NCIDA to help Wurlitzer project

April 14, 2014 Updated Apr 14, 2014 at 8:44 AM EDT

April 14, 2014 Updated Apr 14, 2014 at 8:44 AM EDT

For the first time in recent memory, the Wurlitzer Industrial Park will be getting a significant makeover as its owners hope to attract new tenants to the former musical instruments factory.

A series of incentives, set to be approved by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency next month, will help clear the path of the proposed $1.240 million renovation project proposed by the complex's owners, Tom and Jane Austen. The NCIDA directors formally accepted the Austen's application for assistance on April 9.

According to documents supplied to the industrial development agency, Austen plans to do extensive renovations to the plant's second and third floors. In all, some 130,000-square-feet of space in the building will be renovated.

The owners expect the work will create up to 30 new jobs, each with average annual salary of $30,000. Currently 275 people work in the former Wurlitzer organ factory, located at 908 Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda.

Plans also call for a new parking lot to better serve employees and visitors.

"It is just as important to keep existing infrastructure and office space as up to date as possible as it is to provide incentives for new builds," said Henry Sloma, Niagara County Industrial Development Agency chairman. "In this instance these upgrades and improvements will not only help retain existing companies at the industrial park who employ almost 300 residents in the local community, but also immediately creates new jobs and the potential for even more new jobs once the renovations have been made."

The application for assistance includes mortgage, property and sales tax exemptions as well as a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes package.

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