Brunner is weighing $15M expansion, 43 new jobs in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 December 2013 at 12:00 am

NY approves low-cost power for company to grow in Orleans

(Editor’s note: This article has been updated from an earlier version.)

MEDINA – A Medina company will receive 2.4 megawatts of low-cost electricity as part of a $15 million expansion project that will add 43 jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today.

The New York Power Authority approved the low-cost hydropower allocation for Brunner International. The company is considering a 45,000-square-foot addition to expand the production of machined axle forgings that are sold to large, heavy-duty truck and trailer suppliers.

Brunner hasn’t committed to project yet and is weighing locations in other states for the expansion, said Jim Whipple, chief executive officer for the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

The power allocation makes Medina a more enticing site for the project, he said.

“This is not a done deal but it certainly helps,” Whipple said about the power allocation. “Brunner is weighing all the issues.”

Brunner, located at the corner of Bates Road and Route 31, has been a longtime hydropower customer for NYPA.

The state also approved a $750,000 incentive package under Empire State Development’s Excelsior Jobs Program and additional tax incentives are expected from the Orleans County Economic Development Agency if the company commits to the expansion in Medina.

Brunner completed a 41,250-square-foot expansion about five years ago that added 50 jobs in Medina.

Brunner is one of three growing companies in Western New York approved for the cheap electricity, according to the governor’s annoucement today. The hydropower is available to companies within 30 miles of the power plant in Lewiston. Medina is at the far end of the eligible territory.

Ford Motor Company will receive 1 megawatt in support of its plans to invest $150 million in its 63-year-old Hamburg stamping facility, located just outside Buffalo. Ford will upgrade equipment and add 10 new assembly lines.

The company will commit to creating 350 new positions at its facility above its current employment of 640 as a result of the expansion, with startup of the new equipment and assembly lines by the end of 2014, according to the governor’s announcement.
Gracious Living USA will receive 3.7 megawatts to renovate and refurbish four abandoned buildings on 50 acres of property in Buffalo to open an injection molding manufacturing facility and warehouse. The Canadian company wants to establish a greater presence in the U.S. for its resin-based furniture and other plastic products. The new facilities will lead to the creation of 250 jobs.

“Today’s low-cost hydropower allocations are a major win for Western New York, helping to create more than 600 new jobs, while reducing business costs to support the manufacturing industry,” Cuomo said. “As we grow the manufacturing sector in Western New York, the state will continue to leverage these kinds of investments to strengthen the local economy.”

State Sen. George Maziarz praised the power allocations for the companies.

“Ford Motor Company employs many Western New Yorkers and this award will expand that number exponentially,” Maziarz said. “I am also pleased that Brunner International in Medina will benefit from the excellent programs NYPA provides businesses, as it will continue to grow Orleans County’s largest private-sector employer.”