Bethune Hall incentives approved

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 7:22 AM EDT

By James Fink - Business First

July 19, 2011 Updated Jul 19, 2011 at 7:22 AM EDT

The last piece of the financing puzzle has fallen in place for redevelopment of Bethune Hall into an upscale apartment complex.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has unanimously approved an incentive package for a Ciminelli Real Estate Corp. affiliate that is undertaking the $15.5 million project.

Ciminelli, which acquired the nearly century-old Main Street building, plans to develop the five-story structure into 87 apartments. Bethune Hall, once home to the Buffalo Meter Co., is located next to Bennett High School.

"Ciminelli will be bringing people back into the city and adding to our tax base," said Fillmore District Councilman David Franczyk, who is also Buffalo Common Council president and an ECIDA director.

The incentives, which could total $2.6 million in property, sales and mortgage-recording-tax savings, are necessary to make the project financially viable, officials said.

The first units should be ready for occupancy next year.

Also approved by the IDA:

• Future Mobility Products Inc. of Mississauga was granted a series of breaks and incentives that helped convince the company to open its first U.S. operation in the 106,000-square-foot One Buffalo River Place building. Future Mobility will lease 35,000 square feet in the building.

Future Mobility makes wheelchairs, walkers and related products for those with mobility issues. It plans to invest $2 million in its Buffalo startup operations, hiring 16 people initially.

• Derrick Manufacturing of Cheektowaga was approved to lease 55,000 square feet from Benderson Development Co. in a warehouse complex along Broadway.

• ACE Insurance's plans to lease 15,565 square feet in Uniland Development Co.'s Airborne Business Park for a back-office operation was also approved by the IDA board.

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