Buffalo transportation firm seeks tax breaks for expansion in West Seneca

Buffalo transportation firm seeks tax breaks for expansion in West Seneca

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43 Hamburg-Buffalo

Raine Logistics is relocating from leased space in Buffalo to a facility it plans to build in West Seneca. (Google)

A Buffalo-based transportation and warehouse company that specializes in hauling dry freight from Western New York to other states is planning to move to West Seneca in a new facility that is more than twice the size of its current location.

And it is asking the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks.

Raine Logistics wants to construct a 14,380-square-foot trucking terminal and warehouse building on eight acres of vacant land at 2890 North America Drive in West Seneca.

It bought that property in late November for $304,000 from West Seneca Joint Venture, owned by Paul Nanula's Nanco Enterprises, and then acquired additional land from Nanula in mid-May for $172,500.

The land is currently an open field, with some trees and bushes, and wetlands on the western edge. Plans call for Kulback's Construction and its contractors to clear the site and erect the building, which will be used for cross-dock and short-term storage of customer products.

The project is expected to cost $1.81 million to build, not including the purchase of the land, plus $100,000 in equipment and other costs. The company is asking for a package of $96,250 in sales tax breaks, $12,000 in mortgage recording tax exemptions, and property tax relief to support the $2.2 million project, although it already has a $1.6 million mortgage.

"In order to achieve our goal, we need assistance from ECIDA to help our company keep financial balance and remain a dependable business partner to our customers," the company wrote in its application to the agency. "Financial assistance will give us assurance to complete the project. It will help secure future stability and expansion of the company."

A public hearing was conducted May 26, electronically, and the ECIDA board is expected to take up the request at its next meeting June 24. The land is properly zoned for industrial use, and the company has obtained a restricted-use permit from the town.

If approved, Raine hopes to begin work immediately and finish by yearend. It expects to add one full-time job as a result of the expansion, with a $65,000 salary.

"If financial assistance is not provided, the project may be delayed or canceled," the company wrote. "We will have to increase the cost on our services to the customers which will make us less competitive."

Founded in 2007 and led by President Petro "Pete" Kushnir, Raine specializes in long-haul trucking and handling shipments that require special equipment or other needs. It is currently located at 43 Hamburg St. in Buffalo.

The company delivers dry freight – such as food products, electronics, auto parts and solar panels – from customers in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas to destinations in 48 states, particularly Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah. Raine operates nine tractors and 11 trailers and it employs 12 people.

Sixty percent of its business comes from Erie County. The company has grown so fast that its current leased 6,000-square-foot facility is fully occupied and "too small for our operations," the company said in its application.

The company said it spent two years looking unsuccessfully at buying and leasing other facilities around Buffalo and its suburbs, including on Clinton Street, William Street and Broadway. So it decided to build new, and turned to the 208-acre North America Park industrial center in West Seneca, which has easy access to the Thruway.

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