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LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport saw $10.5 million in new business investment and the creation of 75 jobs in 2012, Town Economic Development Director David R. Kinyon reported last week.

Kinyon’s annual report pointed to makeovers at several South Transit Road auto dealerships, the completion of a new $840,000 concession stand and projector building at the Transit Drive-In and the opening of Eastern Niagara Hospital’s renovated $5.6 million ambulatory care center.

Meanwhile, the town Industrial Development Agency sold another 13 acres of land in the town industrial park to Yahoo with an eye toward expansion of the Internet giant’s data center.

“We’d been negotiating that deal for the last three years,” Kinyon said.

The IDA also took the first steps toward attempting to use eminent domain powers to take 91 acres of land from General Motors to enlarge the industrial park. A public hearing on that move is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 24 in Town Hall.

Kinyon said that though the town would like to see construction of a shopping center, it had some success in trying to fill vacant retail space.

Sprint and Sally Beauty Supply opened stores in the Home Depot Plaza; Amazing Grazing opened in the Tops Plaza; and Burrito Bay moved into the Radio Shack Plaza.

The Towne Square Plaza across from Town Hall filled vacant space with Toni Pepperoni, and a new Dunkin’ Donuts is under construction.

“The southern portion of [South] Transit Road is really undergoing a face-lift,” Kinyon said.

Following the completion of Basil Toyota’s new dealership in 2011, competitors improved their showrooms, too.

Niagara Nissan spent $400,000 on building improvements, and Heinrich Chevrolet plowed $350,000 into a makeover of its own.

Master Motors and Ontario Auto Sales, two independent used-car dealers, also made improvements, and Magic Mist, a new car wash, opened after a $300,000 investment.

Off the Transit strip, Mulvey Construction completed a new headquarters in the Ulrich Business Park at the southern end of Davison Road, with A&A Beauty Supply moving into Mulvey’s old building.

Custom Laser bought the long-vacant Franbilt plant on Akron Road and made plans to move its business there from the industrial park.

The park also saw construction begin on Introl Design’s new $700,000 plant, and plans were floated for a business incubator there from McGuire Development. However, the project is moving slowly; plans were withdrawn from this month’s town Planning Board agenda.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com