By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Armstrong Pumps has operated a manufacturing facility in North Tonawanda since the 1960s. Now they want to expand.
And with the Buffalo Bolt Business Park, completed in 2010, abutting its current 110,000-square-foot building, that move may be easier than most.
The Common Council appears ready to accept an 18-month purchase agreement with the company as it looks to buy just over 8 acres of land inside the business park at a cost of $41,550. The possible agreement would leave the park entirely occupied.
Mayor Rob Ortt had initially expressed reservations about the East Avenue manufacturer’s construction plans, citing a lag on expansion from another business park land owner, but was reassured after several meetings with company representatives and touring the facility along with several other council members. No other company has tendered an offer for the land.
”If they don’t get this and they had to expand, the company would have to leave,” Ortt said. “For Armstrong, it makes good sense.”
Armstrong logistics manager Jerry J. Najuch, who met with the council in October, said the firm employs 148 people locally, though he described its current facility as dilapidated and outdated.
Yet with company offices stretching into Asia, Europe and Canada, he also noted that extending its capabilities into the business park could bring as many as 50 additional jobs at the local level.
Lumber City Development Corp. representative Richard Tindell told the council Tuesday evening Najuch has reiterated his interest in three remaining lots and asked for the year-and-a-half agreement that will allow his company time to pass through zoning and building processes and decide whether the it would expand on its current operations or build anew.
”The mayor and I stressed the importance of moving ahead as quickly as possible,” Tindell said.
Third Ward Councilman Erie Zadzilka and Councilwoman-At-Large Nancy Donovan toured Armstrong’s current facility on Monday and said they were impressed, describing it as “old” but “very clean.”
”If it’s going to help them stay in NT and create jobs, I’m for it,” Donovan said.
Councilman Mal Needler said he was comfortable with an 18-month timeline but only if the company stays within it.
”After 18 months if they haven’t complied then we’re going to have to revisit this,” he said.
The company’s purchase would join two other enterprises in the long-time industrial region of the city, including Taylor Devices and Aquasol. The council will likely vote on whether to approve the agreement next week.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.