LOCKPORT – Yahoo is following through on a plan to make Lockport a major cog in its worldwide data network. And Town of Lockport officials say the company’s newest land purchase shows their efforts to expand the town industrial park are justified.
Although ground hasn’t been broken for the second phase of Yahoo’s data center complex in Lockport, the California-based company already is looking ahead to phase three.
The town Industrial Development Agency board voted Thursday to sell Yahoo about 20 more acres in the industrial park.
The deal, for $15,000 an acre, brings to 63 acres the amount of property controlled by Yahoo in the park off Upper Mountain and Junction roads. It gives the Internet giant an L-shaped campus in the heart of the 200-acre industrial park.
As for the third phase, IDA Executive Director David R. Kinyon said, “They have not shared their exact plans with us. They would like to build additional data center capacity.”
IDA attorney Daniel E. Seaman said the survey of the third parcel hasn’t been completed, so the exact acreage and total purchase price are undetermined. He said the contract gives the IDA the right to buy the land back if Yahoo doesn’t develop it.
The need for more land is motivating efforts to take 91 acres from General Motors, using its powers of eminent domain. With Thursday’s sale, only 32 acres of land in the 200-acre industrial park remain unsold. The eminent domain effort started after the IDA was unable to reach a purchase agreement with GM for land west of the GM Components Holdings plant, which borders the industrial park. GM has sued to block the taking, and the case is to be heard in December in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester.
The IDA granted Yahoo 20-year tax abatement packages on both the completed development and the one approved earlier this year. They included 10 years of complete exemption from property taxes, followed by eight years of reduced taxation, as well as 20 years of exemption from paying sales taxes on building materials or equipment used to construct and equip the data centers.
As for when construction might begin on the second phase, Kinyon said, “They’re still talking September-ish. … Our town Planning Board has not seen or approved the site plan.”
That board has tabled the Yahoo matter for three consecutive months because there was no plan for it to act upon. Kinyon said there appears to be extensive internal discussions at Yahoo about what the second complex should look like. However, he reported to the IDA board that New York State Electric & Gas Corp. has completed the relocation of a line of utility poles in the park to accommodate Yahoo’s plans.