Funding Supports 24 Projects to Create 1,524 Jobs and Retain 2,009 more
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $181 million in economic development funding has been approved for 24 projects that are spurring growth and opportunity in nine regions of the state. The funding, approved by Empire State Development’s Board of Directors, supports projects that are creating 1,524 new jobs and retaining 2,009 existing New York State jobs – many of which have already been created or retained. This funding will also leverage more than $5 billion in private assets and other public funding to support local businesses and projects that are building a strong foundation for future economic growth and job creation.
“This funding is part of this administration’s ongoing efforts to create new opportunities for companies and workers all across New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “By investing in these projects, we are jumpstarting local development priorities, attracting new businesses that create jobs, and helping to rebuild New York’s economy. “
“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are making targeted investments to support key projects and initiatives that are boosting local economies statewide,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Zemsky. “Whether it’s helping critical employers expand or remain in New York, encouraging regional tourism, aiding local communities through infrastructure improvements or supporting strategic industry growth, these projects are strengthening economies and communities from New York City to the North Country.”
Central New York Region
Cayuga Marketing (Cayuga County) – $2,500,000
Cayuga Marketing, LLC, an association of dairy producers located in Central New York, will use a grant of up to $2,500,000 for a portion of the cost to purchase machinery and equipment for the construction of a new dairy processing facility.
Cayuga Marketing, LLC consists of 26 members working together to collectively bargain for high milk prices and low farm input prices. In order to achieve these goals, the association created Cayuga Milk Ingredients, LLC to construct a locally-based processing plant that uses milk from farms within 30 miles of the facility. In order to secure financing for the project, the company applied for financial assistance through Round 1 of the Regional Council CFA process and was awarded a $2,500,000 capital grant and up to $1,500,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits.
The processing facility has been operating at full capacity since January 2015, and is capable of processing 1,800,000 pounds of whole raw milk per day. The facility’s dairy products will not only displace foreign imports of dairy ingredients, but will also be exported to new emerging markets in Europe, Oceania and Asia. As a result of the project, the company pledged to create 52 new jobs. It has already created 55 new jobs, exceeding its employment commitment.
Central New York Biotech Accelerator (Onondaga County) – $500,000
The Research Foundation for the State University of New York (SUNY RF), a private not-for-profit educational corporation that administers externally funded contracts and grants for and on behalf of the State University of New York, will use a grant of up to $500,000 on behalf of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to cover a portion of the costs to purchase and install instruments and equipment for use by biotech incubator tenants and various university collaborators.
Established in 2013, the Accelerator is a facility and program built with the direct support and in partnership with the Research Foundation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and SUNY Upstate Medical University, and promotes the commercialization of biotech and life science technologies centered in the bio-medical and bio-technology areas. The Accelerator is the region’s first incubator dedicated to commercializing medical and industrial biotechnologies, and it will draw on the environmental, bio-industrial, bio-research and medical specialization of SUNY RF, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and it’s other partners. In 2012, through Round 2 the Regional Council CFA process, SUNY RF was awarded a $500,000 grant to fill a financing gap that allowed this phase of the project to proceed. The project has resulted in the opening of two of three potential floors of incubator space, including lab and office suites, with a capacity of up to 15 start-ups. The project will provide businesses and university partners with access to bioscience commercialization resources and enhance the ability to compete globally. It is estimated that the Accelerator has the potential to foster the creation of over 20,000 jobs in Central New York over the next 20 years.
This priority project is consistent with the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to support and grow the region’s biosciences, a core industry cluster, and to support the creation of the CNY Innovation Gateway which integrates the region’s core industry clusters in clean technology, biosciences and advanced manufacturing.
Rowland House (Cayuga County) – $250,000
Aurora Inn, Inc., a real estate development company, will use a grant of up to $250,000 to cover a portion of the construction cost to renovate Rowland House, an historic lakeside property in Aurora, Cayuga County.
