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First Niagara to move headquarters, add jobs

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. is moving its headquarters to downtown Buffalo and will add 300 jobs over the next 12 months, bank officials announced Thursday.

The bank plans to relocate its headquarters to Exchange Street, where it already employs some 250 workers, from its offices on Transit Road in Pendleton, Niagara County, south of  Lockport.

First Niagara will continue to use its Transit Road offices, where it employs 315, and plans to add staff there as well, officials said. The bank has had its headquarters there since 1997.

“We’re pleased to help lead a public-private partnership that will bring jobs, investment and infrastructure improvements to the city of Buffalo, while helping us improve the diversity of our work force and move our headquarters even closer to many commercial customers and leading professional services firms in the Buffalo-Niagara region,” First Niagara president and CEO John Koelmel said in a statement.

First Niagara leased 64,000 square feet of space three years ago at the Exchange Street site. It is expanding to 89,000 square feet on two additional floors in the 10-story office building. A bank branch is in the lobby of the building.

The bank will get a $1.3 million grant from the Empire State Development Corp. to help fund the expansion.

First Niagara employs 2,800 companywide, including 1,100 in Erie and Niagara counties. It employs some 250 in the Rochester market, where it ranks ninth in market share with $490 million in local deposits.

Shares of First Niagara (Nasdaq: FNFG) were trading midday Thursday at $12.48, down 2 percent from Wednesday’s close.

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.


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