Tagged: development corp

Cambria brownfield site eyed for strawberry greenhouse | News

Something sweeter is planned for the future of a former Cambria junkyard.

NF Lockport LLC, a subsidiary of Northern Farms in partnership with Netafim and Orbia, plans to build a greenhouse and warehouse at 5222 Junction Road, Cambria, remediating the brownfield site in the process.

Northern Farms spokesperson Evan Coleman and attorney Chris Canada of Hodgson Russ, speaking via phone at this week’s Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board meeting, stated that the crops grown there will be mainly for the New England market. Northern Farms said it has no intention of growing cannabis in the greenhouse due to company policy of not investing in it.

The 30-acre site, across the railroad tracks from Cambria Asphalt, would house a 25-acre greenhouse and a 100,000-square foot warehouse. Strawberries will be the main crop; other fruits and vegetables could be grown there as well.

Coleman explained that strawberries in New England supermarkets prior to COVID-19 were brought in from California, Florida and Mexico. There were already logistical challenges in moving the crop that distance due to its brief shelf life.

“We looked at starting to do this about five years ago,” Coleman said, adding that he knew a group of people from Fidelity Investments who built backyard farms that became 42 acres of greenhouses in Maine. “It was a successful project employing over 250 people and contributes quite a bit to the local tax base.”

That led Northern Farms to get involved with Netafim, an Israel irrigation equipment manufacturer looking to be a larger player in greenhouse spaces.

The soil at the former scrapyard is contaminated with heavy metals, lead and oil. It has been vacant for more than 20 years and the former owners owe Niagara County more than $600,000 in taxes. The country transferred the tax lien to the Niagara

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St. Louis Development Corp. spends millions to market area

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Development Corp. has always had a clear mission: Draw private investment and stimulate growth in the city of St. Louis. Now it’s adding image control to its responsibilities.

The agency has spent $2 million on marketing contracts that its new leader, Neal Richardson, said are meant to highlight the good that’s happening here and offset the headlines about crime and mayhem that can scare off new business.

“We want to change that narrative, shift that narrative and elevate those positive stories,” Richardson said. “So when businesses are thinking about St. Louis, they’re not just seeing some of the challenges that we have, but they see some of the opportunities that St. Louis presents to them, for their businesses, for their employees.”

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The $2 million in contracts have been awarded to an outside company, Kansas City-based Candid, to develop a marketing plan that includes TV spots, billboards and a new website.

Richardson has likened the marketing contracts, as well as other contracts that have also drawn scrutiny, to deferred maintenance of a house. They will modernize the agency, eliminate bottlenecks and improve production, he said.

But SLDC has faced criticism, including from Alderwoman Cara Spencer who sits on the SLDC board, for the amount of money Candid has received for work that previously fell to SLDC employees. Others have questioned the lack of transparency behind some of the contracts, and the awarding of the work to a Kansas City firm to tell the St. Louis development story.

In addition, the agency’s metrics for determining whether the money has been well spent are based on business attraction and retention — factors that other organizations like Greater St.

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