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Towne Mini has the green light to build a new car dealership in Clarence, but the Clarence Industrial Development Agency will not give tax breaks to the project.
Towne received development plan approval this week from the Planning Board for a standalone dealership on Main Street at Woodward Road, just east of Transit Road.
Towne separately applied for incentives from the Clarence IDA to support the project. The agency’s board members on Wednesday did not formally vote but decided against taking up the idea, saying the new dealership is going forward anyway.
“Once you have a project that’s already moving ahead, by incentivizing it, basically you’re going to reduce what will be coming in, in terms of taxes, when you don’t have to,” said Lawrence Meckler, Clarence IDA co-counsel. “It seems like our position throughout the year has been, if that’s the case, we’re not going to move forward with any incentives.”
Towne Automotive Group currently sells Minis and BMWs in a joint facility on Main Street across from the planned new location, which is currently vacant land.
Clarence IDA board members heard details of three other business projects in the works that could eventually seek incentives from the agency.
Kittinger Furniture Co. is considering acquiring the Eastern Hills Skating Center, a roller rink behind Eastern Hills Mall, and converting it to a manufacturing facility, said Paul Leone, a Clarence IDA consultant. Kittinger previously had its eye on a facility in Cheektowaga but another buyer acquired that property, Leone said.
Sunbridge Management is considering buying and revitalizing 8825 Sheridan Drive, just west of Shimerville Road, Leone said.
“Our plan is to do some substantial renovations which will allow our business to grow and expand,” said Gerald R. Dewes, an investment adviser and the president of the firm, in an interview after the meeting.
And Doug Webster is considering buying 8916 Sheridan Drive, east of Shimerville, as the new home for Peak Motion. His business specializes in precision prototype and short-run production parts. Webster, a former Delphi employee, currently leases space in Akron.
“It’s just too small, I need more equipment and there’s nowhere for me to go in there,” Webster said. “So right now, I’m capacity-limited.”
•The Clarence IDA will try again to drum up applicants for a part-time economic development officer. The agency this time will advertise pay of $20,000 a year for 20 hours a week; the agency previously offered $12,000 a year but was not satisfied with the applicants.
•The Clarence IDA will host a seminar showcasing grant opportunities for small businesses, at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26 at Town Hall. There will be presenters from the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College, about energy efficiency; the U.S. Small Business Administration; Erie Community College; and the Clarence IDA.

mglynn@buffnews.com