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May 22, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

As part of the 2015 agency performance goals, the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the first of a series of outreach meetings to engage local taxing jurisdictions throughout the County about the various activities and programs and incentives offered by the GCEDC. 

On Tuesday, May 26, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde will make a presentation at a joint meeting of the Town and Village of Bergen at the Bergen Town Hall on 10 Hunter St. in Bergen at 6:30 p.m. 

Among the topics for discussion will include development and business recruitment and expansion activities at the Apple Tree Acres. Among the businesses that currently operate out of Apple Tree Acres include Liberty Pumps, Leonard Bus Co. and Ad Tech. Hyde also will provide information about how payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) impact the tax base among other topics.

“As part of the 2015 goals the GCEDC Board of Directors identified at the beginning of this year, we will enhance our outreach efforts to taxing jurisdictions and stakeholders throughout Genesee County about our economic development activities,” Hyde said. “We are always striving to increase outreach to the stakeholders we serve and identity new ways in which we can expand the quality of our economic development programs and incentives.”

May 19, 2015 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Falcone Electric.

falconeelctricmay192015.jpg

Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center officials announced today that the new owners of Falcone Electric, an electrical supply provider in Batavia, have completed repayment of a $100,000 revolving business loan issued by the GCEDC in 2010.

On January 1, 2010, Dan and Amy Vanderhoof purchased the assets of Falcone Electric from Michael Falcone with the assistance of GCEDC’s Revolving Loan Fund Program. The loan was issued to assist in the new owners’ purchase of the company and ensure that Falcone’s would continue to operate and provide jobs for the existing employees under the new ownership. Through the process, Michael Falcone was able to transition to retirement knowing that his three wishes for the business would be carried out – that Falcone Electric would remain a family owned and operated small business; it would maintain close ties to the local community; and it would support the employees and customer base that have been loyal to Falcone’s for many years.

The Revolving Business Loan also helped fund operating capital and the purchase of a computer warehouse management system. GCEDC provides this type of loan to fund investments that support enterprise sustainability, growth and job retention or creation.

“The GCEDC educated and guided us throughout the process in finding the loan program that was the perfect fit for our needs,” said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “It is comforting to know that there are financing opportunities for small businesses through local resources provided by entities such as the GCEDC.”

“Purchasing a business, especially a business with such a strong tradition, can be a daunting task especially in finding the capital to make such a transaction feasible, said Dan Vanderhoof, co-owner of Falcone Electric. “Were it not for the Revolving Loan Fund program, we may not have been able to fulfill our dream in buying Falcone Electric from Mike.”

Upon the company’s purchase in 2010, the Vanderhoofs kept the company under the “Falcone” name and have made upgrades to modernize the store.

“We wanted to recognize Dan and Amy to simply remind small businesses that they have low-cost options when it comes to financing their business,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “What better testament to the revolving fund program than through business owners who were able to directly benefit from it.”

GCEDC offers revolving businesses loans at a minimum of $25,000 and maximum of $200,000. The utilization of the loan funds must be consistent with GCEDC’s mission to support enterprise sustainability and job retention and/or enterprise growth and job creation. For more information about GCEDC’s loan programs and incentive offerings, please visit www.gcedc.com.

Photo by Howard Owens.

May 15, 2015 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, GCEDC, business, batavia.

gcplanningboardmay142015-3.jpg

The backers of a proposed bio-gas plant in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park are in the early stages of site planning and they hope, if all goes to plan, to be operational in a year.

The plan was presented for review Thursday night to the Genesee County Planning Board and the board unanimously recommended approval at this stage of the process.

The plant would take organic waste from food processing plants -- primarily the two yogurt plants in the ag park -- and convert it into methane to generate heat that could be resold to the plants and electricity that the plants could also purchase.

The plant would generate more electricity than the plants could use -- enough to power 800 homes a day -- so additional capacity would be transferred into the electrical grid.

The plant, said architect Robert Keiffer, of TY Lin International, Rochester, is environmentally friendly, would help make the yogurt plants more sustainable and more efficient to operate, and help attract business to the ag park.

The owners of the plant would be CH4 Biogas, which already operates a plant in Covington.

