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Clarence IDA likes accounting firm’s plan for new building

Tronconi Segarra & Associates got a favorable reception from the Clarence Industrial Development Agency to a $4.6 million office building it plans to build with McGuire Development.

The Clarence IDA held a public hearing on the project Wednesday but did not vote on awarding tax incentives, since the agency is waiting for the town government to take procedural steps related to the project.

Tronconi Segarra’s plan calls for erecting a 20,000-square-foot building at 8321 Main St., between Transit and Harris Hill roads.

Tronconi Segarra provides accounting, tax and consulting services. If the project goes forward, the firm would combine its existing Clarence and Amherst operations at the new building, while continuing to operate its Niagara Falls office. Plans call for completion of the new Clarence building next spring.

A home on the property would be demolished, and a collapsed barn would be removed.

Tronconi Segarra has about 90 employees. It plans to hire four to six people over the next two to three years, but in the long term, it aims to grow to a total of 130 to 150 people, said Jim Segarra, managing partner.

The firm is applying for $593,602 in incentives from the Clarence IDA, a combination of property, sales and mortgage recording tax exemptions. An economic analysis of the project, using computer modeling, estimates it would have a community benefit of $4.7 million in jobs, property and sales taxes, and spinoff spending.

Tronconi Segarra needs more space so it can expand quickly as it takes on more clients, said James Dentinger, president of McGuire Development.

The property has enough room to add 6,000 square feet to the building in the near future. Tronconi Segarra and McGuire Development would jointly own the building.

At the end of the hearing, Dentinger asked the Clarence IDA board for a sense of its stance on the project.

“They really can’t vote [yet]; that would be inappropriate,” said Steve Bengart, Clarence IDA co-counsel. “I think if you look around the [board] room, you’re getting some pretty positive feedback.”

The IDA could vote on the incentives at its May 16 meeting.

The agency received a letter from Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein criticizing the possible awarding of incentives to Tronconi Segarra for moving its Amherst operations to Clarence.

The firm leases space in a building owned by Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. on Main Street in Amherst; Ciminelli received a property tax abatement on that building that has nearly expired, Weinstein said.

“In this environment where local IDAs are criticized for abating entities moving from one municipality to another, this would be seem to be a ‘poster child’ for IDA reform,” Weinstein wrote.

Clarence IDA board members disputed the claim that Tronconi Segarra would receive yet another abatement, saying that the incentives at the Amherst location were awarded to the building’s owner, not Tronconi Segarra, which is a tenant.

Dentinger said Tronconi Segarra has grown its workforce significantly while at the Amherst location.

“This is their next level of growth, and they have certainly have outgrown that facility,” he said.

Segarra said the firm decided to consolidate most of its operations into one location to best serve its clients.

He said it also considered locations outside Western New York, because its business has become national in nature. “A number of our clients now have multiple locations throughout the country,” he said.

In other business, the Clarence IDA adopted a policy to not provide incentives for multifamily housing projects, unless they are part of an approved adaptive reuse project.

Apartment complexes are a prominent topic in town, with a number of projects either proposed or talked about. Clarence IDA Chairman David C. Hartzell Jr., who is also the town supervisor, said the new policy should give developers a clear understanding of what to expect before approaching the agency with requests.