BUFFALO - Delaware North Companies has filed an application with the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to receive a sales tax abatement and other incentives to remain in downtown Buffalo, claiming in writing that "there are compelling business reasons" for the company to relocate to other areas of the country if it does not receive tax breaks.
A public hearing at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday will discuss Delaware North's application, which concerns the company's potential move from the Key Center to the planned 250 Delaware building at the corner of Delaware and Chippewa. Relocation to the new downtown building would retain 350 jobs, create 65 new ones and keep a world-renowned company -- which is owned by billionaire Jeremy Jacobs and his family -- in Western New York.
As a tenant of Uniland, the landlord and developer of the property, Delaware North noted that both companies have "simultaneously" submitted applications, and that "neither DNC nor Landlord will proceed independently with the project unless both applications for financial assistance are considered simultaneously for approval by ECIDA." In its application, Delaware North requested a sales tax abatement on "building materials, equipment and leasehold improvements," as well as grant money.
In a statement sent to 2 On Your Side on Monday, Delaware North reaffirmed its commitment to staying in Buffalo. However, in the application dated Oct. 17, the company offered options for relocation if the terms of its application are not approved.
"Other metropolitan areas like Boston have a younger demographic pool of talent to draw from that could help Delaware North support its planned growth... Delaware North's potential deal with Uniland for lease of space at 250 Delaware is specifically condition on receipt of a satisfactory package of incentives," the application reads.
The company continued to outline these alternative spots for relocation, which include other areas of the United States with "significant business operations" for Delaware North.
"There are compelling business reasons why Delaware North should be headquartered in other strategically important areas like Massachusetts, Florida or California," the application reads.
In its statement, though, the company claims it does not wish to leave the area.
"As we have consistently said, Delaware North Companies is a family business committed to keeping its headquarters in downtown Buffalo," the statement reads. "And while alternatives exist, as they would with any global company, our desire is to keep our current headquarters operations in Buffalo intact and to position ourselves to expand our presence in Buffalo in the future as opportunities for growth present themselves."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also issued a statement about the application for tax incentives.
"Delaware North has long been a prominent and valued member of our local business community, and my administration has been discussing various issues with them for the past several weeks to not only keep its headquarters in Buffalo but to grow their local workforce," Poloncarz said. "It is our hope that the process will result in an outcome that is fair and equitable to all, ensures that any tax incentives provided are pursuant to current Erie County Industrial Development Agency policies, and that Delaware North stays here in Erie County."