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National Grid: More than $1.9 million to aid 8 Western New York projects


Mon, Mar 27th 2023 11:45 am

National Grid, through its robust suite of economic development programs, is providing more than $1.9 million to support eight projects, including Thermo Fisher’s Grand Island expansion, Westminster Economic Development Initiative’s move to a new location, Sonwil Distribution Co’s. multimillion-dollar warehouse, Pine Pharmaceutical Inc.’s Tonawanda expansion, plus restorations of buildings in Lackawanna and Buffalo.

“Whether commercial developers are looking to grow their businesses or revitalize areas of a community, National Grid has a history of providing support through our economic development programs,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “Projects like those at Thermo Fisher, Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Sonwil and Pine Pharmaceutical represent opportunities to grow longstanding Western New York businesses, while other rejuvenated buildings will provide a new mix of commercial and residential space.”

The projects receiving funding include:

•Thermo Fisher launches $76 million expansion, awarded $500,000 grant: For the expansion of life science company Thermo Fisher’s Grand Island facility, National Grid is providing a $500,000 economic development grant through the company’s electric capital investment incentive program. This program offsets costs associated with utility infrastructure upgrades to accommodate business expansion.

•WEDI receives $375,000 from two separate National Grid programs: In August, Westminster Economic Development Initiative broke ground on a $11.5 million project at 1432 Niagara St., Buffalo, where its small business incubator, West Side Bazaar, will be relocated. National Grid supported the project with $350,000 from two separate programs.

The first grant – in the amount of $250,000 – was made through the company’s main street revitalization program, which assists communities that are investing in central business districts and commercial corridors. Located at 25 Grant St., Buffalo, the bazaar supports refugees and immigrants, and teaches entrepreneurs how to run businesses. The project also received a $100,000 grant through National Grid’s “Project C” initiative.

WEDI also was the recipient of a separate $25,000 main street revitalization program grant to convert a vacant house, at 2256 Bailey Ave., into new office space. The house was purchased by Harmac Medical Products Inc. and donated to WEDI.

•Lackawanna warehouse project receives $300,000 grant: At Renaissance Commerce Park, on the site of a former brownfield, Uniland Development Co. has developed a new, $17.3 million, 151-200-square-foot distribution/manufacturing facility.

“Grants such as the one awarded by National Grid for Uniland’s warehouse at 8 Dona St., in Lackawanna, are critical to unlocking new economic activity,” Uniland CEO Michael Montante said. “When a property sits vacant, it’s assessed at the lowest taxable rate and isn’t generating much to the municipality. In contrast, new development generates a wave of economic activity. As one prominent client comes to a site, others follow. This spurs economic activity and a larger tax base for the local community and broader region. We commend National Grid for their role in growing our region.”

•Sonwil Distribution adds new warehouse: Sonwil’s new, $52 million, 335,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center, at 283 Ship Canal Parkway in Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, will allow the company to grow and attract clients from around the world. For this project, National Grid provided a $281,000 economic development grant through its electric capital investment incentive program.

•Pine Pharmaceuticals receives $111,000 grant: To support Pine Pharmaceutical LLC’s $8.6 million, 50,000-square-foot Tonawanda manufacturing facility expansion, National Grid provided an electric capital investment grant in the amount of $111,000.

•Two Vacant Hertel Avenue building redevelopments receive grants: A $300,000 brownfield redevelopment program grant was provided to 356 Hertel Ave. LLC, which will convert the former John Kam Malt House into a mixed-use property. When complete, the vacant building will include 80 apartments, a storage unit and 14,000-square-feet of retail space.

The brownfield redevelopment program provides grants to fund utility-related infrastructure improvements and cover other costs to redevelop a brownfield site or vacant building.

•Elsewhere, a project to revitalize a vacant building, at 1510 Hertel Ave., is receiving a $25,000 National Grid economic development grant.

“With National Grid’s support, we were able to completely transform and restore our building on Hertel Avenue,” 1510 Hertel LLC Owner Jon Spitz said. “What previously was a dull and closed-off storefront is now a bright and vibrant example of what is possible with historic preservation.”

•Residential, commercial space to occupy historic Elmwood Avenue building: A project to restore a fire-damaged building and garage, at 1076 Elmwood Ave., was awarded a $50,000 National Grid economic development grant. Deco Development and Management LLC will use it to offset costs related to rehab the building, which is listed on the Elmwood West National Register Historic District. When complete, the first floor will be converted to commercial space. Apartments will be added to the second and third floors.

The projects at 1510 Hertel Ave., and 1076 Elmwood Ave., received funding through National Grid’s main street revitalization program.

National Grid’s Economic Development Programs

National Grid’s economic development grant program aligns with the company’s “Project C” initiative, which is designed as a collaborative effort with customers and community leaders to positively impact sustainability, neighborhood and community investment, and workforce development.

Since 2003, National Grid’s 18 economic development programs have provided more than $145 million in assistance, helping to create or retain more than 65,000 jobs, and supporting almost $10.5 billion in private and public investment across upstate New York. More information about National Grid’s suite of programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

Additionally, National Grid provides economic development support during the pandemic through its manufacturing productivity program. The program fast-tracks economic development requests to assist businesses that transitioned their facilities to produce critical medical equipment and supplies needed to fight COVID-19. The company also has committed resources and funding to assist families and customers who were impacted by the pandemic.

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