Candymaker Wythe Will Tzetzo is getting more than $5.1 million in tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency for its $18.7 million project to build a sprawling factory and warehouse in the Town of Tonawanda.
The IDA approved the tax breaks Monday for a project that will allow the company to consolidate its three local facilities in Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and Buffalo at a single site that also will serve as headquarters for its parent company, which is moving its main office to the North Youngmann Commerce Center from Virginia.
The project is expected to retain 165 full-time and 105 part-time jobs, while creating 20 full-time positions and 30 part-time posts within the next two years.
“It’s a nice retention because this company could have moved their production out of this area,” said County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, an IDA board member.
Company executives have said they looked at space in enterprise zones in Virginia, as well as other sites in the Buffalo area, before settling on the business park planned for Two Mile Creek Road, adjacent to the Youngmann Highway.
“There was a national site search that was done here,” said John C. Cappellino, the IDA’s executive vice president.
In all, Wythe Will Tzetzo is receiving incentives worth more than $6 million, including tax credits that could be worth as much as $950,000 through the state’s Excelsior Jobs Program.
Wythe Will Tzetzo will become the first tenant in the new business park, which has about 80 acres of developable space, Cappellino said.
“This will be the anchor tenant in this new development,” he said. “We think it will serve as a great catalyst for the rest of the property.”
Virginia-based Wythe Will, a national packager and distributor of candy and specialty foods for brands such as Ghirardelli, Godiva, Jelly Belly and Harry & David, acquired Tzetzo Bros. two years ago.
As part of the project, the company will move out of leased facilities on Military Road in the Town of Tonawanda, Broadway in Cheektowaga and Clinton Street in Buffalo, and shift its local operations to the 310,000-square-foot facility that it will build in the new business park.
Even with the $44.2 million in property tax breaks that are part of the overall incentive package, the company will pay an estimated $1.3 million to local governments and schools under a 10-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement. The site of the company’s new facility currently does not generate any tax revenue because it is owned by the Town of Tonawanda.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana. “We want to keep them here and have them expand.”
In other matters, agency officials said Niagara Ceramics, the Buffalo dinnerware manufacturer that closed last week, still owes slightly less than $300,000 on a loan it received through the Buffalo & Erie County Regional Development Corp. in 2004. Agency officials met behind closed doors to discuss their options.
The IDA also agreed to take steps that will allow Amherst Development Corp. to provide $1.5 million in tax-exempt financing for a $7.5 million project to renovate and refinance the Brewster Mews Preservation and the Pepper Tree Heights Preservation low-income housing projects.
The move will let Amherst Development use the IDA’s allocation from a state bond reserve to issue the bonds.