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Time runs out for Uniland--again

From Business Today:


A proposal meant to help out Western New York's coal-fired power plants has been left out of the state budget. The proposal would have had the New York Power Authority buy energy from the region's coal plants for three years. Critics said it propped up an outdated, dirty mode of energy, but proponents of the bill said it would provide much-needed help for the region's struggling power plants.


Computer Task Group has landed three new contracts, expanding its reach in the electronic medical records business. Two contracts are with major U.S. health systems, while the third is with one of the largest hospitals in the western United States, the company said. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.


Since the financial crisis hit, the American public has become cynical about the banking industry, to put it mildly. In his annual letter to investors, M&T Bank Corp. Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers calls for the restoration of banking's integrity in order to win back public trust and the industry's good name.


Uniland Development Co. has missed a deadline to hold up its end of the bargain in a deal that landed them $490,000 in federal aid money. But the developer has been given more time to secure a tenant for its Lancaster industrial park and meet job creation requirements. The company has received a series of extensions over the years. The Eastport Commerce Center is located on the corner of Walden Avenue and Pavement Road. The grants it received came through Erie county and the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

What a beautiful morning!


Business confidence increasing

From Business Today:


After 18 months of major renovations, the Genesee Gateway building is officially open with its first tenants. Two investment firms that spun off from the now defunct, 80-year-old Harold C. Brown & Co. investment firm have moved in: Winthrop Financial and Pratt Collard Advisory Partners. Other tenants include the U.S. Passport Office, the Department of State and NBT Solutions. The rehabbed complex is located in a very visible spot at the corner of Genesee and Oak Streets.


M&T Bank Corp. has released its Economic Outlook Survey, in which it posits that the U.S. economic recovery may now be more sustainable. Business confidence is increasing in upstate New York, jobs have grown and there has been an increased output of goods and services, the survey concludes. Among nearly 600 companies that M&T does business with in 7 states, about one-third plan to hire more workers within the next six months.


Check out what real estate sold in Erie and Niagara County for the week ending Feb. 17.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

From MoneySmart:


Want to send text messages for free? Learn how in today's MoneySmart cover story.

Happy Monday!


From Business Today:


An elementary school teacher from Elma is campaigning to win Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" contest, for the chance to have her product invention sold on and possibly in Walmart stores. Tammy Gordon, who teaches in Clarence, designed something called the Study Flash, magnetic pockets for organizing flash cards. Winners are chosen according to the number of votes they get through Facebook and text messaging. Other entries with ties to Buffalo are Bubble's Q Sauce, Buffalo Games' Phone Frenzy party game and Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce.


Steven J. Baum P.C. is facing the music on charges it cut corners and committed abuses in foreclosure filings. Baum, the firm and a top executive in the company will pay $2 million in penalties, legal costs and fees to the state and $2 million toward programs offering assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure or who are victims of predatory lending practices, the attorney general said. They are also barred from representing lenders or servicers in new foreclosure-related cases for two years.


First Niagara Financial Group is just 60 days away from officially closing its purchase of HSBC Bank USA's upstate New York branches, and it's gearing up for the switch. It has begun practicing its systems transfer that will convert HSBC accounts and loans to First Niagara May 18. First Niagara sent notifications about the change to current HSBC customers a few weeks ago.


As it does every year, The Buffalo News hosted a panel of volunteer CPAs Wednesday night who took questions from readers by phone and online about their taxes. Nine volunteers from Western New York answered tax questions free for four hours. They're online answers can be read here.


Critics are protesting a State Senate budget provision authorizing the purchase of electricity generated by Western New York's coal-fired plants for three years. Environmental, energy and health groups don't think the New York Power Authority should pay "a premium for dirty coal power." Instead, it asked lawmakers to to invest in clean renewable energy.

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Here's a closer look at the Study Flash:


IDA wars, again...

From Business Today:


A new proposal by Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, seeks to rein in the power of suburban industrial development agencies in Erie County and give most of the responsibility of doling out tax breaks to the Erie County IDA. Suburban IDAs would only be allowed to give school tax breaks if the school districts that would benefit from the taxes approve them. IDAs have come under increased scrutiny for giving tax breaks to retail and restaurant projects. The legislation is backed by County Executive Mark Poloncarz.