Rowland House is one of three historic, 19th century lakeside properties that were recently restored through the work of educator, reporter, writer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Pleasant T. Rowland. These properties provide luxury accommodation and fine dining in the heart of the Finger Lakes and form the backbone of Aurora Inn, Inc. which operates several businesses along Main Street in Aurora. Rowland House is a 10,000-square-foot, turn-of-the-century, lakeside mansion which has remained vacant since 2006. In 2001, as a gift to her alma mater, Pleasant T. Rowland funded an extensive, five year restoration of Aurora Inn in addition to several other commercial properties owned by Wells College to preserve historic spaces, return magnificent old homes to use, and infuse new life into Aurora by creating vibrant social hubs for the community and visitors to the area. Aurora began planning to restore the House in August 2011, and in October of that same year, realized a shortfall in its financing to complete construction. Aurora applied for assistance and was awarded a $250,000 grant through Round I of the Regional Council CFA process, without which the project could not have taken place.
The project is consistent with the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council’s Plan to support and encourage opportunities for tourism in the Region. As a result of the project, Aurora Inn, Inc. will retain 86 jobs and create 8 new jobs at Rowland House. The company has already created 7 new jobs.
Finger Lakes Region
Rochester Institute of Technology (Monroe County) – $400,000
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), a private university, will use a grant of up to $400,000 for a portion of the cost to construct and equip a low humidity "dry room" for the development of new battery prototypes.
In 2012, ESD provided incentives for the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology (NY-BEST) Consortium to locate in New York State. Comprised of over 120 members representing all facets of the energy storage industries, NY-BEST set up operations at the Eastman Business Park in Rochester. RIT partnered with NY-BEST and with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to establish a dry room at NY-BEST's Eastman Business Park facility where battery prototypes can be developed and produced to help emerging companies in this growing market. In 2012, through Round 2 of the Regional Council CFA process, an award was made to NOHMs, a battery technology company relocating to Eastman Business Park. NOHMs subsequently designated RIT as a subcontractor for the dry room component, and RIT was awarded a $400,000 grant to fill a financing gap that allowed the project to move forward. RIT also obtained NYSERDA funds of $730,000 as part of a sub-award from NY-BEST to RIT. The center supports the battery prototyping needs of over 120 active members of the NY-BEST consortium, as well as future customer demand for the production of new battery and energy storage devices.
The project is consistent with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council's plan to support a battery and energy storage technology cluster at the Eastman Business Park.
Long Island Region
Hofstra University (Nassau County) – $2,000,000
Hofstra University, a private university located in Hempstead, Long Island, will use two grants totaling up to $2,000,000 for a portion of the cost to expand Hofstra University's School of Engineering and Applied Science and to create new laboratories and classrooms focusing on big data and robotics curriculum.
Hofstra University's School of Engineering and Applied Science is committed to educating students who wish to pursue careers in the fields of bioengineering, civil engineering, computer science, computer engineering, industrial engineering, and electrical engineering. In order to address Long Island’s shortage of trained professionals in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, Hofstra committed to expanding and improving its engineering facilities. Given the importance of this project and the costs involved, Hofstra submitted a proposal through the Regional Council CFA process to assist with the purchase and installation of equipment for its RobotiCS, Automation and Advanced Manufacturing and Big Data laboratories and was awarded a grant of $2,000,000.
This priority project addresses the Long Island Region Economic Development Council’s plan to transform Long Island's economy through identifying skill gaps and creating career pathways for various groups of individuals. As a result of the project, the School of Engineering and Applied Science will create six new jobs but the primary goal of the project is to significantly increase the pool of highly trained, newly graduated engineers on Long Island.
Touro College (Orange County) – $1,000,000
Touro College, a private educational institution, will use a grant of up to $1,000,000 for a portion of the cost of renovation and construction to redevelop the former Horton Hospital Tower into a state of the art osteopathic medical school that will include an on-site clinic and student housing.
The Mid-Hudson region has long sought to stem a brain drain as highly skilled young people left the region after college, and a medical school for the area has long been discussed. When the Horton Hospital in Middletown and the Arden Hill hospital in Goshen closed in 2011, Orange County officials approached Touro College, which agreed to consider adding a medical school contingent upon financing. In 2012, the College was awarded a $1,000,000 grant through the Regional Council CFA process to close a financing gap and allow the development of the first medical school in Orange County to progress.
