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Rebar maker seeks tax break to expand in Lackawanna

A minority-owned fabricator and installer of rebar used in major local construction projects is seeking to expand its Lackawanna facility, and it wants help from Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

Iroquois Bar Corp. applied to ECIDA for more than $61,000 in property, sales and mortgage recording tax breaks for its $920,000 expansion project. It plans to build a 13,600-square-foot addition to its existing facility at 155 Commerce Drive. The project would retain 10 jobs and create two new full-time positions, at an average $60,000 salary.

The increased space would be used as added fabrication, warehouse and maintenance areas, while the existing shop space would be renovated to convert a portion of it into office space for five people, while the rest allows more room for fabrication and manufacturing. The company, which employs 65 full-time workers, also plans to purchase more equipment.

Founded in 1999 and owned by Thomas D. Saia, Iroquois Bar originally focused on producing and installing rebar on construction projects. Rebar, short for reinforcing bar or reinforcing steel, is a steel bar or a mesh of steel wires used in reinforced concrete and masonry to strengthen and hold the concrete or masonry in place and support a structure or weight.

However, the company has added products and services over the last 18 years, and now also has a general construction division that performs select demolition, concrete placement, and interior carpentry, including drywall and millwork. It now owns and operates 40 heavy trucks – consisting of 20 concrete mixers, 17 dump trucks and three tractors – and participates with local trade unions in various fields.

Most of its work has been on publicly funded projects, such as the SolarCity manufacturing plant at Riverbend, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, but it’s also worked on private jobs such as Ciminelli Real Estate Corp.’s Conventus and the Buffalo Sabres’ HarborCenter.

The expansion is needed, the company said in its filing, because it’s running out of office space and its warehouse space has become inefficient. It’s added six full-time employees and invested in new equipment in the past three years, and benefited from the boom in construction. But after putting off the expansion for years because of the cost, officials opted to proceed. Without ECIDA help, though, the firm said it can’t afford to continue its growth and also build the addition because it has to conserve capital for payroll and cash flow.

A public hearing was held in Lackawanna on Sept. 27. The public comment period extends through Oct. 25, and the project may come to the ECIDA board at its Oct. 26 meeting. Iroquois hopes to start work by November and finish by May 15, 2017.


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