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December 1, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, schools, education, news, GCEDC.

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John Jakubowski, workforce development consultant for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for GCEDC, visited Le Roy High School today as guests of the Business Education Alliance's Career Lunch-N-Learn Series.

Jakubowski and Suozzi talked about career opportunities in STEM (Science, Tehcnology, Engineering and Math) fields, advanced manufacturing and nanotechnologies, and what it takes for a student to enter those career paths.

"The BEA Career Lunch-N-Learn Series is a tremendous opportunity for our students to interact with professionals in different fields, and we can't thank Karyn Winters enough for her organizing efforts and partnering with us," said Principal Tim McArdle. "It is these experiences that allow our students to focus on their future and learn about the many options they have.

"Today's speakers from GCEDC gave our students a chance to learn about amazing opportunities right here in our backyard so that we can retain the talent we are developing. I really commend Mr. Suozzi and Mr. Jakubowski for their efforts in promoting the WNY STAMP and also educating our students on career advice."

The purpose of the series, McArdle said, is to expand beyond the traditional career day and expose students to information about various careers throughout the year.

"We have taken the traditional one day 'career day' and infused it in and throughout the school year," McArdle said. "Each of our teachers are tasked to host one professional to speak to their classes in an experience we call Career Chats.

"Each Career Chat speaker also stays for an after-school session in the library open to all students. Our students also participate in off-campus field trip opportunities visiting local business/industries through our Student Success Center and staff initiated opportunities."

Another resource available to students and parents is Naviance, in which counselors work with students on career and self-exploration throughout the school year both at school and at home. 

To prepare the local workforce for jobs like what is anticipated at WNY STAMP -- Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- the district has partnered with Byron-Bergen Central School in a Soft Skills Training program.

The program is being funded through a grant from an America’s Best Communities Award that the Towns of Le Roy and Bergen won in 2015 and is coordinated with Jakubowski and Loren Penman. Seniors in both districts are exposed to four different lessons from local professionals this spring.  

"Our goal is to not have one week go by without our students having a chance to hear from a professional in the field. It is vital we maintain this important commitment for the development of our graduates."

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November 8, 2017 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that the agency was presented with the Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award at the New York Community College Trustees (NYCCT) annual awards ceremony on Oct. 21. The GCEDC was nominated for the award by the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees.

The Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award is the highest recognition that can be bestowed upon a business or individual and recognizes a partnership and commitment with a community college. Pawenski was one of the founding Trustees at Niagara County Community College.

“The growth and success of Genesee Community College is due in large part to our long-standing collaboration and partnership with the GCEDC,” said GCC President James M. Sunser, Ed.D. “We are training our students to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors.”

The GCEDC and Genesee Community College have collaborated on programming and curriculum related to agribusiness and advanced manufacturing among others. The goal of the collaboration is to prepare the next generation of workers to fill jobs for businesses operating in the Genesee County Agri-Business Park and the anticipation of businesses opening in the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

“On behalf of our Board and staff, the GCEDC is honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Our partnership with Genesee Community College is critically important to our efforts to economic development efforts in Genesee County.”

The NYCCT is a voluntary nonprofit association of community college trustees established to strengthen the effectiveness of New York’s community college trustees as an active force in the development and implementation of public policy impacting community colleges. The NYCCT represents the appointed board members who govern the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

October 27, 2017 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2018 at its board meeting on Oct. 26, with anticipated cash outflows of $2.5 million.

“The mission of the GGLDC is to foster local economic development by making real estate development investments that prepare sites in Genesee County for new corporate tenants,” said Tom Felton, chairman of the GGLDC. “The GGLDC also provides strategic investment funding to support the GCEDC’s ongoing economic development program.”

The anticipated 2018 expenditures of the GGLDC include operations and maintenance for the MedTech Centre building, site/corporate park maintenance, an economic development program support grant to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), and professional services.

Other significant items include: an $890,000 pass through grant from the New York State Department of Transportation that furthers the ability of the tenants of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag Park) to access rail; $655,000 is debt service payments supporting development at the Ag Park and the MedTech Center building; as well as $352,000 in expenses related to wastewater treatment facility upgrades in the Village of Corfu in partnership with the Town of Pembroke, supporting the Buffalo East Technology Park.

A major source of revenue is rent of $670,000 from the MedTech Centre facility. In addition, $205,000 will be received through the Empire Pipeline Community Benefit Agreement. Additional cash receipts will include $295,000 in principal and interest payments from several companies repaying loans made in previous years.

“The GGLDC will be working to actively market our shovel-ready parks in conjunction with the Genesee County Economic Development Center in 2018. We have been working with a few projects that we anticipate will come to fruition by the end of 2018,” Felton said.

October 23, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider final applications for three projects at the agency’s board meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Innovation Zone board room at 99 Medtech Drive. All GCEDC Board meetings are open to the public.

The Board will consider final approval of incentives for a $450,000 capital investment by Manning Squires and Hennig in the Town of Batavia; a $4.5 million capital investment by Darien Lake Theme Park in the Town of Darien; and, a $4.3 million capital investment by O-AT-KA Milk Products in the City of Batavia.