CH4 has a purchase agreement with Genesee County Economic Development Center for five acres in the ag park. The project would be eligible for economic incentives from GCEDC.

The proposed facility would be 8,500 square feet, housing processing equipment, an office, bathroom, dock area and de-packaging area.

The waste accepted by the facility would be organic and non-hazardous. The waste would go through a methane-capture process, pumped into a grinder and put into a receiving tank.

The waste is then pasteurized in three 15-foot-high tanks. This optimizes methane release. Next, the waste is moved to digester tanks that are completely enclosed. Methane is collected and stored in another tank. It is then converted into electricity by a CHP engine. The engine is not located on site, but at the thermal end-user's location and enclosed to reduce noise.

The organic waste, if not sent to a digester plant, could be used on farm fields or simply taken to a dump. In either case, the methane eventually released by the waste would drift into the atmosphere. Methane is considered a greenhouse gas. This process captures 100 percent of the methane from the waste and converts it to electricity.

May 11, 2015 - 1:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) approved projects at the May 7 board meetings.  

The GCEDC approved an application from the Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad for the purchase of a specialized forklift and two track vehicles for servicing truck and rail service at the transload warehouse facility in the City of Batavia.

Depew, Lancaster & Western Railroad company also received approval for a sales tax exemption of $9,512. The anticipated capital investment will be approximately estimated $118,000. Further, for every $1 of public benefit, the company will invest $12.50 into the local economy.

The GCEDC Board also passed an amended insurance policy to allow for the approval of lower insurance limits specifically for small-scale sales-tax exemption projects on a case by case basis. The new policy will allow smaller projects to take advantage of GCEDC’s incentives without having to incur the increased costs of changing insurance coverage to receive the benefits.

The GGLDC, the real estate arm of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), approved a purchase and sale agreement with Fancher Properties LLC for 2.6 acres of land in the Buffalo East Technology Park. 

Fancher Properties plans to build a 15,000-square-foot facility at the Technology Park to house an office, manufacturing and warehouse facility. The company, which manufactures and installs specialty signs and closets for housing developments and hotels, plans to invest $500,000 in the project and will work with the GCEDC to seek IDA benefits.

“While it’s great to see new businesses coming into the community, it’s also very important that our agency can assist existing companies with their expansion and growth needs,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. 

Hyde also stated that “the change approved by the GCEDC Board in the insurance requirement policy will allow us more opportunities to help small businesses take advantage of IDA benifts for their projects."

April 29, 2015 - 6:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Le Roy, bergen.

Le Royans will often tell you, they live in a special place. Now they have some proof and a chance to demonstrate just how special it is, with the chance at a $3 million prize at the end of the rainbow.

Frontier Communications, drawing from 138 applications in 27 states, has picked Le Roy as one of the Top 50 communities in America.

The honor comes with a $50,000 prize to help fund writing a comprehensive plan aimed at spurring business growth with assistance from business leaders at IBM.

"For those of us who choose to live here, and those people who have chosen to move away and come back, there is a draw to la-roy, or lee-roy (pause for laughter), and we need to capitalize on that, and I think maybe that's why we were so strong with our application," said Lynn Belluscio, curator of the Le Roy Historical Society, who helped with the application process. "It is going to take all of us going in the same direction, which we know is sometimes difficult in this community, but I think we can do it."

The impetus to apply came from County Legislator Shelly Stein, who worked with the staff at GCEDC to get the ball rolling, but the application process and letters of support brought together not just Stein and the GCEDC, but Belluscio, Supervisor Steve Barbeau, the Rotary Club of Le Roy, the Chamber of Commerce, Superintendent of Schools Kim Cox, the Le Roy Business Council, County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari and the Village of Le Roy.

The Village and Town of Bergen also pitched in because Le Roy by itself didn't have a big enough population to qualify.

The business project that will be targeted for infrastructure improvement -- a bigger natural gas pipe and broadband -- is the park at Route 19 and West Bergen road.

Robert Smith, the Rochester area general manager for Frontier, said he though Le Roy and Bergen were a great choice.

"But the work doesn't end here," Smith said. "You have a lot more to do because there is a lot more that can come from this."

The comprehensive plan will be reviewed in November and after that the Le Roy group will find out if it moves onto the next stage.

