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Local group pays $800,000 for Central Park Plaza

A group of local real estate investors bought the Central Park Plaza in Buffalo for $800,000 Thursday, with unspecified plans to revitalize the property after city and state officials forced the absentee former owner to sell it.

Strickler Development Group LLC purchased the land at 129 Holden St., off East Amherst Street, from Central Park Plaza Associates and New York City investor Samuel Kurz. The purchase price was a far cry from the $2 million that Kurz was seeking on the property he had owned since 1994.

The principals of Strickler could not be determined Thursday afternoon, but Common Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith said real estate construction management and general contracting firm LPCiminelli was part of the group.

LPCiminelli officials could not be reached to comment, and attorney Guy Agostinelli, who represents Strickler, did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

The new owners' plans for the property were uncertain, and Smith said Ciminelli still has to clean up and test the one-time mining property before having a better sense of what can be done. Strickler already submitted a Brownfield Cleanup Program plan to the state Department of Environmental Conservation late last year for "low levels of contaminants" in the soil. A media announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. today.


Fox suing Dish Network

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Broadcaster Fox is suing Dish Network over a service that offers commercial-free TV.

Dish has been advertising a digital video recorder service called "Primetime Anytime" that gives consumers access to the last eight days of prime-time programming from the four major broadcast networks with the commercials stripped out.

In a suit filed Thursday in a Los Angeles federal court, Fox, a unit of News Corp., says Dish's service is unauthorized and violates a licensing agreement between the two companies.

It argues that if a court doesn't stop it, the service will destroy the economic foundation of shows that are supported by advertising revenue.


38 Studios lays off staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's faltering Rhode Island video game company has laid off its entire staff.

An email sent by the 38 Studios company to workers and obtained by the Associated Press says they were notified of the "nonvoluntary and nondisciplinary" layoffs Thursday.

38 Studios moved from Massachusetts in 2010 after Rhode Island offered a $75 million loan guarantee officials said would bring jobs and tax revenue. The company was late this month on a $1.1 million payment to the state economic development agency.


Lockheed to hire temps

FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Lockheed Martin turned up the pressure on striking Machinists union members Thursday, announcing it would begin hiring temporary replacement workers to fill aircraft production jobs.

A handful of workers were being brought in from a temporary employment service, and a few dozen more would be added next week, Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout said.

The action by Lockheed to begin augmenting its production workforce comes as the strike by about 3,600 members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers is in its fifth week.

-- Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Schoellkopf pact ratified

Health care workers at Schoellkopf Health Center have ratified a new labor agreement.

The contract calls for a 4 percent wage increase over two years and increased employer contributions to the employee pension and continuing education funds, effective immediately through April 2014.

The agreement covers 113 licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, unit clerks and laundry aides who are members of the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union.