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June 18, 2004
North America Center Wins Shovel-Ready Certification Status

Erie County's North America Center business park has been awarded Shovel-Ready Site Certification status. An official Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, June 25, 2004 at 3:00 pm. The ceremony will occur at one of the park's newest tenant's headquarters and distribution facility, Certo Brothers Distributing Company, 2500 North America Drive, West Seneca, NY 14224.

The New York State Shovel Ready Certification is bestowed upon sites that have been determined to be ready for new development and job creation. Sponsors of Shovel-Ready sites have worked cooperatively with state and local officials to gain the necessary approvals for the site to be developed. Each site certified "Shovel Ready" is reviewed to match the needs of growing industries and commercial interests. Shovel Ready Certification from New York State is recognized by site selection consultants and real estate executives as an industry-wide mark of excellence.

New York's Shovel-Ready Site Certification program is administered jointly by Empire State Development (ESD) and the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR). Participating permitting agencies include the Departments of Environmental Conservation; Transportation; and Parks and Recreation.

"We are very honored to receive the Shovel-Ready Site Certification status; however, if it wasn't for the collaborative efforts of our public/private team, this award would not have been possible. We sincerely hope that this designation will not be taken lightly and will assist our team in attracting industry and jobs to what, in our opinion, is the best business park in Western New York," commented Mr. Drew Blum, Director of Real Estate and Business Development for North America Center Joint Venture (NACJV).

North America Center is located in Erie County, New York, in the Town of West Seneca. Owned by The Allied Group and Nanco Enterprises, Inc., it originally featured 400 developable acres. North America Center is now closing in on over one million square feet of occupied space situated on over 100 acres of developed lots. It features easy access to the Route 400 Expressway and the New York Thruway, an expedited permit process, high-capacity utility infrastructure, and a centralized storm water management system.

"This important Shovel-Ready Certification is the latest achievement in our efforts to make North America Center as attractive for development as possible. The benefits of our efforts are already appearing, as projects built at North America Center thus far have created or retained over 1,100 jobs and resulted in over $95 million in capital investment. By flattening the process and timeline growing businesses must navigate to evaluate this site and then gain the necessary development approvals, we have put North America Center ahead of the competition right from the start of a site selection process. The Shovel Ready Certification expedites the development of projects and lessens risks, which are both critical, cost-saving strengths when time equals money," commented Mr. Paul T. Clark, Supervisor, Town of West Seneca.

The Shovel-Ready Site Certification application was prepared by the West Seneca Development Corporation (WSDC), the local economic development organization, with assistance from NACJV. This Certification is the most recent effort in preparing and documenting the site's pre-permitted status. In 1998, North America Center was named a finalist, and was awarded funding, under the Chip Fab '98 Program (later renamed Semi-NY), the State's first program targeted pre-permitting sites to serve as a catalyst for economic development. The Erie County Industrial Development Agency, the WSDC, and an array of state and local agencies worked together to complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and pre-permit significant impacts involving traffic, energy consumption, air emissions, building bulk and density, and other impacts.

ESD Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, "Since taking office, Governor Pataki has implemented record tax cuts and sensible policies that have helped create new, private sector jobs. The positive response to the Build Now-NY program is a terrific endorsement of the Governor's successes. The new Shovel Ready Site Certification program will assist in revitalizing New York State's economy and will provide these sites with an important edge on the competition."

GORR Director Daniel D. Hogan said, "Governor Pataki's policies of cutting governmental red tape and pre-permitting economic development sites has already helped fuel New York State's economic revitalization. Shovel Ready Certification is another business-friendly, common-sense, job-creating tool which will ensure New York State retains its competitive edge in the global marketplace."

The March 2004 issue of Site Selection magazine reported that New York State remains at a solid second in the nation in attracting new and expanded corporate facilities. In 2003, New York attracted 552 projects and expansions, compared with only 75 in 1994 when the state placed a disappointing 20th.

Drew Blum, Director of Real Estate & Business Development
(716) 894-4400

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