The eventual payoff for the winner is a $3 million prize, but second plays will earn $2 million and third, $1 million.

Growing the local business base is critical, Barbeau said.

He noted that for every tax dollar generated by a commercial property, businesses consume about 60 to 70 cents and services. For agriculture, it's about 30 cents in services. But residential, he said, eats up about $1.30 in services.

"We feel like this is a perfect opportunity to expand our infrastructure and bring in more business," he said.

Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, said this is an exciting opportunity for Le Roy and Bergen and fits right in with everything GCEDC is trying to do to attract more industry to Genesee County.

"When you try to grow an economy, you need to be able to talk about the quality of life and the factors that make it a place where people want to live, work and play," Hyde said. "This community has that."

Photo: Smith presenting a finalists' certificate with Rotary president Randy Vink and Stein in the background.

April 11, 2015 - 7:58am
posted by James Burns in batavia, GCEDC, MedTech Park, Innovation Zone.

Officials unveiled the Innovation Zone at MedTech Park in Batavia yesterday. The Innovation Zone is designed to attract high-tech entrepreneurs and start-ups. To help start-ups it will provide working space and free Wi-Fi as well as programing and business services for a $200 a month fee.

A total of $50,000 for the Innovation Zone was provide by the National Grid’s CleanTech Incubation Program. The project was run by the GGLDC (Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp.), which is the real-estate arm of the GCEDC (Genesee County Economic Development Center).

March 31, 2015 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, presented a summary of the audit process undertaken and the scope of their engagement, as well as the findings and various observations related to the Genesee County Economic Development Center’s financial position at an open meeting of the GCEDC Board on March 30, 2014.

The GCEDC Board engaged Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, a certified public accounting firm, to perform the audit of 2014 financial statements. The audit was designed to issue an opinion on the financial statements of the GCEDC for the year ending December 31, 2014, a management letter to the Board of Directors and management and a report about internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Government Auditing Standards.

Included in the management letter is a statement from Mostert, Manzanero & Scott, LLP, affirming that no material deficiencies in internal controls were identified during the audit. They also affirmed that, in their opinion, the audited financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the GCEDC as of December 31, 2014, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

“I am confident that the GCEDC internal control policies are functioning correctly and that our finance team monitors the finances in accordance with the highest accounting principles,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “GCEDC CFO, Lezlie Farrell, who is a Certified Public Accountant, does an outstanding job monitoring all of our agency procurement and financial activities."

The financial statements of the GCEDC are reported using the accrual basis of accounting. Revenues are recorded when earned and expenses are recorded at the time liabilities are incurred, regardless of when the related cash transaction takes place. For example, expenditures are recorded in the period that services are provided, even though corresponding payment for those services may not be made until a later date.

The GCEDC finished 2014 with a net operating loss of $14,990 as compared to a net operating loss of $198,403 in 2013. As expenses remained consistent overall in 2014, revenues from project fees were significantly higher in 2014 as compared to 2013. The largest project in 2014 was the Yancey’s Fancy project. Yancey’s began construction on their 112,000-square-foot facility in the Buffalo East Technology Park, located in Pembroke, NY, in the spring of 2014. Overall, Yancey’s Fancy will invest more than $20 million and create 50 new jobs at the facility.

“The GCEDC budgeted for a loss of $175,000 for 2014 and I am pleased with our year end results,” said CFO Farrell. “At the end of 2014 there were several attraction projects in the sales pipeline that still remain active today. We anticipate that one of these major attraction projects will close in 2015 and bring significant investment and jobs to the region."

March 31, 2015 - 10:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, darien lake, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at the March 30, 2015, board meeting. 

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add new attractions for its 2015 operating season, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride.
The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $180,000 and the planned capital investment will total an estimated $2.5 million.

“The tourism industry is extremely competitive so enhancing our attraction through new rides and investments in other amenities is critically important to our business operations,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager, Darien Lake. “The support of the GCEDC allows us to make these investments and maintain our reputation as a popular and fun tourism destination and remain competitive against other attractions in the Northeast.”

