Tech Incubator Brings New Life to Historic Building Following 15 Years of Vacancy
Building Renovations Supported by $550,000 Capital Grant from Capital Region Economic Development Council
Governor Cuomo announced the grand opening of Tech Valley Center of Gravity's new facility inside downtown Troy's historic Quackenbush Building. Through a $550,000 Capital Grant from Round lll of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, the tech incubator partnered with Quackenbush Properties, LLC to perform $2.75 million in renovations to the Collar City landmark and create a facility large enough to support startup companies, spur job creation, and encourage commercial development throughout the Capital Region.
"Tech Valley Center of Gravity plays a vital role in helping the Capital Region’s tech industry flourish," said Governor Cuomo. "This new facility inside one of Troy’s most historic buildings will give local startups and entrepreneurs the resources they need to really take off, and I am proud that the state was able to help make this renovation project a reality."
Established in 2012, Tech Valley Center of Gravity promotes manufacturing innovation through the use of shared space to grow ideas and inventions. Its membership includes five universities, four high schools, more than 300 entrepreneurs and 40 companies, all of which have supported the creation of more than 250 jobs in the region.
The Capital Region Economic Development Council identified Tech Valley Center of Gravity as a Round III priority project due to its established success and fulfillment of the Council's goal of bringing the region's cities to life by advancing the restoration and use of an historic property. With the addition of new members and increased interest from entrepreneurs and startups, Tech Valley Center of Gravity quickly outgrew its former location at 35 Fourth Street in Troy and will now occupy 20,000 square-feet of the 158 year old building for the next ten years.
Empire State Development President and CEO Howard Zemsky said, "Tech Valley Center of Gravity opening a new, larger location is evidence of a fast-growing innovation economy in the Capital Region and will allow the incubator to support even more local entrepreneurs and startups. This project is a prime example of the smart, strategic investments being recommended by the Regional Council – it supports and grows small businesses, creates jobs, and helps to revitalize a downtown area in an Upstate community."
The new facility will also house Tech Valley Center of Gravity’s THINQubator, a facility which empowers children and families to think, collaborate, skill-build, and design. Through hands-on experience, kids explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math in an engaging, fun format.
Another 23,148 square-feet of the Quackenbush Building has been designated available and is ready to lease through Hudson Valley Community College's START-UP NY program. START-UP NY offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on or near eligible university or college campuses in New York State.
The 50,000-square-foot, four-story Quackenbush building, located at the corner of Broadway and Third Street, was constructed in 1857 and served as a dry-goods store until 1937. The building subsequently housed local businesses before being vacated in 2001.
Tech Valley Center of Gravity Chairman Laban Coblentz said, "The Center of Gravity is an embodiment of both Governor Cuomo's visionary economic development initiatives and Troy's gritty up-by-the-bootstraps positive energy. Our success comes from three things: innovation, collaboration, and community."
David Bryce, owner of Quackenbush Properties, LLC said, "The Quackenbush Building has been dormant for more than a decade. Opening it to the community will seed growth that will take unexpected turns and downtown Troy's positive vibe will creep outward. The TVCOG supports that trend and will feed on it. Already TVCOG programs are growing in ways none of us could have foreseen."
University at Albany President and Capital Region Economic Development Council Co-chair Robert J. Jones said, "The Tech Valley Center of Gravity provides access to ideas, space, technology, and creative collaborators that will grow the next generation of innovators and business opportunities in the Capital Region. We're grateful for the Governor’s continued efforts to strengthen our regional and state economies."
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "Repurposing historical buildings allows communities to connect heritage and economic development, and these funds will help achieve this goal by transforming the Quakenbush Building into a hub of innovation and creation. I commend Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of this project, and I look forward to working with his office to ensure buildings like these will play an important role in the development of our communities."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "The expansion of the Tech Valley Center of Gravity further demonstrates how Troy and the entire Capital Region has been at the forefront of New York's economic resurgence. Allowing for this incubator's membership to continue to grow will only further cement our region's reputation as being a leader in today's high-tech economy."
Assemblyman John McDonald said, "TCVOG represents yet another example of the revitalization that has been underway in the City of Troy for the past several years. Reaching into it's past as a hub of manufacturing, we are witnessing a new era of manufacturing and innovation unfold before our eyes and it is exciting and refreshing. I appreciate the support the Gov. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative that has provided critical funding to support private sector investment in this historic building."
Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino said, "Rensselaer County has been a supporter and investor in the Tech Valley Center of Gravity since the concept was brought forward over four years ago. Our commitment to this makerspace continued to its first location in Troy and extends to the revitalization of its new home in the Quackenbush building. It is this type of out of the box thinking and investment that we are proud to be a part of that is crucial to our efforts to attract and retain businesses competing in a global economy. I want to commend the Governor and the CERDC for the funding that has brought this revitalization effort to life. Our collective support and efforts are already paying off as the Quackenbush building is already gaining tenants looking to take advantage of the entrepreneurial prospects Tech Valley Center of Gravity generates as well the other support services including those from NYSTEC’s Ignite NY and The Estuary. To date this collaboration has generated over 100 jobs right here in Rensselaer County with the expectation of over 225 total jobs by the end of 2016 that will boost our local economy and provide opportunities for our residents and other businesses."
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia said, "The opening of the Center of Gravity, located in the historic Quackenbush building here in the City of Troy, will act as a catalyst for economic growth, foster creative thinking and solidify our city as the top destination for the region's burgeoning startups and entrepreneurs. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, the State of New York and Hudson Valley Community College on their designation of the Center of Gravity as a START-UP NY location and the Regional Economic Development Council for their investment and commitment to our continuing revitalization efforts here in the City of Troy."
For more information about Tech Valley Center of Gravity, visit www.tvcog.net.
For more information about THINQubator, visit www.thinqubator.org.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
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