IBM bids reviewed

May 6, 2014 Updated May 6, 2014 at 9:11 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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IBM bids reviewed

May 6, 2014 Updated May 6, 2014 at 9:11 AM EDT


Several bids have been submitted for one of the largest projects in downtown Buffalo's economic development pipeline.

Officials from McGuire Development Co., which is overseeing the efforts by IBM to open a 100,000-square-foot information technology hub in Buffalo confirmed that several bids were submitted by Friday's deadline. The hub, which is expected to begin its earliest phase of operations later this year, could employ as many as 500 people.

McGuire is working on the IBM project in conjunction with Fort Schuyler Management Corp., the state agency that helped develop the massive high tech campus in Albany.

"We are working to analyze each of the responses in light of the needs of Fort Schuyler," said James Dentinger, McGuire president.

Citing confidentiality clauses, Dentinger did not identify any of the submitted bids. It is believed bids were submitted from the owners of the Key Center twin tower project as well at least two Larkin District offers.

"We hope to have a more details on proposed potential locations shortly," Dentinger said. "We focused on locations within and around the downtown core."

Given the stakes, interest is running deep.

According to bid documents, Fort Schuyler and McGuire are looking for bids where the state would own the 100,000-square-feet IBM space. Fort Schuyler would then lease the space to IBM.

Owning is essential, according to the documents.

That means existing building owners must be willing to outright sell a portion of their buildings or agree to an office condominium ownership package. The ownership scenario, most recently, was used with Albany Molecular Research Inc. taking over the seventh floor of the Conventus building in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Also needed is room for, potentially, another 100,000-square-feet of expansion space.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, when he made the IBM announcement in late February, said he wanted a deal put together and IBM preparing to move into the Buffalo site by November. That time frame was spelled out in the bid package.