The Town of Tonawanda is taking steps to take over the former Huntley Plant on River Road through eminent domain.
The plant, owned by NRG Energy, shut down more than two years ago. It’s been on the real estate market since early 2018.
Town Supervisor Joe Emminger says he wants to redevelop the site. He’s concerned blight will overtake the waterfront property if it continues to sit vacant.
“If it sits there any longer it’s just going to get worse, it’s not going to get any better by just sitting there. There’s a demand for that kind of space in the Town of Tonawanda and that is a driving factor. We need to take the steps that we’re taking, we don’t want to take the steps that we’re going through here, nobody wants to go through this,” said Emminger.
A spokesperson for NRG Energy says the town has never even approached the company about acquiring the land.
Right now, NRG is focused on selling the property.
“Huntley and NRG object to the proposed taking of its property. The town’s actions in this regard will likely dissuade current prospective buyers from continuing negotiations with NRG,” said Mark McNamara, counsel for Huntley Power LLC and NRG Energy, Inc.
Emminger says he wants to protect jobs for the two companies that draw raw water from the Niagara River. The companies use the Huntley Station intake and screening facilities despite the retirement of the station in 2016. NRG says they are working with both companies to coordinate a long-term solution to their water needs.
While a price tag has never been disclosed, Emminger says the town has or will have financial resources to acquire the site.
The town currently has no plan for re-developing the property.
A public hearing was held on Monday to get public input on the potential acquisition. Members of the public can continue to make comments in writing to the town through the end of December.