B  U  F  F  A  L  O     N  E  W  S        buffalonews.com

Updated: 04/21/09 07:54 AM

Life Technologies expects expansion to draw new work

ECIDA approves new incentives for five projects

By Matt Glynn

Life Technologies expects an $8 million expansion and renovation of its Grand Island plant will usher in additional work from within the company.

The project will include a $4.7 million addition to the existing facility on Staley Road and renovations to other parts of the plant valued at $1.2 million, according to the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. The company also plans to spend about $2 million on new equipment and other expenses.

The ECIDA’s board on Monday approved $2.5 million in tax breaks to support the project. The Staley Road operation, known as Invitrogen prior to a merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems, makes cell culture products for pharmaceutical and biotech research.

The expansion and renovation are not expected to add jobs to Life Technologies’ 500-member work force on Grand Island, according to the ECIDA.

The agency said the project will enable the plant to attract additional manufacturing operations from another division within the company. That work, presently handled out of state, was initially planned to be moved to a different out-of-state location. But with the expansion, the work can be brought to Grand Island instead, the agency said.

The board on Monday approved incentives for a total of five business and housing projects, including Life Technologies. Combined, the incentives are worth $5.8 million and the projects are estimated at $40.7 million.

Board members approved about $554,000 in incentives to support the conversion of the former Alling & Cory warehouse on North Division Street into an 88-apartment complex for college students. The $16.6 million project is led by AC Lofts LLC, a corporation formed by Schneider Design, Architects.

Work is expected to get under way this summer, with plans to have the complex ready to house students in fall 2010, said Jake Schneider, the developer. Schneider said the apartments will cater to students from Erie Community College’s city campus as well as other area colleges.

“This is a challenging project with the lending market the way it is now,” Schneider said.

Costanzo’s Bakery was approved for about $1.3 million in tax breaks as it roughly doubles the size of its Cheektowaga operation. The $3.75 million expansion is expected to add six jobs to Costanzo’s payroll.

Clover Management’s $11 million plan to replace the vacant former Brighton Elementary School in the Town of Tonawanda with affordable senior housing was granted about $1.2 million in tax breaks by the ECIDA. Plans call for the former school to be demolished and a three-story complex to replace it. Construction could begin by early summer.

Casa Shelby Development LLC, led by Anthony LoRusso, was given $223,000 in tax breaks by the board to back its $1.1 million renovation of a vacant three-story building at 250 Virginia St. into apartments.