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Paying for the Bills

Developer Rocco Termini has an interesting article today on the News' editorial page, pitching a plan to finance the $200 million or so it will take to finance the improvements the Buffalo Bills want at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The linchpin of Termini's plan is to take the roughly $13 million in payroll taxes that the Bills pay each year and setting it aside to pay off the bonds that will be issued to pay for the stadium improvements. By Termini's calculations, setting those tax payments aside over a 15-year period (assuming the Bills sign a 15-year lease) would cover about three-quarters ($150 million) of the improvement costs.

The second part of Termini's plan is to sell the naming rights on Ralph Wilson stadium and use those proceeds to pay off more of the stadium improvement debt. If those rights sell for $4 million a year, that would provide enough money to pay off another $45 million of the stadium debt (plus interest at 4 percent a year).

Selling the naming rights would be a blow to Bills owner Ralph Wilson's ego, but it's the least the Bills owner can do if he's trying to shake down the state and the Buffalo Niagara region for $200 million in upgrades. It's always run pretty hollow that Wilson has complained about how limiting the Buffalo market is financially, while leaving several million dollars a year on the table so he can have a stadium named after himself.

Put those two together, and you've managed to finance $195 million of the $200 million in upgade costs, Termini argues.

Does Termini's proposal have a chance. Probably not. It's too simple and it makes too much sense. But it sure is an interesting thought.

- David Robinson


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:


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:


Exporting can help the bottom line.

From Business Today:


Small businesses hoping to export goods overseas can look to the Export-Import Bank of the United States for help. The Washington, D.C.-based bank is the federal government's export credit agency. It helps small businesses with trade financing they might not be able or willing to get from private lenders. Representatives from the bank were in town this week to visit small businesses in the region, such as Buffalo's Advanced Machine Design, a manufacturer of presses and other equipment.


There are signs of new life at a struggling Amherst country club. Westwood Country Club has added 80 new members since it was sold to its restaurant's owners a month ago. Hopes are high that the influx of new people--and their money--will continue, breathing new life into the club and sparking a financial turnaround. Windows on the Green owners Todd Sugarman and Jon Cohen bought the 67-year-old club for about $3 million and have vowed to get to work on renovations and upgrades. The duo discounted membership rates to bring new people in, but so far have only broken even in terms of membership. The club needs to recruit at least 120 more members if it wants to remain viable.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

I wonder if the Underhills will become members at Westwood?


Trying irony on for size

   In the last few months, Western New York lost the contract to make NBA jerseys but kept New Era Cap.
  Folks in Indiana are still making NFL gear. But, today, the job is a little bitter.
- Indy plant cranking out Saints NFL title shirts - Dana Hunsinger/The Indianopolis Star 
   A mad rush was on Monday to churn out New Orleans Saints Super Bowl champs shirts in an ironic place: Indianapolis.
   But even as employees at the Adidas Group plant on the Eastside mourned their home team's loss, general manager Blake Lundberg couldn't help but smile -- just a bit.
   "From a business standpoint, the Saints' win is tremendous for us," he said. "It will be a very nice long week for us."Amen

 The Super Bowl bin berry, berry good for the newspaper biz, too:
- Picayune printing up more of Super paper - New Orleans Times-Picayune
   Monday's Times-Picayune has already set the record for best-selling newspaper in our 173-year history, and thanks to your love of the Saints we're keeping the presses rolling.

   And, yes, there were a lot of commercials:
- Super Bowl full of ads - AP/Buffalo News
   Think Sunday night’s Super Bowl seemed like it had a lot of ads? You’re right. Commercials took up nearly 48 minutes of the game —the most for any Super Bowl.

   None of them touched this:

- George Pyle/The Buffalo News