“Darien Lake is one of the most impactful economic contributors to our local economy, providing over 400 full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 2,000 seasonal positions each year,” said Wallace Hinchey, GCEDC Board chairman. “It is in the best interest of our community to help Darien Lake remain a popular tourism destination and the resulting economic benefits in doing so.”

March 27, 2015 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, darien lake, Darien.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at its March 30 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add several new attractions, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride for the 2015 operating season. The projected capital investment is approximately $2.5 million. The company is seeking final approval of a sales tax exemption of $180,000.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the first-floor Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, across from Genesee Community College.

March 24, 2015 - 5:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, National Grid, Upstate Medtech Center, Innovation Zone.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC), the real estate arm of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), recently received a grant of $50,000 from National Grid that was used to build the Innovation Zone.

The Innovation Zone has been designed to be an affordable, high quality networking and incubator space and will be located in the 34-acre Upstate MedTech Park in Batavia. It is strategically located across from Genesee Community College, which was recently designated as a START UP NY site. The grant from National Grid is through the company’s CleanTech Incubation Program.

“The concept of creating a space that not only brings entrepreneurs and start-up businesses together, but also allows these individuals to collaborate, has the potential to enhance economic development opportunities in Genesee County even further,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York. “From the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park to STAMP, economic development officials in Genesee County have proved that the ‘build it and they will come’ approach works and I am confident it will in this instance.”

To accommodate an existing tenant of the Upstate MedTech Park, construction included the addition of 1,075 square feet of space to expand opportunities for high-tech manufacturing and a loading dock facility. The GGLDC also plans to build out 2,300 square feet of vacant space to increase marketability of the site and allow for a quicker turnaround of market demands. The total capital investment of the project is $155,000 and is expected to create 10 new jobs over the next five years and three new jobs within the first year.

“The new incubator will support the expansion of the Upstate MedTech Park, which will help us attract entrepreneurs in emerging industries such as life sciences and medical device manufacturing among others,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “This grant is just another example of National Grid’s tremendous support of economic development initiatives in Genesee County.”

National Grid officials and local and state government representatives will participate in a ribbon-cutting event on April 10 in the Innovation Zone to formally unveil the new facility and amenities.

The National Grid CleanTech Incubation Program supports the development of a self-sustaining entrepreneurial and innovation “ecosystem.” The program is intended to stimulate and support the growth of new businesses that, in turn, generate jobs and investment in National Grid’s Upstate New York service territory. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com

March 7, 2015 - 8:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC.

Howard Zemsky was the keynote speaker Friday at the Genesee County Economic Development Center's annual meeting, which was held at Batavia Downs this year. He is acting president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency.

Some 300 people attended, including business and economic development leaders from Erie and Monroe counties.

Zemsky's primary message was that Gov. Andrew Cuomo fully supports economic development in Upstate, in Genesee County and is particularly bullish on the STAMP project.

"We're all in," Zemsky said. "We love what you're doing. It's extremely impressive. I couldn't be more proud of what you have accomplished, and your vision and your commitment and your collaboration on your strategic approach. The governor is all in on what you're doing and is very excited about it."

He noted that Brooklyn is undergoing a renaissance, driven by people like his 22-year-old son who now think urban areas such as Brooklyn are the place to be. If Brooklyn can experience a turnaround, so can Batavia, he said.

"I'll tell you this, if Brooklyn can become cool, Batavia can become the center of the next generation of chip fabrication. Period. End of discussion," Zemsky said. "Because compared to Brooklyn being cool, Batavia being center of a high-tech world is a relative layup."

GCEDC Steve Hyde also provided his annual update on the progress of the GCEDC over the past year and the projects it continues to work on, such as STAMP and the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

March 5, 2015 - 5:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, STAMP.

From The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

An announcement of a company to occupy Genesee County’s long anticipated STAMP project in the Town of Alabama could be just weeks away.

The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park has been in the works for years and holds the prospect of hundreds, if not thousands, of high-paying jobs.

Steve Hyde is the president of the county’s Economic Development Center:

“We are weeks away on the final decision on the one we have been working on, less than weeks away. This has been over 12 months we have been working the sales process on this one project. It has been long with multiple versions and very competitive. We have competed against 54 different sites and eight states.”

Hyde issued his annual report to the county legislature’s Ways and Means Committee last night.

