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Graphics Controls to expand Buffalo operations

The acquisition and relocation of a Vermont company has prompted Graphic Controls to seek a major expansion of its Exchange Street operations to accommodate its growth.

The Buffalo-based maker of recording equipment, charts and ink wants to add a 30,000-square-foot building at 400 Exchange St. to provide it with more warehouse and distribution space. That's needed as the company adds new machinery and other equipment – as well as jobs – from Vermed Inc. of Vermont.

The application to the Buffalo Planning Board comes a year after the company announced it would spend more than $7.1 million to relocate Vermed from Bellows Falls, Vt., to Buffalo to consolidate operations, beating out possible alternative Graphic Controls sites in Idaho and the Dominican Republic. The capital spending included $995,000 to reconfigure and build out the space for the new equipment.

In exchange for the investment and creation of 43 new jobs over three years, the state agreed to provide $500,000 in "performance-based" Excelsior Jobs tax credits, as well as 1.1 megawatts of low-cost hydropower and ReCharge NY benefits from the New York Power Authority.

The proposed new addition would be a high-bay "post-and-beam steel structure with insulated metal panel walls" that would be built on the north side of the existing 240,000-square-foot facility, in a 1.4-acre area that was long intended for future expansion, according to the company's application to the city. The company's total property is 10.45 acres.

Part of the single-story building would have a lower roof "to accommodate newly introduced snow drift loads," according to a letter in the application from Douglas M. Scheid, principal of Scheid Architectural, which is working with Graphic Controls.

The project includes five shipping and receiving docks, with 9,900 square feet of asphalt paving for parking and 3,500 square feet of exterior concrete to provide truck access to the docks. Exterior lighting and a stormwater retention system and pond are also proposed for the site, which is adjacent to the 500 Seneca mixed-use redevelopment project.

The $4.5 million project by Lehigh Construction Group Inc. of Orchard Park is expected to take about 12 months and will create 45 jobs, according to the application.

Graphic Controls President and CEO Sam Heleba would not comment Wednesday.

Founded in 1957 as a successor to six separate entities and now under its seventh owner, Graphic Controls makes recording equipment, ink jet fluids, medical charts and other products, point-of-sale register paper, PVC cards and security products, and gaming and entertainment tickets for use in casinos and theme parks.

Formerly owned by Tyco International, it was sold to a local management group and Strategic Investments & Holdings Inc. in 2004 and later to Westview Capital Partners II LP in 2010, before it was acquired by Kyoto, Japan-based Nissha Printing Co. Ltd. in September 2016.

It acquired Vermed, which makes medical devices, electrodes, electrotherapy devices, topical skin adhesives and similar products in February 2015.

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