ESD and NYPA Announce Start of Interior Demolition and Refurbishment for Sugar Refinery at Former Bethlehem Steel Site

March 4, 2021

Sucro Sourcing to Create 55 New Jobs with $19 Million Project 

Empire State Development (ESD) and New York Power Authority (NYPA) today announced that Miami-based sugar cane refiner Sucro Sourcing has begun interior demolition and refurbishment for its sugar refinery at the former Bethlehem Steel Site in Lackawanna. Sucro Sourcing will invest $19 million to transform three abandoned buildings at the site into newly refurbished facilities, including a sugar refinery and warehouses. The project will result in the creation of 55 new full-time jobs over the next three to five years. 

“Like many, my family started in the shadow of the Bethlehem Steel Plant, where my father and grandfather worked and pursued the American dream,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The start of interior demolition and refurbishment at the Bethlehem Steel site by Sucro Sourcing brings hope of a rebirth for a community that has been knocked down, but is making a comeback. New York State continues to reverse the decades-long industrial decline in upstate communities by investing in creating good-paying jobs, reimagining unutilized industrial space and spurring economic investment.”

“Sucro Sourcing is very excited to expand its business in Western New York, and provide unique, innovative, and low-cost sugar supply opportunities to the many food and beverage customers in the Great Lakes area,” said Jonathan Taylor, Founder and CEO of Sucro Sourcing.  “Sucro has grown through entrepreneurial creativity and the support of its customers, and we see the current energy, support and leadership being demonstrated in Western New York as key to the project’s success.” 

Founded in 2014, Sucro Sourcing provides pure refined cane sugar for its many industrial customers. The company’s current operation in Lackawanna not only serves the food industry in upstate New York but also supplies several leading global multinational food companies, thanks to the recent addition of a liquid sugar processing facility. 

 

Sucro’s new facilities will be located on a 12.04-acre site at the Lackawanna Business Park, which will undergo environmental remediation under New York State Department of Environmental Conservation oversight through the New York State Brownfield Cleanup Program.  The expansion project is one of several new developments happening at the Bethlehem site including Time Release Sciences’ relocation project and a proposed new warehouse/manufacturing building to meet the growing regional demand for more industrial space. 

The Sucro project will be completed in phases. When fully operational in 2024, it is expected to produce up to 300,000 metric tons of refined sugar annually. The project includes: 

  • Improvements to land and buildings for storage, logistical operations, sugar refining operations. 
  • Improvements to the port terminal to improve flow of raw material. 
  • Improvements to access roads and rail lines to move finished product out of the facility. 
  • Equipment for the production facility. 
  • Construction of an additional building for storage of raw sugar. 

“New York State’s investment in innovative companies like Sucro Sourcing continues to grow our regional economies,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “This sugar refinery is just one example of how the former Bethlehem Steel site is being reimagined for businesses looking to expand and create long-term jobs and opportunity.”

“The Niagara hydropower allocation to Sucro Sourcing allows the firm long-term security so that it can stay and grow in Western New York,” said John R. Koelmel, NYPA Chairman and Buffalo resident.  “As a good neighbor, NYPA is committed to supporting businesses in the region as we move forward and safely rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Across New York, the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program is ensuring that former contaminated sites like Bethlehem Steel are responsibly cleaned up and put back into productive use,” said Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Today’s announcement is the latest step forward in the sustained transformation of the region’s largest and most identifiable industrial sites into a driver for economic development in this community.” 

Sucro Sourcing will be located at 2303 Hamburg Turnpike in Lackawanna. It is eligible for up to $695,000 in tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for promised job commitments.

The firm was also awarded a 5,000-kilowatt hydropower allocation from the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project in January in support of the project.  Low-cost Niagara hydropower is available for companies within a 30-mile radius of NYPA’s Niagara Power Project or businesses in Chautauqua County. Niagara hydropower is linked to tens of thousands of existing jobs in the region. More information about business growth opportunities supported by NYPA is available on its Economic Development webpage.

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “With the start of this demolition, Western New Yorkers are finally seeing a transformative approach to the former Bethlehem Steel site.  The site was once humming with jobs and economic activity, and now, with this substantial investment from Sucro and other businesses, we’re working our way towards seeing that potential once again.  I look forward to the opportunities that this project will open up for the working men and women of Lackawanna, and I'm pleased to see New York recognizing the importance and impact this will have.”

Assemblyman Jon Rivera said, “After years of stagnation it is exciting to see projects like this breathing new life into Lackawanna and Western New York. The region is on an undeniable trajectory towards smarter growth, evidenced by projects like this.”

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “The expansion of Sucro Sourcing in Lackawanna shows once again how attractive the former Bethlehem steel site is to business, as evidenced by their $19 million private investment there and the creation of 45 new jobs that will be supported by this expansion.  In addition, old and unused buildings on the site are part of this project and will be transformed into modern, accessible business spaces to suit Sucro Sourcing’s expanded needs. This is a win-win and we are excited to see this project begin.”

Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo said, “Sucro Sourcing’s investments at the former Bethlehem Steel site represent huge steps forward in our collective efforts to rebuild Lackawanna’s economy and increase local job opportunities.  Through strong public/private partnerships, this once thriving industrial complex is being reimagined as a modern commerce park capable of breathing new economic life into Lackawanna and Erie County for years to come.”

Find more information about Sucro Sourcing here. 

Contacts:
Pamm Lent (Governor’s office) | [email protected] | 716-846-8309
Laura Magee (ESD) | [email protected] | 716-846-8239