The committee went on record opposing a change in state industrial development regulations that would transfer final decisions on state tax breaks from local IDAs to Albany.

If you've downloaded the Reacht App for your smart phone, at some point within the next day, we'll ask you this poll question: Do you think a manufacturing company will commit to STAMP within the next few weeks? To download the app, click here.

March 3, 2015 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, darien lake, Darien.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort at its Thursday, March 5, board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add several new attractions, including a 75-foot “super loop” thrill ride and dual waterslide complex speed ride for this operating season. The projected capital investment is approximately $2.5 million.

The company is seeking a sales-tax exemption of $180,000, which would require a public hearing should the board approve the application.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park - 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor across from Genesee Community College.

March 2, 2015 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

For the 11th consecutive year Site Selection Magazine has recognized Batavia/Genesee County as one of the Top Micropolitans in the United States. Among the criteria for receiving the recognition includes capital investment and job creation. Through the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), approximately $58.07 million in new capital investments were made in the county creating more than 140 new jobs in 2014.

“Throughout 2014, we continued to see tremendous growth in Genesee County as a result of our strategic business attraction and expansion efforts to generate capital investment and create more job opportunities,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Further development of the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), among several other shovel-ready sites, will remain a top priority on our agenda as we move forward into 2015.”

In 2014 the GCEDC achieved 20 project “wins,” and celebrated the $20 million expansion of Yancey’s Fancy, one of Western New York’s most prominent food manufacturing companies. Yancey’s investment will result in a new 112,000-square-foot building at the Buffalo East Technology Park in Pembroke and will create 50 new jobs in the region. Other significant projects the GCEDC assisted with were the expansion of Liberty Pumps in Bergen and US Gypsum in Oakfield.

The ranking of Top Micropolitans is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county. To make the rankings, the projects must be at least $1 million in value, employ at least 50 people, or involve construction of at least 20,000 square feet. There are approximately 576 micropolitans in the United States according to Site Selection Magazine. Batavia was tied for fourth place in the national rankings.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center will unveil its 2014 annual report highlighting its project “wins” at the organization’s annual meeting on Friday, March 6th, at noon at Batavia Downs.

February 4, 2015 - 3:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, business, GCEDC.

The Genesee Economic Development Center will hold its annual meeting and luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 6. It will be in the Paddock Room at Batavia Downs, 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

To register, contact Rachael Tabelski, marketing and communications director, at 343-4866 or e-mail at  [email protected]

Press release:

2014 has certainly been an exciting year from an economic development standpoint as unemployment was at a historic low of 4.8 percent in August, per capita income grew 6.16 percent, and businesses invested more than $50 million in our community. The food industry across the region, and especially in Genesee County, continues to flourish while investment and developments at the WNY STAMP project occur on a daily basis.

The GCEDC Annual Meeting is an opportunity for you to find out what has been achieved in Genesee County over the last year and to get a exclusive preview of what the economic landscape will look like for 2015. The Annual Meeting is also an excellent opportunity to network with economic and elected leaders from around the region. At the event the GCEDC will also unveil the "2015 Economic Development Partner of the Year Award."

January 16, 2015 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The staff of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) unveiled its proposed goals for 2015 at the agency’s board meeting Thursday. Among the goals for 2015:

• Generating $35 million in new capital and/or business investments;
• Creating/retaining approximately 205 jobs; and
• Advancing development of STAMP.

Among the plans for STAMP include continue securing funding to advance critical infrastructure development for the site such as water, sewer, natural gas and electric as well as the remaining land acquisition. According to GCEDC staff, securing this funding will further STAMP toward receiving NYS “shovel-ready site certification” and continue to advance the ongoing efforts to market the Park to corporate site selectors in various industry sectors such as nanotechnology.

“We have set the bar very high, but given the track record of the GCEDC the board is very confident in the staff’s ability to achieve these aggressive economic development goals,” said Wally Hinchey who was reappointed as GCEDC chairman at the board meeting. “Through the years we have created a very positive climate for economic growth and we will continue to build on these successes in 2015.”