Mensch Capital Partners LLC, which is led by Andrew J. Shaevel and includes Paul Ciminelli and Paul J. Kolkmeyer, have closed the deal on the Westwood Country Club for $2.5 million. Jon Cohen and Todd Sugarman, who are leasing the property, will operate the club. They have launched a major marketing initiative and have cut rates drastically, which has increased membership by about 80 people.



The former Daffodil's restaurant on Maple Road in Williamsville has a new owner. Mike Rizzo, who owns Banchetti by Rizzo's restaurant and banquet facility, closed the deal Monday, paying $700,000 for the restaurant. It was most recently operated under the name Verbena, but has sat empty since 2010. It will likely become a restaurant and banquet facility again.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Speaking of Daffodils, spring has sprung!



Small business loans getting federal boost

From Business Today:


Loan guarantees from the Small Business Administration make it easier for banks to extend loans to small businesses, and that is helping small companies thrive. Lenders in the Buffalo and Rochester areas have loaned a total of $34.9 million in 221 loans over the last five months.



Two of the fastest-growing credit unions in the country are based right here in Western New York. Western New York Federal Credit Union in West Seneca ranked 31st for growth in a recent ranking, while St. Joseph's Parish Federal Credit Union in Buffalo ranked 50th. The ranking was put together by Washington, D.C.-based industry research firm Callahan & Associates and compiled to create the 2012 Credit Union Directory: The Cooperative State of Mind.


Check out the real estate listings for Erie and Niagara Counties for the week ending Feb. 3. The median sale price in Erie County during that period was $101,350. The median price for Niagara County was $83,500.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Sure feels like spring out there:


Power plant closing threatens budgets

From Business Today:


 AES is closing its Somerset power plant for up to 6 months. The company is in bankruptcy and owes $600 million. The plant will be auctioned March 26, but no layoffs have yet been mentioned for the plant's 115 workers. The closure has community leaders worried, since many budgets are heavily funded with tax revenues from the plant. The Barker school district's 2012-2013 budget is counting on AES for 38 percent of its funding.



Carl Paladino's company  Ellicott Development wants to buy three city-owned parcels to build a medical office. The three small properties are on an empty lot on the north side of St. Paul Mall, located between Best and East North streets. Their estimated total value is $69,900. Ellicott also wants to turn the former Our Lady of Lourdes church into a mixed use-space featuring retail and residential opportunities.




 Solar Liberty  has been recognized by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Energy. Solar has been designated the largest solar installation company in New York State in 2011, based on the number of systems installed and the amount of kilowatt capacity brought online last year.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

It looks like the waters of March are holding off today:


Sports conference skips Buffalo

From Business Today:


Buffalo had been on a roll booking amateur sporting events, landing several of them over the past few years. But it just lost its bid for the National Association of Sports Commissions conference. Buffalo had been a finalist to host the conference, but the event's organizers said the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center was not up to snuff and that it didn't want to subject its attendees to the many vacant store fronts on Main Street. Snagging the event would have meant more than $1 million in economic impact.


 A vacant Depew printing plant has been given a reduced assessment. The 850,000-square-foot former Quad/Graphics property on George Urban Boulevard has had its assessed value cut from $5.6 million to $4.3 million. The Wisconsin-based Quad Graphics bought the plant in 2010 before shutting it down in 2011. It's now up for sale.


Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand has sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking it to deny three pending Foreign-Trade Zone manufacturing subzone applications that would give an unfair advantage to metal imports from China and Russia. If the applications are approved, it would make survival difficult for Globe Specialty Metals, a company in Niagara Falls that employs 100 people, she said.


Western New York will have its first LongHorn Steakhouse within the next year. The steakhouse chain just inked a deal to build its first local restaurant at Orchard Park's Quaker Crossing plaza. The Orlando-based company will tear down a former Montana's Cookhouse and construct a new 6,000-square-foot building.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Today is the first day of March. It seems to have come in like a lamb:


Sportmen's Tavern gets some video love

From Business Today:


The top management at a local company is getting shuffled around.

