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New York's state economic development agency on Thursday approved $2.2 million in grants for industrial gas company Praxair and the city of Jamestown, as part of a larger statewide package of grants and loans that leverages nearly $23 million in private investment to retain and create jobs across the state.

The board of Empire State Development Corp., meeting in New York City, backed the funding package of $3.66 million that will create 182 new jobs and retain 1,142 existing jobs statewide.

The City of Jamestown will receive a RESTORE New York Communities Program grant of up to $1.2 million to renovate the historic six-story Wellman Building as part of its overall redevelopment plan. The building had been vacant for about 30 years, and had fallen into "significant disrepair," the agency said.

The $7.68 million project was completed in June, creating a mixed-use building with 6,130 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and 44 market-rate apartments on the upper floors, 12 of which are already rented. The Gebbie Foundation has also leased 3,362 square feet of commercial space and the building's owner, Jamestown Development Company IV LLC, is negotiating with restaurant company Subway to lease 1,538 square feet.

Praxair will get a $1 million Economic Development Fund grant, enabling it to finish developing and implementing customized software to operate its new centralized logistics center. The company, which develops, separates and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, needed to redevelop its old logistics system - which was so outdated it was no longer supported by the original software developer. As part of the $12.5 million project, Praxair consolidated three existing centers serving 9,000 North American customers, retaining 700 jobs through 2017.

Without state help, ESD said, the project "would likely not have taken place in New York state."?



email: jepstein@buffnews.com