Tonawanda News

The City

June 19, 2014

Larger tax break for Spaulding project

Erie County IDA ups incentives for Simmers Crane to expand in City of Tonawanda

Tonawanda News — The first business to set up shop inside the Spaulding Commerce Park in the City of Tonawanda will receive additional tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, officials announced Wednesday. 

Simmers Crane Design & Service first signed a contract with the city in February to purchase 4.5 acres of land in the park for $140,000.

The company, founded in 1948, constructs and services overhead cranes typically found in machine shops, steel mills and in various sectors of the automotive industry. 

The company originally planned the construction of a 20,000-square-foot building at a cost of about $1.7 million. In June 2013, the Erie County IDA approved $388,000 in tax abatement for the move. 

But on Wednesday, with the company now planning a more significant $2.1 million investment that officials say will create five additional jobs, the IDA board upped the tax break to $503,000. 

“They’ll probably be closing on the property in two weeks,” said Mayor Rick Davis, of Simmers’ plans, adding that the city continues to work aggressively to attract business to the sprawling commerce park made up of 47-acres on a former brownfield site in the middle of a residential area.  

Talks are now in the works to bring in a real estate firm to further add to development activity, with hopes pinned on additions to the tax roll. 

“There’s been some interest,” Davis said. “What we’re going to look at is putting out a request for proposals for a commercial real estate company whose sole job would be to market the property. And we’re hoping that the kind of increased incentives that help bring Simmers would continue.” 

Simmers is the first occupant in the industrial park, a former brownfield occupied by Spaulding Fibre, a business that closed in the 1990s leaving behind a decaying industrial complex. It was eventually resuscitated with $20 million in federal, state and county aid, along with a $700,000 contribution from the city. Water and sewer lines, a new road, and sidewalks and curbs were installed in 2011. 

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