The College, known as TouroCOM-Middletown, began admitting students in 2014. An estimated 150 construction jobs were created during the construction phase and approximately 800 indirect full-time equivalent jobs will be created in Middletown and throughout the Mid-Hudson region as a result of the medical school at the Horton campus. The project will also provide more local access to state-of-the-art healthcare.
The Solar Energy Consortium (Ulster County) – $1,000,000
The Solar Energy Consortium (TSEC), a not-for-profit organization that assists manufacturing and R&D firms in the solar and renewable energy sectors and related businesses, will use a grant of up to $1,000,000 for a portion of the costs to purchase of highly specialized equipment for a testing and characterization lab in New Paltz, and to establish a machinist training center in Newburgh.
The Solar Energy Consortium’s key measure of success is the creation of higher skill manufacturing and research and development jobs. Over the past four years through the attraction and growth of solar energy-related companies to New York State, it has created over 800 skilled jobs. In 2012, TSEC secured space to house a characterization lab and office space for advanced manufacturing companies. They also partnered with the Orange County Industrial Development Agency to develop an education center at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. In July 2012, TSEC applied through Round 2 of the Consolidated Funding Application for support to bridge the funding gap.
As a result of the new training and education center, 40 individuals were able to complete the multi-week training program that prepared them for entry-level positions. The number of jobs expected to be created or retained is 1,150 over a five year period. By sharing access to specialized equipment along with scientific expertise in emerging technologies and materials, small, high-tech firms in the Mid-Hudson region will be able to increase their global competitiveness by designing, testing, and developing new products and processes. The project is consistent with the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Regional plan as it supports the sustainability and growth of advanced high-tech manufacturing in the Mid-Hudson region.
Regeneron (Westchester County) – $2,125,000
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, will use a grant of up to $2,125,000 for a portion of the cost to construct a new research & development and corporate headquarters.
Founded in 1988, Regeneron discovers, develops, and commercializes new therapeutic agents to treat unmet medical needs. The company’s corporate headquarters and research laboratories are located in Tarrytown, NY, and its manufacturing facility is located in Rensselaer, NY. In order to accommodate significant growth in its scientific and corporate operations as well as its increased employment, Regeneron needed to expand its facilities, and planned to incur additional capital expenditures including construction/renovation, building fit-out, and the purchase of new machinery and equipment for the new facility adjacent to its Tarrytown’s existing facility.
Regeneron accepted the ESD grant in December 2009, and at the time of the agreement the company committed to retaining 978 existing full-time permanent positions at the project Location and creating at least 300 new full-time permanent position, which they have significantly exceeded. Today, Regeneron employees 1,916 statewide.
Mohawk Valley Region
Rome H20 (Oneida County) – $ 8,500,000
The city of Rome will use a grant of up to $8,500,000 for a portion of the cost of installation and expansion of public water and sewer infrastructure to serve West Rome and the South Rome Brownfield Opportunity Area.
In the Mohawk Valley, water accessibility is a limiting factor for growth and community revitalization. To provide residents and businesses with a safe, reliable and sustainable water supply, Rome needed to address issues facing West, North and South Rome communities and companies. In November 2013, Governor Cuomo announced a major water-sewer infrastructure improvement project in Rome, and an $8.5 million Economic Transformation Program grant was awarded to the city for the project.
As a result of the project, the city will be able to provide reliable, clean, sustainable water supply to more than 1,000 residents and more than 50 businesses, and will provide critical infrastructure necessary to stimulate industrial growth and commercial development.
MVEDGE – Marcy Nanocenter Interceptor Phase 1B (Oneida County) – $4,250,000
Economic Development Growth Enterprises, a not-for-profit corporation doing business as MVEDGE, will use grants of up to $4,250,000 for a portion of the site development costs to move the Marcy Nanocenter at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) closer to completion and to provide a campus-style layout for manufacturing, research and development, work force training, and recreational spaces.
