The Erie County Industrial Development Agency's new push to encourage the redevelopment of long-vacant buildings gained some momentum Monday.
The agency approved tax incentives for a pair of projects -- one to revive a closed car dealership in Kenmore and the other to turn the former National Casket Co. building in Buffalo into apartments -- under the IDA's two-month-old adaptive reuse policy.
Iskalo Development was granted $281,000 in tax breaks to convert the former Kane Doyle Jeep dealership in Kenmore into a three-building complex of stores and offices.
Real estate developer Kissling Interests also received $109,000 in tax breaks for a $2 million project to turn the National Casket Co. building on Virginia street into 10 "high tech work/love business incubator lofts" aimed at start-up or early stage entrepreneurs. The building has been vacant for more than six years.
"We're really looking at sites that are underutilized and abandoned," said John C. Cappellino, the agency's director of business development and marketing.
Iskalo's $8.6 million project calls for the demolition of two of the three buildings on the Kane Doyle site, at 2780 and 2802 Delaware Ave. The building at 2766 Delaware Ave. will be renovated as part of the mixed-use project.
In place of the demolished buildings, Iskalo plans to build a two-story structure with retail space on the first floor and offices on the second, along with a single-story building for office, service or retail tenants.
The IDA in December approved its "adaptive reuse" policy, which allows the agency to offer incentives to rehabilitate buildings that have been empty for at least three years and that are at least 20 years old. Supporters of the policy believe it will spur interest in reviving long-vacant and neglected buildings.
The IDA also approved up to $450,000 in sales, property and mortgage tax breaks for Flexo Transparent, a Buffalo plastic packaging bag manufacturer that is acquiring three buildings next to its Wasson Street factory that will serve as the firm's warehouse.
Flexo is acquiring three buildings from 1070 Seneca St. to 1146 Seneca St. so it can move its warehousing close to its factory, a move that is expected to reduce transportation and handling costs.
The company, which has 98 employees, said it expects to add seven workers over the next two years.
The IDA also approved $164,000 in sales tax breaks on equipment purchases related to the planned expansion of the FedEx Ground Packaging System package handling and distribution at 1289 Walden Ave.
The sales tax breaks are in addition to the $781,000 in incentives the agency approved last month on the physical expansion of the site, which includes a nearly 22,000-square-foot addition that will increase the size of the facility by about a third.
The expansion is expected to create 30 part-time jobs over the next two years.