$5 Million in Tax Abatements Approved for Tonawanda Industrial Park

September 16, 2013 Updated Sep 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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$5 Million in Tax Abatements Approved for Tonawanda Industrial Park

September 16, 2013 Updated Sep 17, 2013 at 1:14 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Industrial Development Agency today approved a package of tax abatements to assist construction of an $18.7 million home for Wythe Will Tzetzo, LLC (WWT) food company in the new North Youngmann Commerce Centre, in the Town of Tonawanda.

The 310,000-square-foot facility will serve as WWT’s headquarters as well as a production and warehouse center. The company, which is currently headquartered in Virginia, is a national packager and distributor of branded, unbranded and private label candy, confections and specialty foods. Some of their high-profile brands include: Ghirardelli, Godiva, Jelly Belly and Harry and David.

The ECIDA’s $5.1 million package of real estate, sales and mortgage recording tax abatements will assist WWT and project partner, Williamsville-based Zaepfel Development, create a single local site for the food company, combining operations now housed in leased facilities in Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and Buffalo.

The company, which currently employees 165 full-time and 105 part-time workers, plans to add 20 full-time and 30 part-time staffers when the new facility is up and running.

WWT will also move its corporate Headquarters from Williamsburg, VA to the Two Mile Creek Road site in the Town of Tonawanda. It will retain operations and manufacturing facilities in Virginia, California and Tennessee.

The company gained Erie County ties in 2011 when Wythe Will bought Tzetzo Brothers, Inc., a local confectionery company founded in 1904.

The ECIDA board also reviewed the agency’s proposed 2014 budget. The budget, which totals $2,820,100, is just $109,500 higher than the 2013 version.

The budget, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, includes a conservative approach to agency administrative fee revenue, budgeting for 35 percent less in administrative fees, the agency’s chief source of revenues. The budget calls for project revenues of $1.65 million, down from $2 million in the current year. 2013 revenues were the highest the agency had earned in several years due to major projects such as the HarborCenter at Canalside and the Conventus building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, as well as rehabilitation of the Richardson Complex and Tishman Building.

The 2014 budget shows revenue projections significantly less than 2013, but are in line with the Agency’s 10 year average revenue results.

The ECIDA also budgeted for venture investment reflow at $500,000 significantly lower than the $1.5 million from 2013 volatile nature of those revenues.

In 2014, salaries and benefits for ECIDA staffers will increase by four percent, from $1.76 million to $1.8 million. A large part of that increase will be driven by the hiring of a new CEO and rising health insurance costs.

The board will vote on the budget at its October 21 session.

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