Manning Squires and Henning is once again seeking to expand its footprint in the Town of Batavia. Earlier this year, the company invested $2.2 million for a 9,5000-square-foot expansion. The company is planning a Phase II component to expand to approximately 14,500 square feet, including a $450,000 investment for the purchase of construction related to equipment for which it is seeking approval of $36,000 is sales tax exemptions.

Darien Lake is seeking $360,000 in sales tax exemptions as part of a capital investment of $4.5 million for a new ride set to open in 2018. The tourism project will help retain 398 jobs at one of the Buffalo Niagara and Finger Lakes region’s most popular resorts.

The GCEDC board also will consider final approval of a 20,000-square-foot expansion project by O-AT-KA as part of a $4.3 million capital investment at the company’s plant on Ellicott Street. O-AT-KA is requesting approximately $370,000 for sales tax and property tax exemptions. The project, located in the City of Batavia, will help retain 308 jobs.

October 6, 2017 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for Triple O Mechanical in the Town of Bergen and 212 West Main Street Inc. in the City of Batavia at its Oct. 5 board meeting. The agency also accepted applications from Darien Lake and O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative.

Triple O will invest $400,000 to expand its existing facility from 6,960 square feet to 14,614 square feet, which will create one new job and retain 19 jobs. The company will receive sales and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $75,000. Triple O provides heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical services for residential and commercial customers.

212 West Main Street Inc. is investing $895,000 for a new Arby’s Restaurant, which will include renovations of the interior and exterior of the existing building as well as the purchase of equipment. While a retail project, the 212 West Main Street project qualifies for incentives since it is located adjacent to a highly distressed area of the city. 212 West Main Street Inc. will receive sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $66,500.  The new restaurant will create five new jobs.

An application for assistance was accepted by the GCEDC on behalf of Darien Lake Theme Park Resort for a new ride set to open in 2018. Darien Lake is seeking $360,000 in sales tax exemptions as part of a capital investment of $4.5 million. The project will help retain 398 jobs at one of the Buffalo Niagara and Finger Lakes regions most popular resorts.​

The GCEDC board also accepted an application from O-AT-KA for a $4.3 million capital investment for an approximate 20,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s plant on Ellicott Street. The company is requesting approximately $370,000 for sales tax and property tax exemptions.  The project will help retain 308 jobs in the Town and City of Batavia.

Since both O-AT-KA and Darien Lake are requesting incentives of more than $100,000, public hearings for both projects will be scheduled.

“Genesee County continues to see major business growth and investment in our existing companies,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “All of these projects send a positive message that Genesee County is open for business and a great place to grow.”

September 26, 2017 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Genesee County in order to keep an important water infrastructure project on track.

Schumer said that with the agreement now up for renewal, it is essential that FERC approve the extended agreement to finance new water infrastructure at Genesee County’s Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park (STAMP), bringing good paying jobs to the Rochester Finger Lakes region and investing in New York State’s critical infrastructure.

“Genesee County’s PILOT agreement is vital to keep water infrastructure construction at STAMP on schedule and put new jobs in the pipeline,” Senator Schumer said. “FERC must act quickly and approve this petition to ensure that the timely construction of new water infrastructure is not held up by bureaucratic red tape.

"This agreement is a win-win for job creation and the hard working people of Genesee County, allowing the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed with vital upgrades to the STAMP business park.”

Schumer explained that the original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032.

This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement.

This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. Funding provided to Genesee County by Empire Pipeline under this PILOT agreement is required by Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to finance Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve STAMP and timely action by FERC is needed to ensure the construction timeline is not delayed.

A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear FERC Chairman Chatterjee:

I write to request that you take swift action on the Petition (Docket CP06-5, Sub Docket 013) filed by Empire Pipeline Inc. to approve its revised and extended PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Genesee County, NY, which is necessary to finance new job-creating water infrastructure at Genesee County’s STAMP (Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park) business park. 

The original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032. This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement. This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. 

Timely approval of this agreement is necessary to ensure that the construction of new water infrastructure, which is crucial to economic development in the region, can proceed on schedule. The $4 million in proceeds paid by Empire Pipeline to Genesee County under this renewal agreement are set to be used to finance new job-creating water line investment in Genesee County. Specifically this funding is required to complete the financing of the Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve the forthcoming STAMP business park, a 1,250-acre site that Genesee County is transforming into a shovel-ready business park to attract new manufacturing business and jobs. As the Phase 1 water construction is now underway, I request FERC expeditiously schedule this Petition for action in order to enable the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed on its Phase 2 schedule without delay. 

Thank you for your attention to this request. 

Sincerely, 

Charles E. Schumer

September 21, 2017 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news, notify.

Projects that have received assistance from the Genesee County Economic Development Center for more than a decade have added $4.85 million to local property tax revenue, Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature yesterday during the Ways and Means Committee meeting.

Hyde, who is CEO of the GCEDC, made his presentation as part of the annual department review for the industrial development agency.

It has helped assist in a build-out of more than 2.5 million square feet of new manufacturing space around the county and another million square feet that have been renovated.