The GCEDC also revealed plans to continue infrastructure enhancements as part of Phase II development at the agri-business park and ongoing collaboration with the Town of Le Roy on its potential development of a “greenfield” site located near Route 19 and West Bergen Road, bordering the Village of Le Roy. The GCEDC also plans to enhance its municipal and regional stakeholder outreach program for county and regional stakeholders with a particular focus on municipalities and school districts.

In addition to Hinchey being reappointed as chairman, the GCEDC also announced the appointment of its 2015 officers:

• Mary Ann Wiater, Vice Chairman
• Penny Kennett, Secretary
• Lezlie Farrell, Treasurer
• Steve Hyde, President & CEO

“On behalf of the staff of the GCEDC, we are very excited to embark on another year of significant economic development activity that will continue the growth and prosperity of the region,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. “We are grateful to the GCEDC board for its support of our efforts and we look forward to collaborating with the public and private sectors in our collective efforts to create and retain jobs and bring new investment to Genesee County.”

December 22, 2014 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) president and CEO Steve Hyde provided the GCEDC board of directors a report on the agency’s annual performance in 2014 at its December board meeting.  The report included a review of year-to-date capital/business investments, pledged job creation estimates, advancement of the shovel ready phase of STAMP and initiatives with local governments, among others.

Hyde reported to the board that the GCEDC exceeded its capital and business investment goal of $32 million with a total of $58.07 million invested on various projects throughout the year, including the expansion of Yancey Fancy’s in Pembroke and Liberty Pumps in Bergen.  The agency did not achieve its pledged job creation goal of 200 with the pledged creation of approximately 141 jobs from new projects in 2014.

At the same time Hyde noted, the agency was able to put together an incentive package to retain approximately 98 manufacturing jobs at U.S. Gypsum in Oakfield.  In addition, agency staff helped the new owners of P.W. Minor navigate through the state funding process which helped keep the company open retaining approximately 50 manufacturing jobs in Batavia.

"It was another good year for the agency in terms of creating new jobs as well as retaining jobs at US Gypsum and PW Minor," said Wally T. Hinchey, Chairman of the GCEDC.  “The Genesee County economy continues to be one of the strongest in the region and 2015 should be no different as STAMP continues to move forward."

Significant strides were made to bring STAMP further along in making the site shovel ready for future development, including survey work, engineering and design work for water and sewer infrastructure. Of note was the dedication of $33 million in the New York State 2014-2015 budget for STAMP.  The GCEDC staff continues its close collaboration with New York State and NY Loves Nano to market and promote the STAMP site nationally and internationally to high tech manufacturers.

Another performance goal for 2014 was to enhance initiatives and outreach with local government entities throughout Genesee County.  The GCEDC worked closely with the Town of Batavia to secure potential funding opportunities to extend existing infrastructure at the Agri-business Park.

Lastly, GCEDC conducted outreach meetings with various localities as well as collaboration with the City of Batavia, Batavia Development Corp. and the Batavia Business Improvement District to implement the re-development of the Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA).

“The performance goals set by the GCEDC are certainly challenging, but if there was not a collective belief that we have the right formula for economic success, then we would not create such aggressive targets,” said Hyde.  “We look forward to generating even more economic development success in 2015.”

December 21, 2014 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, National Grid, STAMP.

Press release:

National Grid’s latest grant of $500,000 in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site in the Town of Alabama in Genesee County has now reached the $1.5 million threshold. Since 2007, National Grid has provided STAMP with various economic development grants to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), which is developing the site and marketing it to corporate site selectors as well as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing companies throughout the United States and the world.

“We are extremely excited to have such strong support from National Gird to help us bring the next generation of advanced manufacturing to Western New York,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “STAMP has received significant support from business, education and economic development groups and organizations from Buffalo and Rochester, so it is truly a collaborative effort to bring this transformative economic development project to our region.”

STAMP is a 1,250-acre site and is aligned to attract the next generation of nanotechnology companies, including semiconductor chip fabs, flat panel displays, solar, bio-manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing companies to New York State. Most recently, STAMP was appropriated $33 million in the 2014-15 state budget to bring the site to a shovel-ready status. This funding will be used for pre-construction engineering, sewer and water lines and other utility hook-ups and other infrastructure enhancements.

