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AMHERST, NY-The struggling Upstate New York economy is getting a shot in the arm from Citigroup. The financial services firm is planning to more than double its work force in the region and has committed to build a new 150,000-sf office building near its existing operations housed at CrossPoint Business Park here.

“Investments like Citi’s speaks to the strengthening economic conditions in Western New York,” says Gov. Eliot Spitzer, in a statement. “Not only are they staying in New York, but they are building their operations because they recognize the value of our highly skilled work force.”Citigroup expects to create as many as 700 new jobs at its new facilities in Amherst. A few months ago Citigroup executives said they planned to add several hundred jobs at the CrossPoint Business Park property. The new building will have the capacity to house 1,000 workers.

“Expanding our operations in this region makes infinite sense for Citi,” says Hans Morris, CFO and head of operations and technology for Citigroup’s markets and banking division, in a statement. “We have an extremely strong, effective management team in place and there is a wealth of well-educated, motivated and hardworking talent in this area, with very diverse skills and backgrounds. We have had a very successful tenure here already and I’m confident this is an ideal area for us to continue building our operations.”

Citigroup’s markets and banking division will add positions in finance, capital markets and banking operations, risk and compliance and global transaction services at its Amherst operations. The positions will range from entry-level to senior management positions, company officials say.

The financial services firm accepted a $1.75-million economic development package from ESDC from its Jobs NOW program. Specifically, it will receive $1.5 million for the construction of the new facility and the creation of 500 jobs and will be eligible for an additional $250,000 if it adds another 150 jobs by January 2012, state officials say.

In addition, the firm received preliminary approval of its request for “Regionally Significant Project” designation under the Empire Zones program. After receiving state and local approvals, it is anticipated that the successful application will result in approximately $13 million in Empire Zone tax credits over 10 years for Citigroup.

Citigroup employs more than 33,000 in New York State, including 27,400 in New York City, 750 in Buffalo/Amherst, and more than 4,000 workers in Rochester, Long Island and Westchester County.

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