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Amherst IDA approves tax breaks for speculative commercial building

The Amherst Industrial Development Agency on Friday approved its first tax breaks in years for the development of a warehouse and manufacturing building that currently doesn’t have any tenants lined up.

The agency approved $419,000 in tax breaks for developer Allan B. Steinberg to build a 68,450-square-foot high-bay building for office, warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing companies at 445 Creekside Drive in the Audubon Industrial Park.

Local IDAs generally have shied away from providing tax breaks for so-called “spec” projects out of concern that they could depress the market and lead to a glut of space. But IDA officials backed the $2.9 million Creekside project, saying that warehouse, light manufacturing and distribution space is in short supply in both Amherst and the Buffalo Niagara region.

IDA officials said the vacancy rate for warehouse space in the Northtowns is 3.8 percent, while industral space has a 4.1 percent vacancy rate. They said the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise business development and marketing group has fielded 15 inquiries during the past year from businesses seeking high-bay space.