MVEDGE provides business and economic development assistance in Oneida and Herkimer counties and in 2006, one of its projects, the Marcy Nanocenter, an approximately 420-acre greenfield site located west of the SUNYIT campus in the Town of Marcy, was chosen by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for the development of a chip fabrication plant. Since 2007, ESD has approved $24 million to attract a semiconductor firm and to bring the Marcy Nanocenter closer to being designated shovel ready. As a result of the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, MVEDGE was awarded grants totaling $4,250,000 through Rounds 3 and 4 of the Consolidated Funding Application process to further the development of this regionally significant initiative. The Marcy Nanocenter’s proximity to high-tech and semiconductor clusters, secure water and energy sources, a quality work force, three major highways, regional airports, and major U.S. and international markets, will further advance semiconductor manufacturing and create jobs in the Mohawk Valley Region.
This project is consistent with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to build a diverse, integrated and dynamic economy that leverages technology and innovation, and furthers the goal of making Marcy Nanocenter one of the premier mega-sites for advanced manufacturing in New York State.
Fort Schuyler Management Corporation – Quad C Phase 1B (Oneida County) – $3,100,000
Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC), a real estate development agency, will use a grant of up to $3,100,000 for a portion of the cost to construct Phase 1B of the Computer Chip Commercialization Center (Quad C), a 253,000-square-foot facility including clean rooms, laboratories, offices, lecture center and related utilities that is adjacent to the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute campus in Marcy, Oneida County.
In October 2013, under the leadership and direction of Governor Cuomo, the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY CNSE), SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and FSMC established Nano Utica, a consortium of leading global technology companies dedicated to creating the second major hub of nanotechnology research and development in New York State. In November 2013, the ESD Directors approved $15 million towards the construction of Phase 1A of the Quad C, which included construction of the building envelope and non-clean room areas. Quad C will attract high tech partners and global computer chip equipment suppliers to Upstate New York. An appropriation of $180,000,000 was also included in the 2014-2015 New York State budget to fund the construction and fit-out of Quad C.
This priority project is consistent with the Regional Plan to build a diverse, integrated and dynamic economy that leverages technology and innovation. The project will create 400 new jobs, including operational staff and faculty employed by FSMC and full-time tenant employees at the Quad C facility engaged in semiconductor research, development, and/or manufacturing activities at the Project Location.
Griffiss International Airport Customs and Border Patrol Facility (Oneida County) – $300,000
Oneida County will use a grant of up to $300,000 to be used for a portion of the cost of construction of a 3,500-square-foot building at the Griffiss International Airport.
Griffiss International Airport is home to two heavy maintenance and repair and overhaul companies that employ over 250 aircraft maintenance mechanics. In 2012, Griffiss International was in jeopardy of losing three of its largest tenants due to space constraints. The tenants provide maintenance and repair operations, and also clear military crews returning from overseas. To address this issue, Griffiss International sought to construct a new Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facility which would permit clearance of both civil and military aircraft crews arriving from international locations. The building includes all office space, equipment, and facilities required by CBP. In 2012, the county was awarded a $300,000 grant through the Regional Council CFA process to close a financing gap and allow the project to proceed.
The project is consistent with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to drive efficiency, collaboration and inclusiveness for business and local government throughout the region.
New York City Region
Victoria Theater (New York County) – $9,000,000
233 West 125th Street Danforth, LLC, a special purpose entity that is owned by Danforth Development Partners LLC and its development partners, will use grants of up to $4,000,000 and a loan of up to $5,000,000 for a portion of the cost of construction of a mixed-use facility as a part of the redevelopment of the historic Victoria Theater in Harlem.
The Victoria Theater redevelopment project consists of the construction and operation of an approximately 385,000-square-foot, mixed-use building located on a vacant site adjacent to the Apollo Theater on 125th Street. Once completed, the redevelopment will provide the first full-service hotel in Harlem in 80 years, approximately 192 units of affordable and market rate residential rental apartments and approximately 25,000 square feet of commercial retail space and approximately 25,000 square feet of cultural arts space. The project will help to further establish Harlem as an arts, entertainment, cultural and commercial destination.
Harlem Community Development Corporation (Harlem CDC), a subsidiary of ESD, is the owner of the property, and during construction 233 West 125th Street Danforth, LLC will lease it from Harlem CDC. In 2012 the company approached ESD for financial assistance to redevelop the historic Victoria Theater, which has been substantially vacant since 1997 and is in a state of disrepair. In order to make the project more economically feasible, in July 2012, ESD issued an Incentive Proposal for a $5 million loan. Due to a financing gap the company later applied for funding through Round 4 of the Regional Council Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process in 2014, and was awarded a $1.5 million Regional Council grant and a $2.5 million Downstate Revitalization Program grant.
