NORTH TONAWANDA – Ivy Lea Construction will move its new headquarters to North Tonawanda and also bring 42 employees to North Tonawanda from its Town of Tonawanda site. They also plan to add 10 to 15 more employees over the next 18 months.
Ivy Lea is a full-service home improvement company which also does roofing and siding.
The company plans to build 10,000 square feet of office and showroom space as well as 20,000 of warehouse space after recently being given approval by the North Tonawanda Common Council to purchase 5.1 acres of city-owned property on Walck Road near the corner of Erie Avenue.
Ivy Lea Construction President Michael Washington called the site ideal because of its proximity to the Thruway. He said the business is outgrowing its site on Northwood Drive in the Town of Tonawanda, where Ivy Lea has been for 30 years. He told the council he projects sales of $5.2 million for 2015.
“I know I could hire another 10 people today, but I just don’t have the room,” Washington told the council when he first proposed the idea.
The new headquarters will be located on 5.1 acres of property on an unused portion of Department of Public Works which is located at 758 Erie Avenue.
Washington called it a great location.
“It’s a busy corner and there’s lots of visibility,” Washington said of the site.
The city-owned site once was used as a ball field, but has been unused for approximately 20 years.
Michael Zimmerman, director of community development, who has been working with Washington on the purchase, called the purchase “consistent with the commercial and industrial nature of the area.”
Youth and Recreation Director Patricia Brosius also gave it a thumbs up, confirming that the department no longer use the site on Walck Road for recreation.
The deal was brokered after negotiations with the North Tonawanda Common Council, who ultimately gave the green light to Ivy Lea Construction to buy the parcel of city-owned property on Walck Road for $80,000.
Common Council President Phillip “Russ” Rizzo said the proposal to bring the headquarters to the city was “great,” but said the first offer on the table of $50,000 was too low. It has been assessed at $178,000, but everyone agreed the sale will be an opportunity for the city.
“We invited them back,” said Rizzo of negotiations.
“We told them we were glad about what they were going to do and how they were going to handle that property, but we weren’t happy with the $50,000.”
“We all figured that $50,000 was too low and we came back with $90,000. When they offered $80,000 we felt that was a good offer,” said Rizzo on Feb. 10. The Common Council formally agreed to the deal on Feb. 17.
“We have been working with NYSERDA [New York State Energy Research and Development Authority] and want to make this a really green-friendly site and already have been meeting with our solar people,” said Washington. “The location is perfect there because we need a lot of southern exposure.”
Washington told the council he expects the cost to build the new headquarters will be about $700,000 to $850,000.