A Williamsville equipment financing company plans to move to the Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo and is promising to create 71 new jobs during the next five years.
Blue Bridge Financial, which currently has 12 employees at its office at 5500 Main St., plans to move into 5,500 square feet of space in the Electric Tower with help from a state incentive package that could include as much as $586,173 in tax credits from the Excelsior Jobs Program.
Blue Bridge had considered expanding in California and Florida, where the company has an office in Palm Harbor, but chose Buffalo because of the quality of the local workforce, which includes a large number of people with financial services experience, as well as the state incentive package, said Mark DeBacker, the former Evans Bancorp chief financial officer who is Blue Bridge’s chief executive officer.
“It was just very compelling for us to do it in Buffalo with the package,” said DeBacker, who left Evans in 2006 for a job at a Las Vegas bank and now lives in San Francisco.
“I am pleased that the state was able to play a role in convincing Blue Bridge Financial to take a second look at Buffalo,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement. Cuomo said the decision to set up the company’s headquarters in downtown Buffalo “is a testament to the advantages that Western New York offers to growing businesses.”
DeBacker and equipment financing veteran Brian Gallo formed Blue Bridge about five years ago, and the company has since focused mainly on financing small-ticket equipment. DeBacker and Gallo worked together in the mid-2000s, after Evans Bank in January 2005 acquired M&C Leasing Co., the equipment financing business run by Gallo and his father.
“There’s significant demand for the type of product we’re offering,” DeBacker said.
Thomas A. Kucharski, the president of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise business development and marketing group that worked with Blue Bridge officials, said the decision to move to the Electric Tower shows the company’s “faith and commitment” to the region.
“Advanced business services has always been a strong industry cluster in Buffalo Niagara, primarily due to our quality and affordable space and highly skilled and productive workforce,” he said in a statement.