“We have seen a number of major gains in the bringing new and advanced technologies to the region, and we’re confident that STAMP will continue the significant economic development momentum in the region in the science, technology and advanced manufacturing areas,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York.“

“The GCEDC has an excellent track record in economic development, as evidenced most recently by the construction of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which led to the construction to two major yogurt manufacturing facilities,” said Arthur W. Hamlin, director, economic development and corporate citizenship at National Grid. “We are optimistic that the same ‘build it and they will come’ approach used at the agri-business park will also reap significant economic development and job outcomes at the STAMP site.”

STAMP is located in the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) low-cost hydropower zone. The site is within a 60-minute commute of 2.1 million residents from the Rochester and Buffalo metro regions as well as six university centers with more than 17,000 enrolled engineering students. According to GCEDC officials, STAMP has the potential to generate $30-$50 billion in investment and employ up to 10,000 workers on-site. The supply chain impact could add another 50,000 jobs.

The grants to the GCEDC are from a number of National Grid programs, including the Strategic Economic Development Program designed to increase effective marketing and sales initiatives aimed at “strategic targets.” This program provides expertise and incremental resources to leverage more and better macro-level business attraction research, marketing and sales efforts. Other grants have helped support hard infrastructure improvements to the site. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

November 14, 2014 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, housing, Calamar, senior housing.

A developer seeking to build a senior housing complex in Batavia has filed a lawsuit against the Genesee County Economic Development Center over the board's decision in July to block the project from receiving tax breaks.

The suit alleges that the GCEDC board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious, irrational, an abuse of discretion and affected by an error of law."

The suit calls for a court-ordered reversal of the decision to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and the proposed tax abatement. 

It doesn't ask the court to actually grant the tax breaks. Typically, the GCEDC board votes on whether to grant tax exemptions after a public hearing. Calamar is seeking to present its project to the public and give the public a chance to weigh in on whether it should receive more than $1.4 million in tax breaks for the project.

Calamar has a contract to purchase 33.4 acres at 3989 W. Main Street Road, Batavia. The development plans call for 110 middle-income apartment units rented exclusively to people 55 and older.

The developer, with offices in New York, Canada, Massachusetts and Nebraska, says it plans to invest more than $11 million in the project.

GCEDC's position is that the lawsuit is without merit. 

Here is a statement provided by Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director for GCEDC:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is in receipt of a notice of a file of claim against our organization by Calamar Enterprises as a result of a recent vote by the GCEDC board.

We believe the allegations in the claim are without merit and will be determined by the courts as such.

As this is a legal matter, the GCEDC will have no further comment.

The suit implies that Calamar was misled about GCEDC's willingness to support the project and that the board's decision went both against GCEDC's own policy and prior approvals for similar projects.

The project was first presented to the board by Mark Masse, VP of operations for GCEDC, in February.  Masse said during the meeting, according to a quote in Calamar's petition, that he was looking for feedback from the board. 

Calamar said that GCEDC's attorney told the board that although the project wasn't manufacturing, "This project is authorized and allowable under IDA law."

At a March 6 meeting, CEO Steve Hyde reportedly informed the board that GCEDC had participated in housing projects previously, such as the Manor House and the Jerome Center.

The petition claims that Masse continued to work closely with Calamar officials on project plans and proposed tax incentives in the following months.

At a staff meeting in June, the petition states, Masse gave every indication the project would get a green light.

"At no time during this meeting did Mr. Masse state that the Agency had concerns about the Project or was unwilling to support the Project," the document states. "To the contrary, all statements made and actions taken by Mr. Masse indicated that the Project had the support of the GCEDC, justifying the significant investment of time and resources by Calamar."

The project was put before the board July 10 for approval of a public hearing.

The board voted to deny Calamar a public hearing on the project and Calamar is accusing two board members of a conflict of interest on the project.

Pete Zeliff (mistakenly named "Paul" in the petition,) and Ray Cianfrini both spoke against tax breaks for the project and voted against setting a public hearing.

The conflict arises, according to Calamar, because Zeliff is building a single-family residential project on East Main Road, Batavia, and Cianfrini, also chair of the Genesee County Legislature, sometimes provides legal counsel to Zeliff.

"The agency's mission is to further the development of industries and create jobs and that housing should stand on its own," Calamar quotes Zeliff as saying.

