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Amherst IDA OKs tax breaks for project Building will house banking operation

The Amherst Industrial Development Agency approved $2.7 million in tax breaks Friday for Uniland Development Co. to construct a new building in the CrossPoint Business Park that is expected to house Citibank's corporate banking operations center.

The tax breaks will help Uniland build a 90,500-square-foot office building in 540 CrossPoint Parkway as part of a project valued at $14.9 million that is expected to create or retain a total of 362 jobs.

While Uniland is only saying that the building will house multiple tenants, James J. Allen, the IDA's executive director, said the project could be modified later for use by a single tenant. Allen declined to identify the tenant, but other sources have said it is Citibank.

Citibank has been seeking a bigger facility for its back-office operations that now are located in a 70,000-square-foot building on Ridge Lea Road. The facility handles transaction services for corporate customers, such as cash management trade finance, securities services and fund administration.

Because Uniland applied for the tax breaks as a multitenant project, it is eligible only for a 10-year tax abatement package. But if the project is later revised to a single tenant, the tax breaks could extend for 15 years.

IDA documents said the project could "potentially create a substantial number of new job opportunities." Without the tax breaks, the building's rents "would not be competitive with other markets outside the area, thereby influencing a business to relocate," the documents said.

Citibank's lease at its current facility on Ridge Lea Road expires next year.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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