LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport is ready to fight General Motors over a plan to expand the town’s industrial park.
The town Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to begin the process of using its power of eminent domain to take 91 acres of GM’s land adjoining the industrial park.
The board set a public hearing on the idea for 7 p.m. Jan. 24.
“This is a first step that is required for an eminent domain taking of real property. It doesn’t obligate the board to go forward,” Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said.
The IDA has been trying to purchase land from GM since 2010, Executive Director David R. Kinyon said.
“We haven’t come to any meeting of the minds in previous times,” Seaman said.
He wouldn’t say what the hang-up was, but his law partner, Morgan Jones, said at the IDA meeting that GM offered a large piece of property, “including some land we’re not particularly interested in.”
GM owns about 120 acres, roughly bounded by Junction Road, the southern edge of the industrial park and the Lockport Energy Associates cogeneration power plant. The vacant land lies west of the GM Components plant, formerly Delphi and before that Harrison Radiator.
GM spokesman Bob Wheeler did not respond to requests for comment from the company Thursday.
The 200-acre industrial park is home to 15 businesses with a total of 417 employees. As a result of recent deals, including the sale of property for the Yahoo data center and its possible future expansion, and a planned business incubator project by McGuire Development, the park has only 52 unsold acres.
“We’re getting to the point where we need more property to accomplish the mission of the IDA,” Seaman said.
The IDA normally holds breakfast meetings, so Seaman said the nighttime public hearing shows “the importance of the action.”
The list price for land in the industrial park is $25,000 per acre, but the IDA charged Yahoo $15,000 an acre for its first 30-acre purchase in 2009, and $16,237 per care for its 12-acre acquisition in October.
Seaman said that deal is moving faster than expected and may close by the end of the year.
In other matters, the IDA board approved a land swap with McGuire. The developer gave up an option on two acres just south of the Yahoo data center in exchange for an option on two acres to the east, on the side of IDA Park Drive, opposite the data center.
The land McGuire is giving up is just west of the three-acre site of the planned incubator, for which it paid $15,000 an acre.
The board also accepted the resignation of Paul J. Haber, who has served on the board since 1997.