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Former HSBC bank branch in Niagara Falls up for sale

A former HSBC Bank USA branch in Niagara Falls that has been used as a community center for the past five years is being put on the market by United Way of Greater Niagara.

The 4,290-square-foot building, located at 1905 Pine St., is being marketed by Ben Schiller of Pyramid Brokerage Co. of Buffalo for $230,000.

Formerly a bank branch, the building has been owned by United Way since 2008. Its anchor tenant has been Everywoman Opportunity Center, but that agency’s state funding has been cut every year, jeopardizing its ability to keep that site open, said United Way of Greater Niagara President Carol G. Houwaart-Diez.

Another agency also used to be in the building but moved out, and United Way currently just uses the building for meetings and storage.

 

As a result, the building might not be fully utilized, she said, so United Way “made the decision to put the property on the market to see if there is any interest in it."

 

Clean-up work to start at Delaware Court site after gas station leaves

Uniland Development Corp. is planning to start clean-up of its Delaware Court Building site at Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, now that the gas station on the property is leaving.

The Valero station at Chippewa and S. Elmwood Avenue will be vacating by the end of this week, enabling Amherst-based Uniland to proceed with environmental remediation work to prepare the property for a new use.

The gas station is at the far western end of a property that is mostly occupied by the two-story Delaware Court Building that curves around the corner of Delaware and Chippewa. The building, whose first floor has long housed restaurants, bars and retail, is often discussed as the possible site for a new headquarters building that would be constructed for Delaware North Companies, which is currently the lead tenant at the KeyCenter at Fountain Plaza but is reviewing its options for new space elsewhere in the downtown area.

 

-- Jonathan D. Epstein

 

 

 

Evans makes American Banker list

Hamburg-based Evans Bancorp was ranked No. 102 on American Banker's list of community banks with the highest returns on average equity over a three-year period. Evans' was 9.6 percent, which was virtually the median for the list of 200, according to data from SNL Financial.

New York state had 17 banks on the list of 200, the third highest in the report.

Evans also made KBW's "Bank Honor Roll" of performers, as did M&T Bank Corp. The two were among 14 new members of that list of U.S. banking institutions.

KBW says its list acknowledges companies "that have managed to successfully navigate a variety of obstacles as they have arisen, despite difficult conditions in what remains a rate-challenged environment."

KBW's list is for publicly traded institutions with more than $500 million in assets that meet three criteria: no annual loss reported in net income per share before extraordinary items over the past 10 years; 2012 annual reported net income per share before extraordinary items equal to or greater than peak net income per share over the past 10 years; and consecutive increases in net income per share before extraordinary items since 2009.

Out of 400 companies screened for the list, 47 qualified, up from 45 in the previous year, KBW said.

-- Matt Glynn

 

First Niagara gets preservation honor

The Preservation Association of Central New York recognized First Niagara Financial Group with its "Preservation Merit Award," for its role in historic preservation in that region.

The association said First Niagara is the only financial institution in Central New York that serves as a rehabilitation tax credit investor. Among its recent projects were investments in the Pike Block project on South Salina Street and the St. Patrick’s Lofts project in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood.

“Making the decisions to become the tax credit investor for these two projects demonstrate its commitment to this community,” said Murray F. Gould , the association's president, in a statement.

 

 

 


New Catholic Health Systems website provides data to patients

Catholic Health Systems is moving to provide to the public detailed information on its hospitals by launching a website with data on treatment outcomes, patient experiences and other quality measures.

The Know Your Health Care site is aimed at current and prospective patients of the Catholic Health Systems hospitals -- Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital and Sisters' St. Joseph Campus -- and launched earlier this month.

Catholic Health administrators say they are the first hospital system in the area, and one of just a handful of hospitals in the state, to offer this data set to the public.

"This is an example of us being very transparent," said Joseph D. McDonald, Catholic Health's president and CEO, during a meeting this week with reporters and editors of The Buffalo News.

The site, www.chsbuffalo.org/knowyourhealthcare, offers details on various awards and accreditations the hospitals and the hospital system have received; how the hospitals compare to peer facilities in different treatment categories; and rates of poor outcomes such as patient falls and bed sores.

This website is an attempt to respond to provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, and other health care reforms, that seek to allow consumers to make informed decisions about their health care.

Most of the information comes from Catholic Health, but Dr. Brian D'Arcy, the senior vice president of health affairs, emphasized the system is self-reporting negative, as well as positive, data.

And the Catholic Health System's site does offer links to third-party organizations that provide independent data on hospital performance, such as Medicare's Hospital Compare program and the Leapfrog Group.

The site does not include information on the average cost of these services, but McDonald told The News' editorial board that he expects the site to include pricing information in the future.

"The website is going to constantly be added to," he said.

--- Stephen T. Watson

Tops rebrands nine stores in Vermont and New York

Tops Friendly Markets has unveiled nine “new” stores in Vermont and northern New York state.


