Ingram Micro is getting nearly $1 million in tax breaks through the Amherst Industrial Development Agency for its $11 million expansion project that is expected to bring 250 new jobs to its offices in the town.
The agency approved a package of sales and mortgage tax breaks Friday for the California-based technology company, which already employs more than 1,500 people at its facilities on Wehrle Drive and South Youngs Road in Amherst.
“This is a tremendous project,” said James J. Allen, the executive director of the Amherst IDA, which has been discussing the expansion with Ingram Micro executives for about two years.
Allen said the incentives, which include an estimated $866,000 in sales tax savings and about $110,000 in mortgage tax relief, were essential in persuading the company to expand at its Amherst facilities, rather than at other sites outside New York that were under consideration. Ingram Micro gets only about 6 percent of its sales from within New York, IDA officials said.
“This is a company at risk of leaving,” Allen said.
“They could be anywhere in this country,” he said. “We are competing with other sites. They can move and get incentives from other states.”
The Ingram Micro expansion has generated some opposition from neighboring residents on Rubino Court who have objected to plans by the company to add about 440 parking spaces. Ingram Micro’s landlord, Winthrop Realty Trust in Boston, Mass., is acquiring four adjacent parcels of land where the lot would be extended.
Ingram Micro also plans to use space in an adjacent building along Youngs Road now occupied by Cognigen on a sublease. Cognigen is expected to move out to make way for additional Ingram Micro employees.
Amherst Supervisor Barry Weinstein said town officials had discussed the possibility of Ingram Micro increasing its parking by building a parking ramp, but the company rejected the idea because it would be prohibitively expensive, costing in the range of $200,000 per space.
IDA officials noted that the parking lot is not part of the project that was being considered by the agency. The IDA tax breaks cover the renovation of Ingram Micro’s offices at 1759 Wehrle Drive and 395 S. Youngs Road, along with the purchase of furniture, equipment and technology that is part of the expansion.
The Amherst Town Board is expected to vote Monday on whether to rezone the property to allow the parking lot to be extended, Weinstein said.
“If they are putting $11 million into the site, it bodes well for their long-term future,” Weinstein said. “The cost is trivial.”
IDA board member Stuart Shapiro cast the lone vote against the tax breaks. Shapiro noted that Ingram Micro, when it first received tax breaks through the IDA in 1991, said it expected to have 2,000 at its Amherst location. When the latest expansion is completed, the company would have almost 1,800 employees at its local offices, which now pay their full property taxes.
“It’s taken 22 years,” Shapiro said. “But they are now close to meeting the employment levels they originally said they would have.”