The Victoria Theater redevelopment project was identified as a priority project by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council in 2012 and 2014. The project is expected to create approximately 373 permanent jobs.
Global Container Terminal New York Dredging (Richmond County) – $4,432,672
GCT New York LP, an operator of a full service container and general cargo handling facility in Staten Island, will use a grant of up to $4,432,672 for a portion of the cost of dredging of approximately 1,200 feet at Berth 3 of the New York Harbor to increase the depth and enable the berth to accommodate post-Panamax container ships.
Howland Hook, operated by GCT, is the largest container terminal in the State of New York, boasting three deep-water container vessel berths on the 153-acre site that GCT leases from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). While New York Harbor is a superb natural harbor, sheltering vessels from the elements, it is naturally only 20 feet deep, and modern container ships require depths of 50 feet, making dredging vital. NYCT, the company’s predecessor, approached ESD in late 2013 with a request to provide the anticipated $5 million needed to dredge to 50 feet, which is necessary for this facility to handle the anticipated post-Panamax container ships and is critical to keep this port facility viable. ESD issued an Incentive Proposal in May 2014, which NYCT accepted in June 2014. This project was critical in ensuring that GCT remains competitive with the container terminals in New Jersey and elsewhere.
Droga5 (New York County) – $800,000
Droga5, LLC, a creative and strategic advertising agency headquartered in New York City, will use a working capital grant of up to $800,000 to cover a portion of the costs of wages, payroll taxes, healthcare benefits and rent payments associated with the relocation of 181 full-time permanent employees from 400 Lafayette Street to a new Lower Manhattan location and the creation of up to 154 new full-time permanent employees at 120 Wall Street.
The World Trade Center Job Creation & Retention Program (JCRP) is an ESD administered grant program in cooperation with the New York City Economic Development Corporation funded by a block grant from the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). In order to be eligible for consideration of a JCRP grant, a project must involve at least 200 existing Lower Manhattan or attracted jobs or the creation of at least 75 net new New York City jobs in Lower Manhattan. At the time that Droga5 applied for ESD assistance in May 2013, it was occupying 36,801 rentable square feet at 400 Lafayette Street and in the adjacent building at 11 East 4th Street (in the Noho district of New York City). Due to severe space constraints at its location at the time, Droga5 needed to upgrade its office space and relocate to a new location to attract and retain employment. The company undertook a renovation project of a building in Lower Manhattan which would serve as its new headquarters.
This project is consistent with the New York City Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to accelerate economic growth and job creation by supporting the Region’s status as a global capital of commerce and innovation. As a result of this project, Droga5 has retained 181 existing jobs and pledged to create 154 new jobs. The company has already exceeded this number, creating 157 new jobs.
E. Gluck Corporation (Queens County) – $ 500,000
E. Gluck Corporation, a watch manufacturing company, will use a grant of up to $500,000 for a portion the company's machinery and equipment purchases needed to relocate and expand its operations to a facility in Little Neck, NY in order to accommodate its business needs and allow for future growth.
In September 2013, ESD made E. Gluck an offer of financial assistance to help close a gap in the overall cost of the project, which the company accepted. The Incentive Proposal also includes up to $2,500,000 of Excelsior Job Program Credits. ESD's grant was critical to the company's decision to remain in New York.
The project is consistent with the New York City Regional Economic Development Council's plan to improve the quality of life by providing entry level jobs to underserved populations and keeping skilled labor in a sector that has experienced decline. As a result of the project, E. Gluck will retain 348 jobs and create 80 new jobs, 33 of which have already been created.
North Country Region
Wild Center Wild Walk (Franklin County) – $1,000,000
The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, a not-for-profit organization doing business as The Wild Center, will use a grant of up to $1,000,000 for a portion of the cost of construction for Phase 1 of “The Wild Walk”, a new outdoor exhibit walkway structure.
