Agreement reached on State purchase of city-owned property for development of Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend
$225 million State investment leverages $1.5 billion in private investments, creates 850 permanent jobs and at least 500 construction jobs
Albany, NY (January 27, 2014)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached between the State and the City of Buffalo for the purchase of 88 acres of city-owned property, which will host the development of the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend. The State will build a state-of-the-art anchor hub facility for high-tech and green energy businesses at the site. Governor Cuomo had announced earlier that the State will invest $225 million from the Buffalo Billion, attracting two California-based progressive, high-tech energy companies, Soraa and Silevo, that will collectively invest $1.5 billion into the project and establish their major operations in Buffalo, creating 850 permanent jobs and at least 500 construction jobs and attracting additional manufacturing companies to the site. RiverBend is the site of a former Republic Steel manufacturing facility.
The MOU establishes the terms of the sale of the property from the City of Buffalo via the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation to the Fort Schuyler Management Corporation, a not-for-profit entity created by the State to manage property transactions on behalf of the SUNY Research Foundation.
“This agreement marks swift progress by the State in acquiring the RiverBend property and carrying out the exciting redevelopment of the former steel manufacturing site into a state-of-the-art clean energy innovation hub,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are now poised to bring about one of the most dramatic developments in Buffalo’s history. With cutting edge technology, hundreds of good-paying jobs, and the attraction of dynamic 21st Century high-tech companies, RiverBend will further strengthen the city’s and region’s continuing economic revival.”
City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “The MOU is a significant step in bringing the $1.7 billion RiverBend project to Buffalo's burgeoning waterfront. I want to once again thank Governor Cuomo for his dedication, focus and continuing to play a key role in Buffalo's economic growth. I'm also proud to say that this agreement protects the taxpayers of our city and provides more business and job opportunities for city residents.”
The MOU includes an agreed to sale price of $2.5 million; a partnership with the city to develop a Community Development Agreement that includes where appropriate MWBE participation consistent with established state practices; and permitting the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organization access to the property for a continuing federally-funded shoreline restoration project along the Buffalo River, which flows through the development site.
Soraa is a California-based manufacturer of green LED lighting with the highest efficiency on the market. The company will relocate its corporate R&D and manufacturing operations to RiverBend, investing $750 million and creating 375 jobs. Silevo is a California-based company that develops and manufactures silicon solar cells and modules, with an already established manufacturing plant in China. Phase 1 of Silevo’s project, with a $750 million investment which will create at least 475 jobs, involves a 200 megawatt production facility establishing its sole North American manufacturing operations at RiverBend.
New York State will invest $225 million in Empire State Development (ESD) capital to establish infrastructure at the site including water, sewer, utility and roads; construct a state-owned 275,000 square feet facility that will house Soraa and Silevo as the first two tenants; and purchase and own equipment. Neither company is receiving direct funding from the State’s investment. Additional facilities will be built over time to accommodate new manufacturing companies operating in the field of biotech, high tech and green energy. The facilities and equipment will be owned by the State University of New York (SUNY) Research Foundation. Area colleges and universities, including SUNY Buffalo, will also benefit from the partnership and contribute to the project’s future growth.
It is expected that a designated developer will be announced soon and that a groundbreaking for construction will occur in the spring. Occupancy of the new facilities is targeted for the second quarter of 2015.