Tonawanda News

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April 26, 2013

Yahoo! tax breaks approved in Lockport

Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT — Yahoo’s expansion in the Town of Lockport is on its way, following approval of a 20-year package of property tax and sales tax breaks for the Internet giant on Thursday morning.

Some see the expansion as something that may lead to more of a future investment in Lockport by Yahoo. Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency member Duncan Carlson said that’s why he voted in favor of the incentive package, despite concerns expressed by some that it amounts to corporate welfare.

“I have the feeling that an expansion far beyond this is the key to making this a viable project,” Carlson said. “They are interested in more land, a major expansion of the data center.

”Betting on the future, that’s why I would be inclined to support this project, not what we heard here today.”

For its second project in the town, Yahoo will invest $170 million in a second phase on its campus in the Town IDA Park. The phase will expand the Yahoo data center and add a new customer call center, creating 115 jobs.

The sheer size of the 320,000 square-foot expansion, which includes a larger parking lot and a utility substation, suggests the company potentially has plans for Lockport, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said during the hearing.

But there’s nothing else to announce, Yahoo said in an email.

”We’ve got nothing to add beyond what we’ve already shared publicly: that Yahoo is pleased to be expanding our operations in Lockport to include a new data center and customer care center, through which we’ll add 115 jobs to our Lockport operations,” a Yahoo spokeswoman said.

The IDA Board of Directors voted to approve the tax abatements, following an hour-long public hearing in which some taxpayers criticized the tax breaks for Yahoo.

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