The Wild Center was established in 1999 as a natural history museum on 81 acres in Tupper Lake in the Adirondack Park. The 54,000-square-foot museum provides indoor and outdoor science based programs, exhibits and experiences with 50 species of live animals, including otters, birds, and fish, all native to the Adirondacks. The museum applied for financial assistance through Round 2 of the Consolidated Funding Application to construct “The Wild Walk” outdoor exhibit project, an outdoor interpretative educational exhibit designed to connect visitors to the local Adirondack ecosystems with an elevated walkway through the treetops. The Museum and the project were awarded $1,000,000. Since 2004, the Wild Center has received ESD funding for two projects totaling $7,500,000. Both projects have been successfully completed.
This priority project is consistent with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to support existing business entities, to support tourism, and to improve the quality of life in North Country communities. As a result of this project, the Wild Center will retain 38 jobs, while expanding regional tourism and generating additional revenue for the Museum through increased visitors and memberships.
Watertown Airport Business Center (Jefferson County) – $1,000,000
Jefferson County will use a grant of up to $1,000,000 for a portion of the construction cost of a 5,000-square-foot business center at the Watertown International Airport.
In an effort to modernize and expand the Watertown International Airport facility and buildings, Jefferson County sought ESD assistance to finance its Airport improvement project. The county applied for funding assistance through the Regional Council CFA process and was awarded $1,000,000. The project provides visitor comfort and safety as well as a regional economic development asset for the Watertown-North Country region. An earlier expansion of the Airport runway has led to use by larger planes with more regular and connecting flights, resulting in more convenient flight schedules.
The project is consistent with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council's plan to support activity leading to new business development, tourism, transportation and improvement of the quality of life in North Country communities
Watertown Wastewater Improvements (Jefferson County) – $500,000
The city of Watertown will use a grant of up to $500,000 for a portion of the cost to improve its wastewater disinfection facility.
Watertown’s wastewater disinfection facility was unable to adequately address the needs of the city’s growing population, and so the city applied through the Regional Council CFA process for funding assistance. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) had established an infrastructure fund to assist North Country communities with municipal infrastructure projects, and Watertown was awarded a $500,000 grant, allowing the city to move forward and make improvements to its wastewater disinfection facility.
The project is consistent with the NCREDC’s plan to support new and existing business development by upgrading infrastructure in North Country communities.
Clayton Pump Station Improvements (Jefferson County) – $500,000
The Village of Clayton will use a grant of up to $500,000 for a portion of the cost of construction to install a new pump station and make related sewer system improvements to the Village infrastructure.
The Village of Clayton has a population of approximately 2,000 residents and is located in Jefferson County, in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River-1000 Islands region of northern New York. Clayton identified a need to upgrade its aged wastewater pump and pipes system to support the village’s future growth. The NCREDC had established an infrastructure fund to assist North Country communities with municipal infrastructure projects, so Clayton applied for funding assistance through the Regional Council CFA process and was awarded a $500,000 grant, allowing the city to move forward with its infrastructure project.
The project is consistent with the NCREDC’s plan to support new and existing business development by upgrading infrastructure in North Country communities.
Southern Tier Region
First Arena (Chemung County) – $1,500,000
First Excelsior Group, LLC, an event marketing and promoting company, will use a grant of up to $1,500,000 for the purchase of new machinery and equipment including the installation of a new state-of-the-art digital score board with video capability and two new digital marquees outside of the building.
First Excelsior Group, LLC was formed in February 2013 for the purpose of acquiring First Arena, a major sports complex in downtown Elmira. The facility had been primarily known as a hockey arena, open only 36 nights a year. The new vision is for the arena is to continue to host professional hockey but also to produce and promote a wide variety of concerts, trade shows, and at least 100 other special events year round. In April 2014, ESD awarded First Excelsior Group, LLC a $1,500,000 capital grant through Round 3 of the Regional Council CFA process to help with the financing of the project.
The project is consistent with the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council’s plan to strengthen targeted industry that leverage unique economic assets and revitalize the region’s urban cores, main streets and neighborhoods. As a result of the project, First Excelsior and Victory Associates, which operates the professional hockey team the Elmira Jackals, will retain 75 existing jobs.
