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Niacet still undecided on Niagara Falls expansion

A top Niacet Corp. executive said Wednesday that the company has yet to decide whether it will expand its production facilities in Niagara Falls or place them in a southern state.

"We're hoping to make that decision pretty soon," CEO Kelly A. Brannen said.

He said the cost calculations on the respective sites should be complete during the first quarter of 2019.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, which last December granted the company a 15-year tax break if the expansion occurs in the Falls, voted Wednesday in favor of a six-month extension of Niacet's deadline to accept the offer. The previous deadline would have expired next month.

"Niacet is still reviewing the options of expanding here in Niagara County," NCIDA counsel Mark J. Gabriele told the agency's board of directors.

A Niacet executive told the NCIDA last year that the company was planning a $40 million expansion – in Niagara Falls, Alabama or Louisiana – that would have doubled its production capacity for the food additive calcium propionate, which inhibits mold and bacteria in bread and baked goods.

"The technology we were originally planning to employ didn't pan out," Brannen said.

A different, cheaper chemical process is now being analyzed, he added.

"We wanted to give them that time to think about it," NCIDA Executive Director Susan C. Langdon said. "We're hopeful."

The expansion as originally presented would create 14 jobs at the Niagara Falls plant.

"If they're considering expanding here, we don't want to be an impediment," IDA Chairman Stephen F. Brady said.

Niacet is controlled by SK Capital, a New York City investment firm, which acquired a 75 percent stake in the company in early 2017. Brannen, whose family bought the 47th Street plant from Union Carbide Corp. in 1978, owns the other 25 percent.

Extensions of deadlines to close on incentive packages are common at the NCIDA, Gabriele said.

The board approved another six-month extension Wednesday, that one for Bobcat of Buffalo, which last year was approved for a 10-year tax break on a planned new site for its heavy equipment dealership.

The business is planning to move from the Town of Lockport side of South Transit Road to the Pendleton side, building a new dealership as an addition to a closed former golf pro shop.

Gabriele said he expects Bobcat to close on the deal in the next two months.

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