Calamar claims to have been unaware of Zeliff's development interests at the time of the meeting.

To further emphasize the alleged conflict, Calamar quotes from a story published in The Batavian where Zeliff denies there is a conflict.

In that story, Zeliff noted that the two projects are completely different and do not overlap intended housing markets. Calamar is building apartments for seniors. Zeliff is building houses for families.

The petition states, "Zeliff also acknowledged that competition was an issue influencing his vote," and goes on to say that Zeliff voted against the project to protect his own Oakwood Estates development. 

The characterization of what Zeliff told The Batavian is misleading. Zeliff drew the distinction between his own project and said he didn't see Calamar's project as competitive with it, but noted that another senior housing project, Clinton Crossing, has proceeded without government aid and has a waiting list of residents trying to move in. He said the Calamar project, if it received assistance, would have an unfair, subsidized advantage over Clinton Crossing.

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

The suit also criticizes Zeliff and Cianfrini for misstating how many jobs the project would create. 

Rather than just two jobs, Calamar claims the project would add 4.5 full-time equivalent non-employee jobs (contractors) as well as dozens of construction jobs during the project development.

The rejection, the petition states, was taken "without any findings or reasoning," which Calamar claims is required if the board is going against either past practices or policy.

Calamar is also critical of GCEDC for having a vague Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP), and notes that the state's comptroller's office had the same criticism of GCEDC earlier this year.

"The Comptroller found that this failure to have formalized evaluation criteria resulted in an inconsistent approach by the Board and a lack of objective evaluation of proposed projects," the petition states.

Calamar claims to have received tax incentives for similar projects in Niagara County, Erie County, Stueben County and Auburn.

There is a great need in Genesee County for such a project, Calamar tells the court. According to the 2010 Census, 28.5 percent of the local population is 55 or older and 23.7 percent is 40 to 55.

The Genesee County Housing Focus Group's strategic plan states, according to Calamar, "senior apartment shortages have been noted as a major concern."

Calamar's project would be marketed to people 55 and older with an annual income of $35,000 to $45,000, and residents would only be those not receiving government housing assistance.

The 117,000-square-foot facility would offer one and two bedroom apartments with rents from $805 to $1,050 per month. There would be a full-time director on site, with events, educational seminars, meals, exercise instruction, home helpers, cleaning services, health system services and transportation offered.

The 33 acres of the proposed project is currently assessed at $166,400. The anticipated increase in assessed value is not stated, but the total value of the PILOT would be $854,580, with Calamar paying 20 percent of the taxes on the increase in assessed value in the first year. Calamar would pay an increasing share of taxes up to 100 percent by year 11.

Other proposed tax abatements are $454,744 on sales tax for materials and an exemption of the $120,000 mortgage tax on the purchase of the property.

The suit claims both Masse and GCEDC attorney Russ Gaenzle were shocked by the board's vote and exhibits include copies of their e-mails.

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

October 27, 2014 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved an application for an amended purchase agreement for Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAA) at its Oct. 27 board meeting.

“Even before IAA has put a shovel in the ground, the company is already expanding its footprint which bodes well for our region in terms of jobs and continued economic development in Genesee County,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC.

In June, the GCEDC board accepted IAA’s offer to purchase 30 acres at Apple Tree Acres. During the company’s due diligence period, IAA’s engineers discovered that more useable acres were required to meet the long-term objectives of the company. The GCEDC and the Town of Bergen worked with IAA to increase the proposed site to 36.2 acres. The Apple Trees Acres Corporate Park is a 119-acre site in the Town of Bergen located on routes 33 and 19.

“IAA is committed to expanding its presence in communities where there is strong customer demand,” said John Kett, CEO and president of IAA. “We look forward to being part of the Bergen community, and thank the GCEDC board for approving this application, which will enable us to better serve our customers and providers in the area.”

Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc., (IAA) is the leading live and live-online North American salvage vehicle auction company with the most auction facilities footprint in North America. The company is committed to providing customers with the highest level of services and has more than 160 auction facilities across the United States and Canada offering towing, financing and titling services. IAA provides registered buyers from around the globe with millions of opportunities to bid on and purchase donated and salvaged vehicles.

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