Corning Museum of Glass (Steuben County) – $1,500,000
The Corning Museum of Glass will use a grant of up to $1,500,000 for a portion of the cost of a facility expansion to attract international visitors and position the museum as a primary international tourism destination in New York State.
Founded in 1950, the museum was established to preserve and expand the world's understanding of glass and has proven to be an asset for the rural town of Corning, helping it to become more economically competitive by attracting and recruiting new residents and visitors to the area. With 420,000 visitors each year, the Corning Museum of Glass is the most visited art museum in New York State outside of New York City. Over the past decade, the museum’s collections, programs, and global impact have grown significantly, and it has been increasingly taxed to provide the appropriate space and services necessary to meet the demands of these initiatives and future goals. In early 2012 the museum announced its North Wing expansion project to expand its contemporary gallery and Hot Glass Show space. The expansion has created the need for upgrades to the facility to accommodate transportation access for large scale international tourists who travel to the museum regularly throughout the year, and during Round 3 of the Regional Council CFA process, the museum applied for financial assistance to support the construction of a new international motor coach entrance at the North Wing and was awarded a $1.5 million grant.
This priority project is consistent with the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council's plan to maximize opportunities for growth in international tourism. As a result of the project, the museum will retain 169 jobs and create 15 new jobs.
Western New York Region
Buffalo Billion Initiative – Buffalo Harbor State Park (Erie County) – $10,000,000
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, a state agency responsible for the administration of New York’s statewide system of parks and historic sites, will use a grant of up to $10 million to be used as reimbursement for a portion of the design and construction costs to implement improvements to the newly-established Buffalo Harbor State Park.
Governor Cuomo officially designated the newly-established Buffalo Harbor State Park In May 2014 as the 180th N ew York State park, the first within in the City of Buffalo. The $15 million project involves the transformation of approximately 190 acres of largely vacant land on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor into the city’s first state park. The park improvements will include construction of a destination playground, two picnic pavilions, and a stage area; upgrade and installation of electric and water utilities; storm water and utility infrastructure upgrades; rehabilitation of the boat harbor breakwater and revetment; extension of the bike path; and design/placement and construction of comfort stations and parking lots. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will operate and maintain the park and an OPRHP concessionaire, Safe Harbor Development (Knoxville, TN) will operate and maintain the adjacent Small Boat Harbor Marina. Amenities will include green space, boat launches, fishing stations, and public restrooms. The project will create recreation and entertainment amenities that will spur tourism and future development in and around the Buffalo’s long underutilized waterfront.
This project is part of the Buffalo Billion Initiative to enhance the development of downtown Buffalo and demonstrates New York State’s commitment to revitalize the tourism economy of the Western New York Region.
Fort Schuyler Management Corporation/RiverBend Park (Erie County) – $125,000,000
Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC) will use a grant of up to $125 million on behalf of the FSMC for site and infrastructure development and construction costs to establish the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend in Buffalo.
In November 2013, the Governor announced a $225 million award from the Buffalo Billion Initiative for RiverBend, a $1.7 billion public and private-sector partnership to convert a vacant former manufacturing site into a 280,000-square-foot state-of-the-art hub campus for high-tech and green energy manufacturing businesses, strategically located in a newly-developed “smart growth” urban commerce park with multi-modal transportation opportunities. SolarCity, the nation’s largest rooftop solar power provider, notified ESD of its intent to triple the initial RiverBend project, constructing a 1.2-million-square-foot facility to house the largest solar panel factory in the Western Hemisphere. A $118 million award was approved by the ESD Directors in March 2014 to reimburse FSMC for planning/design costs and machinery and equipment acquisition, and $107 million was approved in June 2014 to reimburse FSMC for real estate acquisition, site and infrastructure development, and facility construction. This request represents Governor Cuomo’s pledge to provide an additional $125 million to reimburse FSMC for real estate acquisition and facility construction. The project is anticipated to establish Buffalo as a nexus for advanced research and manufacturing for clean energy technologies.
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council oversees the implementation of the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan. This project is part of the Buffalo Billion Initiative to enhance ongoing development in and around Buffalo and demonstrates the Governor’s commitment to revitalize the economy of the Western New York Region.
The next meeting of the ESD Board of Directors will be in June.
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