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A business park adjacent to Niagara Falls International Airport has been designated as "shovel ready" through a state program, a status intended to enhance the site's appeal for development.
Empire State Development Corp. and Niagara County Center for Economic Development officials announced the designation for Niagara Airport Commercial Park on Thursday. The 216-acre undeveloped site, owned by SGL Equities, is north of the airport on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara.
Economic-development officials say that with shovel-ready status, a property can be marketed to business prospects as "pre-permitted," capable of being developed quickly. The idea is to remove obstacles to attracting businesses that might be considering competing sites in other states and want to start construction right away.
"What this says is, the site has already cleared a lot of the regulatory hurdles you'll deal with out there," said Christian W. Peck, public information officer for Niagara County.
National Grid provided a $39,500 grant to Buffalo Niagara Enterprise on behalf of SGL Equities to carry out a site review and prepare the application for shovel-ready certification, state and local officials said. The funds came from National Grid's Strategic Economic Development Outreach program.
Officials said SGL Equities also contributed unspecified "financial support" for shovel-ready certification.
State and local officials said the Niagara Airport Commercial Park's proximity to the airport should enhance its appeal to business prospects. Economic-development officials see the business park as a potential home for high-tech manufacturing companies and computer data management centers. At more than 200 acres, the site also has ample size to accommodate new development, Peck said.
There are now 13 sites in Western New York certified as shovel ready by Empire State Development, including two others in Niagara County: Cambria Technology Park and Woodlands Corporate Center.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com