LOCKPORT – The Town of Lockport’s economic development position underwent sweeping changes last year, the administrative director of the town Industrial Development Agency told the agency’s board Thursday.
David R. Kinyon pointed to the start of the second phase of Yahoo’s data and call center campus, the sale of 20 acres to Yahoo for a potential third project, a court decision allowing the IDA to seize 91 acres owned by General Motors to expand its industrial park, and the long-awaited start of construction on the Walmart supercenter.
“2013 really was a transformational year for the Town of Lockport and the IDA,” Kinyon said.
Pointing to 13 other smaller business openings and expansions, Kinyon said the town saw a total of $176 million in new investment, promising 192 new jobs.
Most of that came from Yahoo, which committed to adding 115 jobs to its existing 90 when its second-phase data and call center is completed. However, company officials said at public meetings during the year that the new building will have a capacity of 300 employees.
However, because Yahoo has yet to close on its $300,000, 20-acre land purchase and has yet to deliver the $544,000 fee the IDA is charging for the 20-year tax break it granted on the building now under construction, the IDA’s financial statements show a loss for 2013 of $167,000.
“This statement is not reflective of the work of the IDA in 2013,” Kinyon said. But he said the town hadn’t pushed for Yahoo to pay before the year ended.
Thomas A. Sy, who was re-elected IDA chairman Thursday, said he expects Yahoo to pay up “certainly in the first quarter.”
Also not yet closed is a deal with Gooding Co., which received a 15-year tax break for a $900,000 expansion of its printing plant. Kinyon said, “We did not expect construction to begin until late spring or early summer.”
Gooding will owe the IDA a $9,000 fee for its tax break. The fee is generally 1 percent of the construction cost, although Yahoo received a 20 percent discount.
The Walmart project on South Transit Road is underway with Mortenson Construction, a national firm, as the general contractor. The supercenter is to open in late summer, leaving the town with the challenge of finding a new use for Walmart’s current 127,000-square-foot store.
“Backfilling our existing retail space is also a priority,” Kinyon said in looking ahead to 2014.