Sovran Self Storage, which owns the Uncle Bob's self-storage chain, is promoting its current chief financial officer, David Rogers, to CEO. Former CEO Robert Attea will become the executive chairman. 

The changes are part of the company's succession plan and will take place March 1.


A Hamburg building products maker has bought a small metal grating company in Alberta. Gibraltar Industries has acquired Edvan Industries, which makes metal grating primarily for the oil and gas industry. Gibraltar has targeted its metal mesh business for growth, and this latest acquisition will help propel that growth along. The addition is expected to add $5 million to Gibraltar's annual sales. 



A Tonawanda of Tonawanda homeowner is getting more exposure than she expected when she first listed her home for sale. Producers of the Today Show chose a house for sale at 61 St. John's Avenue in the Town for a segment it is doing on homes that cost less than $200,000.


 Office Depot confirmed it is closing its locationat 2309 Eggert Road. About 20 employees will be out of work when the struggling office supply store closes its doors at the end of March.   

Who is  etting hired, promoted and honored?

Check out Visit Buffalo Niagara's new promotional video about iconic local bar and music venue, the Sportsmen's Tavern:


Buffalo Auto Show drawing crowds, GM plant reviving.

From Business Today:


Car enthusiasts came from all over Western New York Wednesday for opening day of the Buffalo Auto Show. Whether they were checking out the concept cars, such as the Fisker Karma Hybrid sportscar and Can Am Spyder motorcycle, or looking for the next vehicle to park in their own driveway, there was plenty of action at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The event is put together by the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association.


A Wheatfield real estate developer is stepping into a new venture. Calamar Enterprises will launch Calamar Family Asset Management. The new business division will advise new heirs of family businesses or estates who don't have the experience or desire to manage their inheritances.  

The division will be headed up by Daniel G. Kantor, a veteran business owner and nonprofit executive.


There's new life at a long vacant section of General Motors' Tonawanda plant. GM is opening an on-site training center as it gears up for three new engine lines. It is also going to use the site to put together kits of parts that workers on the engine lines use, to make the process go smoothly.

GM will revive Plant 4 on Kenmore avenue which has been mostly unused for the past several years.


After members of the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency voiced concerns about their longtime general council, IDA chairman Dino J. Fudoli is considering a switch.

Longtime general counsel Dominic J. Terranova and bond counsel Nathan Neill, who have served the IDA for more than 20 years, could be replaced. Lawyers from Phillips Lytle or Magavern Magavern Grimm were offered as new candidates at Tuesday's board meeting.


A Batavia manufacturer has landed a valuable batch of orders. Graham Corp., which makes vacuum and heat transfer equipment, has won more than $3.5 million in orders for equipment that will be used on projects in the energy industry.


Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's another look at the Can Am Spyder:


Super Bowl ads good for local affiliate

From Business Today:


During the Super Bowl, all eyes may be on the national commercials that spend millions of dollars to air their ads in front of the the large, diverse audience the football game brings. But local NBC affiliate WGRZ was much more interested in what local advertisers were doing. That's because they were alloted enough time to air about 15 commercials during the game, selling the slots to local advertisers for an estimated $12,000 to $17,000 apiece.


Home sales increased in December. Sales rose 4.2 percent to 774 in December from 743 during the same month the previous year. Sales were up 10.4 percent from November's 701 sales, making it the largest December number since the glory days of 2006 and 2007. Newly listed sales were up 13 percent. The positive sales results are being attributed to the region's stretch of unseasonably mild weather.    


Profits were up at Astronics Corp. during the fourth quarter.  Profits rose 16 percent to $5.2 million, or 40 cents per share, from $4.5 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago. The increase is attributed to strong growth in the company's aircraft cabin electronics sales. That strength offset losses in the company's test systems business. Astronics Corp. is an East Aurora-based maker of aircraft lighting and electronics products.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here is one of the only local ads local advertising representatives found memorable:


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