Buffalo Niagara EnterpriseBNE personnel first met with Norampac officials in 2005 to discuss the possibility of an expansion in the Buffalo Niagara region. The project hibernated, and wasn’t rekindled until the 2008 New York-Quebec Economic Summit in Montreal. It was there that an entirely new crew of BNE and Norampac representatives discussed the company’s desire to build a new facility that would construct new corrugated box products from recycled fibers. With 43 operating units throughout the world the company could have sited this project anywhere, and engaged a global site selection consultant to conduct a worldwide search.
The company’s commitment to environmentally friendly policies and green practices dictated their desire to locate the project on a former brownfield site, which in turn posed challenges in ensuring the overall affordability. The new process was going to be extremely energy and water intensive, so low-cost hydropower became an important component, along with a reliable water supply and sufficient wastewater capacity. Gap financing was also an issue.
BNE staff assisted the company with site selection, utilities, workforce and access to and coordination of incentives. Our ability to convince the company of the viability of building on land they currently owned in Niagara Falls was a total team effort. Empire State Development narrowed the financing bridge for the company by ensuring the eligibility and delivery of brownfield tax credits and credits pledged to the company prior to the expiration of the former Empire Zone program. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency helped make the project more manageable through a payment in lieu of taxes arrangement and sales and mortgage recording tax abatements. Energy costs were minimized through a 10 megawatt hydropower allocation and a capital investment. National Grid also provided a capital investment/utility infrastructure grant. In one of the final pieces to come together, the City of Niagara Falls Water Board was able to address all water and wastewater treatment concerns.What amounted to six years of persistence on the part of BNE has resulted in a new company named Greenpac that will invest $430 million and create 108 new manufacturing jobs in the City of Niagara Falls. Greenpac’s employment will indirectly be supported by an additional 130 jobs across the region resulting in an estimated combined wage and benefit impact of over$13.5 million annually. The total value of the goods and services produced by these 238 jobs is estimated to be approximately $63.8 million annually. The company hopes to break ground in late second or early third quarter of 2011.