Nine of the Grand Union stores Tops acquired last year reopened under the Tops banner this week. Each of the stores underwent varying degrees of renovation, but all received facade makeovers and expanded product inventory.


Tops will finish the renovation and rebranding of the rest of the acquired stores through the rest of the year.


Tops acquired 21 Grand Union stores in Vermont and New York in a deal that was completed last July.
Tops had actually previously owned some of the Adirondacks-region stores under the leadership of Dutch company Royal Ahold, before selling them back to Grand Union in 2006.

- Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Lawley, Liazon unveil private health insurance exchange

Lawley Benefits Group is introducing a private benefits exchange that is intended to help employers manage their health care costs more efficiently while giving their employees more options in choosing the right coverage for them.

The exchange, known as Lawley Marketplace, is different from the public exchanges that are being created under the terms of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Lawley, an employee benefits broker and provider of consulting services, partnered with Liazon, a health-care technology company that designs private benefits exchanges, in setting up the portal.

Officials with the companies introduced the exchange to the Lawley sales force Tuesday afternoon in a meeting at WNED's downtown studios.

Lawley and Liazon executives say the exchange helps employers, particularly those who have between 10 and 200 workers, by offering a streamlined administrative process and allowing them greater certainty in their health care costs.

Instead of a human resources official having to choose the handful of health plans that will be offered to a company's employees, the private benefits exchange allows the workers themselves to select from a wider array of plan options, said T.J. Revelas, Lawley's managing partner.

Lawley plans to heavily market the exchange in the Buffalo and Rochester markets, with an eye toward signing up companies and employees over the summer and early fall. The Martin Group worked with Lawley on the public-relations and advertising campaign.

The members of the sales team were shown a promotional video and watched as a Lawley official walked them through a demonstration of the online registration and selection process that an employee would use to choose his or her health insurance package.

Lawley executives compared the process of shopping for a health plan to the steps someone would take to buy something on Amazon or search for a mate on a dating website.

Ashok Subramanian, Liazon's CEO and co-founder, said there are a number of other national companies that have started offering private benefits exchanges, but he contended that so far these are inferior or less comprehensive.

Subramanian also said the partners have learned a lesson as they've watched how the exchange has been used by employees in test cases. "People choose differently than companies specifically choose for them," he said.

---Stephen T. Watson

UB creates biomedical informatics department and names chair

Peter_Elkin_hr_6972

The University at Buffalo has created a new department of biomedical informatics and has recruited an official from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine to serve as its first chair.

Dr. Peter L. Elkin, vice president and professor of medicine at Mount Sinai and director of its Center for Biomedical Informatics will begin his duties at UB as a professor and department chair this summer, the university announced.

Including Elkin, Dr. Michael E. Cain, UB's vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has named 10 chairs or chair-level appointees over the past five years. Cain's recruiting push is part of UB's effort to hire 100 new Medical School faculty over the next five years, a key component of the UB 2020 planning initiative.

Biomedical informatics explores how best to use clinical, genetic and related information to improve health care, public health, the treatment of patients and biomedical research.

“Biomedical informatics is now essential to the delivery of health care,” Cain said in a statement.

Elkin has developed standards for collecting, using and storing electronic medical records, among other areas of research, and was selected following a national search.

---Stephen T. Watson

 

 

Erie County to advise businesses, nonprofits on energy use

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning is hosting a May 30 workshop on the programs and sources of funding available to businesses and not-for-profit groups that want to reduce their energy consumption and costs.

The Renew Erie County Business Energy event, which includes lunch, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union, Room 302, on the SUNY Buffalo State campus, 1300 Elmwood Ave.

Attendees will learn about the incentives and other programs available to help them make their properties and vehicle fleets more energy efficient.

Thomas R. Hersey Jr., the department's deputy commissioner, will deliver the opening remarks. Presenters include representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, National Grid and New York State Electric & Gas.

Pre-register and get more information at www.reneweriecounty.org or by calling (866) 495-2959. Lunch and parking are free for attendees.

---Stephen T. Watson

UB, Superior Group host event on careers in life sciences

Representatives from several companies will speak Thursday afternoon in Buffalo at a panel discussion on pursuing a career in the life sciences, advanced manufacturing or other high-tech industries.

The Superior Group and the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences are hosting the event from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, 701 Ellicott St.

The group of panelists will talk about the many jobs available in the region’s life sciences, biomedical and advanced manufacturing sectors, from the entry level to those that require advanced degrees.

The panelists are:

  • Grant Carr, senior director of lead discovery at Albany Molecular Research Inc.
  • Lyn Dyster, senior vice president of operations, Kinex Pharmaceuticals
  • Bridget Russo, vice president of talent acquisition and development at Catholic Health System
  • Emily Martin, human resource specialist at Graphic Controls
  • Melissa Stephan, senior human resources generalist from Harmac Medical Products Inc.

The moderator is Steve Kimmel-Hurt, account manager at Superior Group. Anyone interested in attending the panel discussion must register by 3 p.m. Thursday at superior2013.eventbrite.com.

---Stephen T. Watson

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