County Industrial Development Agency approved $241,500 in tax breaks for the Cheektowaga manufacturer.

The maker of kitchen utensils and food preparation tools had been considering a move to Virginia, which would have put it closer to the Port of Norfolk and reduced shipping costs on goods imported from the Far East, IDA officials said.

The $6 million project, which will increase the company's warehouse space by 100,000 square feet, also will allow Robinson Knife, through its Advantage Housewares real estate holding company, to assume the remaining 10 years on the property tax breaks that came with the original Buffalo China facility.

Robinson Knife will share the building with Niagara Ceramics, which took over part of Buffalo China's operations here, IDA officials said.

IDA officials said Robinson Knife decided to move after it had been unable to find a suitable facility in Cheektowaga. The Buffalo facility is located in an Empire Zone.

Cheektowaga Supervisor Dennis Gabryszak said communities, such as Cheektowaga, which do not have any Empire Zones, are at a competitive disadvantage.

"This is probably the third or fourth example of Cheektowaga being dinged by an Empire Zone because we cannot compete with the benefits of an Empire Zone," he said. "We're not generating a lot of business from bringing new companies into the area. We're just moving businesses around."

The IDA also approved incentives for several other projects:

Goya Foods was granted $1.5 million in sales, property and mortgage tax breaks so it can build a 67,000-square-foot can manufacturing plant on 3.2 acres on Hardpan Road and South Main Street in Angola. The $6 million project is expected to create 15 additional jobs at Goya, which now employs 73 people.

Mayer Brothers Apple Products was awarded nearly $850,000 in sales, property and mortgage tax savings for a $2.9 million project to build a 41,250-square-foot addition to its West Seneca plant. The expansion, which will allow the company to make its own plastic bottles for some of its water products, is expected to increase Mayer Brothers' work force to 143 within two years from the current 135.

Garden Gate Manor Partnership received $632,300 in sales, property and mortgage tax savings for a project to add 24 additional beds to the 160-bed long-term care facility, which is affiliated with the McGuire Group. The $3.3 million project is expected to result in the creation of six new jobs, increasing employment to 177 within two years.

Pol-Tek Industries, a special parts manufacturer at 2300 Clinton St. in Cheektowaga, was granted $147,300 in sales, property and mortgage tax savings for a project to build a 9,750-square-foot addition that will almost double the size of its existing facility. The $500,000 project is expected to allow the company to add three jobs over the next two years, increasing employment to 21.

The IDA also authorized $2.8 million in tax-exempt financing for expansion projects by four local non-profit groups: $1.4 million for Gilda's Club Western New York in Buffalo; $1.1 million for EPIC -- Every Person Influences Children in Buffalo; $160,250 for Compass House in Buffalo; and $124,100 for the Boys and Girls Club of Elma-Marilla-Wales.

The tax-exempt financing, which will be used primarily to refinance mortgages, will save the groups about $750,000 in interest expenses, compared with conventional bank financing for a 20-year mortgage, IDA officials said.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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