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Ingram Micro eyes adding 250 jobs in Amherst

Ingram Micro is looking at adding about 250 jobs to its Amherst operations, as its landlord tries to obtain approval from the town to expand a parking lot at the Wehrle Drive property.

Lisa Zwick, an Ingram Micro spokeswoman, could not specify how soon the new jobs might be added. “These are growth projections we hope to see happen in the long term,” she said.

Ingram Micro, a California-based wholesale technology distributor, has about 1,500 jobs locally in sales and service positions.

The company has a shortage of parking spaces for its employees and has been leasing about 350 spaces off-site, providing shuttle service for its workers, said Jonathan M. Brahmer, assistant vice president of asset management for the landlord, Winthrop Realty Trust in Boston, Mass. But the company has indicated that arrangement was “not a long-term viable solution for them.”

Winthrop Realty wants to expand an existing parking lot by about 425 spaces and is acquiring four adjacent parcels of land where the lot would be extended.

Ingram Micro is negotiating a lease renewal at 1759 Wehrle and has made securing more parking spaces a condition of the renewal, Brahmer said. The lease expires in October.

As Ingram Micro grows, it plans to use space in an adjacent building along Youngs Road now occupied by Cognigen on a sublease; Cognigen would move out to make way for the additional Ingram Micro employees.

The plan to extend the parking lot westward, closer to Rubino Court, was discussed Monday at a Town Board public hearing. Several residents spoke against the plan, saying it would decrease their home values.

Council Member Barbara Nuchereno also pushed Ingram to look into other options besides expanding the parking lot.

“I can’t imagine a company as big as Ingram that has done well in the town and in Western New York would move because of a few hundred parking spaces,” she said.

“This town got into a lot of trouble in the 1970s and 1980s with all the green space being paved over for parking lots. I hate to see blacktop just because it’s a little less expensive.”

A parking ramp would be exorbitantly expensive to build, and the cost would ultimately price Winthrop’s property out of the market to retain Ingram Micro, said David L. Schiller, director of sales and associate broker with Pyramid Brokerage Co., who is working with Winthrop.

A 140-foot-wide buffer area with a berm and trees would maintain green space and would be maintained between the edge of the expanded parking lot and the homeowners’ yards.

“This is a sensitive, elegant, engineered solution that is designed by the landlord to accommodate its tenant’s requirement for the renewal and make sure the residents are not impacted adversely,” Schiller said.

Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein and Council Member Mark A. Manna spoke at the meeting in favor of allowing the zoning change.

“If we were to lose Ingram Micro over a couple hundred spaces of parking, I think we would be a laughingstock,” Manna said. “We all love green space, but unfortunately the residents there have to pay for the sins of previous boards who didn’t demand a parking garage 15 years ago.”

The Town Board is expected to vote July 22 on whether to rezone the property to allow the parking lot to be extended.

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