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ILDC Board approves Uniland Development Company’s purchase of second parcel on former Bethlehem Steel site

Feb 24, 2022

Aerial Site Plan White with Overlays

Site is adjacent to the first 9.5-acre parcel where Uniland is currently constructing a

150,000 SF manufacturing/warehouse distribution building

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo and Erie County Industrial Land Development Corporation (“ILDC”) Board of Directors approved the sale Wednesday of up to 10.75 acres on the former Bethlehem Steel property, now known as Renaissance Commerce Park (“RCP”) to Uniland Development Company (“Uniland”). The sale represents Uniland’s second purchase on the site. Uniland plans to build a second 170,000 square foot manufacturing/warehouse distribution building at RCP,  on the parcel adjacent to its first spec building currently under construction at the corner of Route 5 and Dona Street.

“Momentum is building at the Renaissance Commerce Park in the City of Lackawanna, and business is realizing that this location is an ideal spot to grow and prosper in Erie County. I thank Uniland for their decision to invest further in this expanding site, building our economy and reinvigorating this community,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. The County Executive serves as the Board Chair of the ILDC, which is the land development arm of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

According to the purchase agreement approved by the ILDC Board on Wednesday, Uniland will initiate construction of a 170,000 square foot manufacturing/warehouse distribution building within the next 18 months.  Uniland expects to invest in excess of $20 million on the new site’s development, including approximately $200,000 for the purchase of the parcel. This is in addition to Uniland’s investment of approximately $17 million for construction of the first manufacturing/warehouse distribution facility on the Dona Street Extension.

“Uniland’s continued investment in Renaissance Commerce Park is a reflection of the work done by New York State, the City of Lackawanna, the ECIDA, ILDC and specifically the vision of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz,” highlighted Uniland CEO Michael J. Montante. “We have seen strong demand for our first manufacturing/warehouse building at 8 Dona Street which is scheduled to open in Summer 2022, and this has given us further confidence that RCP will continue to be a destination for future industrial users in our region.”

“The ILDC is pleased to partner once again with Uniland to increase their development footprint at Renaissance Commerce Park,” said ILDC President and CEO John Cappellino. “These development milestones are the result of very hard work by many organizations. We are working together toward a common goal—the total transformation of this site, creating economic growth and opportunity for our community,” Cappellino added.

Uniland is the first developer and second private business to invest in the new RCP site; local manufacturer TMP Technologies (“TMP”) purchased 28 acres in 2020, and completed construction in 2021 on their new 280,000-square foot manufacturing facility on the Dona Street Extension just west of the Uniland parcels.

“Uniland’s second large investment in Renaissance Commerce Park is a tremendous vote of confidence in the collective progress we’re making to bring new, sustainable economic activity and employment opportunities to Lackawanna and Erie County,” said Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo.

“We’re honored to have one of the region’s premier development partners be an integral part of the redevelopment success story unfolding on this historic industrial site in Lackawanna. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Erie County, the ECIDA and others in the public and private sector to build Renaissance Commerce Park into a premier light industrial commerce park,” added Iafallo.

Since 2012, Erie County and the ILDC have led a group including the City of Lackawanna, the ECIDA, site owner Tecumseh Steel, National Grid, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development and many other community stakeholders to acquire and develop 148 acres along Route 5 into what is now Renaissance Commerce Park. The ILDC Board’s approval of this second Uniland purchase means nearly a third of Renaissance Commerce Park is sold for development.

“The property purchase by Uniland is just one of many projects that signal a bright future for the long-vacant former Bethlehem Steel complex,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight.  “New York State and ESD have paved the way for the site’s economic rebirth by providing critical funding for the acquisition and redevelopment of the property.”

Efforts continue in marketing the remaining acreage to site selectors and businesses and expanding the site’s footprint. The ILDC closed on an additional 30 acres just south of Dona Street in late 2021, and negotiations are underway for the purchase of 60 more adjacent acres slated for Renaissance Commerce Park redevelopment. The new acreage will also allow ILDC to extend the Shoreline Path Bike Trail along Route 5 southward to Woodlawn Beach.

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