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Agreement near with Yahoo on land

The Town of Lockport is nearing agreement with Yahoo on the sale of more land in the town's industrial park.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Monday that Yahoo plans to buy 14 acres adjacent to its massive data center, which opened in September 2010.

"This would be for nothing imminent to be constructed. They just wanted to reserve some land for possible expansion at some point," Smith said.

David R. Kinyon, the town's economic development director, said he wouldn't comment on the negotiations with the Internet giant until the deal was done.

That may not be long.

"We're getting very close on the contract," Smith said.

Kinyon said a sale would require approval only from the board of the town's Industrial Development Agency, not the Town Board.

Land in the industrial park, which has entrances from Upper Mountain and Junction roads, is listed for sale at $25,000 an acre.

However, that price is negotiable. When Yahoo bought property for its current data center in 2009, it paid $15,000 an acre for 30 acres.

In exchange for that $450,000 payment, the town IDA granted Yahoo an 18-year property tax exemption, which included a provision completely exempting Yahoo from property taxes for the first 10 years.

The $180 million project included an administration center and five 33,000-square-foot data pods, which were constructed in two phases.

In 2009, Yahoo also received 15 megawatts of reduced-price electricity from the New York Power Authority, enough to power 15,000 average-sized homes. One additional megawatt for the since-completed second phase of the project was approved last year.

The value of the tax breaks and utility savings topped $250 million, making Yahoo the most heavily subsidized business in the region's history.