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Lockport IDA makes offer to GM for land

LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency is offering General Motors $546,000 for 91 acres of vacant land adjoining the town industrial park.

The IDA board approved the offer at its meeting Thursday.

The IDA seeks the land to expand the industrial park, where only 30 of the 203 acres are still available, according to IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon.

The open land lies west of the GM Components plant and south of the industrial park.

In December 2013, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled the IDA may take the property in eminent domain, but it must pay GM for the land. GM appealed to the Court of Appeals, but the state’s highest court threw out the appeal last April.

IDA counsel Daniel E. Seaman said the price is the highest appraised value, which the agency was required to offer. The IDA decided in December to seek an appraisal.

GM has 90 days to respond once the offer is formally conveyed, Seaman said.

GM spokesman Tom Mock said the company has an internal process to go through before responding to the offer. He said he didn’t know how long that would take.

If the automaker accepts the offer, the deal is done. If not, Seaman said, the sides will have to go before a State Supreme Court justice, who will determine the price of the land and order GM to accept payment.

The IDA began the eminent domain effort in December 2012 after it was unable to agree with GM on a purchase of the land. Seaman said price wasn’t the issue.

“We never had a fixed number before,” he said.

The hangup was GM’s insistence on restrictions on the IDA’s future use or sale of the land.

“In the opinion of the IDA, it would have been impossible to market the property because of the restrictions,” Seaman said.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com