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Countertop manufacturer seeks tax break to expand in West Seneca

A West Seneca company that makes and installs countertops is asking the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for help with a $2.74 million expansion project.

Shell Fab has applied for sales, mortgage recording and property tax breaks for its plan to construct a 55,040-square-foot facility that would include space for manufacturing and processing, warehouse, office and retail purposes.

The new facility, which would be located on vacant land at 3254 Clinton St., would double the company’s current square footage, enabling it to relocate and sharply expand production to keep up with demand.

Shell Fab measures, manufactures and puts in laminate, solid, quartz and granite countertops for both residential and commercial projects. About 70 percent of its sales are in Erie County, while just over half of its supplies, raw materials and vendor services come from within the county.

Founded in 1988, the company previously moved in 2001 from 2,500 square feet to its current site at 2855 Clinton, which at the time had a 10,000-square-foot building, and later put on a 13,000-square-foot addition in 2006. But since then, sales have tripled, while its staff has increased by 425 percent.

The company said it now has “no ability to accommodate the increase in orders” and stay competitive. But the move would allow it to install $400,000 of new manufacturing equipment – including a sawjet, crane and a water treatment system – and add 10 employees to its 45-person workforce, at an average salary of $45,000.

Construction alone will cost $2.05 million, plus the $185,000 cost of acquiring the land. Shell Fab is seeeking $22,000 in mortgage tax breaks and $82,469 in sales tax breaks.

The company acknowledged in its application that it does engage in retail sales, although 82 percent of the project costs are for manufacturing and warehouse.

“In the event that we are unable to obtain this financial assistance, Shell Fab will be placed in a stagnant situation,” the company said. It cautioned of more difficulty in obtaining bank financing, but also said it has a $2.2 million mortgage commitment from First Niagara Financial Group.

If approved, the project would begin Sept. 15 and finish by January. Its current site is being marketed for sale by RealtyUSA.

A public hearing will be held July 26, at 9 a.m. at the West Seneca Town Hall, at 1250 Union Road. The public comment period ends Aug. 23 at 4 p.m.

email: jepstein@buffnews.com

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