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Buffalo, NY - The Erie County Industrial Development Agency today approved a set of new rules to govern incentives for new hotel and motel projects. One of the key provisions is that the project will draw guests from outside Erie County, or act as a driver to aid convention and/or trade show business.

Under the new policy, incentives will be restricted to capital costs for hotel and motel projects meeting the following criteria.

  • It is a new or existing hotel that is substantially renovated in connection with a new or existing convention center and would substantially and directly impact the operations of such a convention center.


  • It is a new or renovated hotel associated with a new conference center that primarily serous out of area users, providing the center has stand alone food service facilities and provides state-of-the0art conference center amenities such as: computers, video conferencing and audio visual capabilities.  The developer would also have to produce a market analysis demonstrating that the primary portion of the conference center's customer would come from outside Erie County.


  • A qualified new hotel would need to be constructed in connection with a major regional destination attraction and the hotel would directly support the attraction's operations.


  • The hotel or motel must be a key component of an Adaptive Reuse Project (ARP) that meets the additional requirements of the ECIDA's ARP policy, or is part of an approved Neighborhood Enhancement Area Project.


While the ECIDA is the first of a group of local IDAs to tighten inducement qualifications for hotels and motels, its leadership has been in contact with the area's other development agencies with the goal of making the new policy part of the Uniform Tax Exemption Policy.  The UTEP was originally adopted in 2001 as an effort to create uniform standards for incentivizing local development projects.


In other action, the ECIDA selected Lumsden & McCormick as its audit firm for the period from 2012 through 2016. A total of nine area accounting firms submitted proposals and Lumsden & McCormick was ranked No. 1 for its governmental and not-for-profit experience.


The selection committee also noted the firm has several other government and agency clients, including the Niagara County IDA, Greater Lockport Development Corporation and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.


The firm, which recently located to downtown Buffalo's historic Cyclorama Building, will earn an average annual audit fee of $60,800 for its work for the ECIDA and related entities. Lumsden & McCormick's proposed fee was also the lowest of the nine submissions, which ranged from a second lowest of $63,447, up to the highest of $136,940.


The ECIDA board also reviewed its recent sale of Synacor stock, which included shares it purchased as part of a venture investment to assist the former start-up technology firm.  Earlier this month, the agency sold a total of 145,000 shares in two batches, averaging a receipt of $7.99 per share, for a total of $1.15 million.


The agency still holds 393,461 shares, which if it chooses to liquidate could bring in an additional $3.1 million if the stock retains its current value.



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