There are currently about 80 projects still within their 10-year PILOT (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes) cycle making payments to local taxing jurisdictions.

"Then there are 64 PILOTS that have actually graduated, so to speak," Hyde said (meaning, they're beyond the 10-year lifespan of their PILOTS). "They've expired and they're back paying full taxes. That aggregate (PILOTS and projects that have graduated) is paying almost five million dollars a year in tax payments to county schools and municipalities."

Hyde said as a return on investment for the county's portion of GCEDC's operating budget, that's about a 22-1 return.

"What's happened really is is that even though our total number of PILOTS have gone down, a lot them have graduated and are paying full taxes," Hyde said. "We're also doing larger projects these days. The shovel-ready strategy has made us more of an ecosystem that is attractive to bigger investment."

The biggest project in the pipeline is WNY STAMP (Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park), which contractors starting working on this past month, bringing in water lines and grading for roads and other infrastructure.

STAMP is expected to be the future home of the solar wafer manufacturing plant of 1366 Technologies, but Hyde said there is a lot of interest in the project.

"We're seeing a lot of conversation about STAMP and it's readiness to market," Hyde said. "We actually have a sales funnel with 10 projects in it right now. These are one- and two-year deals but the promise is there for continued growth."

The challenge for business development in New York, as always, Hyde said, is the reputation the state has for being a poor place to do business. That hasn't changed, but Hyde said there is improvement.

"To the credit of the state and the governor, they've done a lot over the past few budget years," Hyde said. "They've moved income taxes for manufacturing down to zero, so that's really helpful because most of our strategies are around shovel-ready sites. That's about bringing advanced manufacturing back and we've got a much better tax climate in New York to help us be successful."

September 8, 2017 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today adopted its 2018 budget at the agency’s Sept. 7 board meeting.

Revenues include $25.5 million in grants (remaining funds from the original $33 million Buffalo Billion allocation) that are earmarked for infrastructure at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP). The remaining projected revenue is comprised of project origination fees of $375,000; an allocation from Genesee County of $193,000; and, Revolving Loan Fund interest revenue of $4,600.   

Cash payments totaling $300,000 will be collected through project origination fee annuity streams that are attributed to projects that closed in prior years. Another $300,000 will be received from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) to support the agency’s overall Economic Development Program.

“We are always cognizant of our fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of the taxpayers of Genesee County,” said Lezlie Farrell, CFO of the GCEDC. “We continue to work hard to control and reduce operating expenses wherever possible despite a 12-percent increase in health insurance premiums in 2018 based on current estimates.”

As a public benefit corporation, the GCEDC generates fees from economic development projects and other sources to run the agency’s operations, programs, and services. Grant funds secured do not include any coverage for grant administration or other operating costs.

“For the last full year of data available in 2016, GCEDC projects contributed approximately $4.8 million in combined PILOT payments and property taxes to local taxing jurisdictions,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia.

“This is a $22 dollar return on each dollar Genesee County allocates to GCEDC operations. We are extremely grateful for this support and believe it is providing the County with a significant return on its investment to our agency.”

September 8, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Yancey's Fancy.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center approved incentives for development projects by Yancey's Fancy in Pembroke and Gateway GS LLC in the Town of Batavia at the agency’s Sept. 7 board meeting.

Yancey's Fancy is investing $5.5 million to renovate the original Kutters Cheese facility at 857 Main St. in Pembroke. The renovations will allow the company to nearly double its natural cheese making capacity by expanding the facility by 6,000 square feet, bringing the total size to 34,000 square feet. The project is anticipated to create 15 new jobs.

Yancey's Fancy was approved for approximately $173,000 in sales, and property tax exemptions. For every $1 of public investment, Yancey's Fancy will invest $117 into the local economy.

Gateway GS LLC is investing $2.6 million to construct a 25,000-square-foot shell spec built facility intended to attract warehouse, distribution, light manufacturing, technology and office space tenants. The building will be engineered as a shell so that prospective tenants will control the buildout, making it more flexible as compared to fitting out the entire building. It is expected that a complete build-out will occur in five phases.

Gateway GS LLC was approved for approximately $140,000 for sales tax and mortgage tax incentives. For every $1 of public investment, Gateway GS LLC will invest $6.90 into the local economy.

“As important as it is to bring new companies and investment to our community such as Gateway GS, it is just as important to help companies such as Yancey's Fancy that are already here to grow and retain and create new jobs,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia.

September 5, 2017 - 3:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for a $5.5 million capital investment by Yancey's Fancy and a $2.6 million capital investment by Gateway GS LLC. Both matters will be considered at the Sept. 7 GCEDC Board meeting.   

Gateway GS LLC has applied for approximately $140,000 for sales tax and mortgage tax incentives for the new company’s proposed 25,000-square-foot spec building at the Gateway II office park.

Artisan cheese maker Yancey's Fancy is proposing to invest $5.5 million to expand and renovate the Kutter's Cheese facility on Main Road in Corfu. The project is expected to create 15 new jobs. Yancey's Fancy has applied for approximately $1.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions.

All GCEDC Board meetings are open to the public. The Sept. 7 meeting will take place at 4 p.m. in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, Batavia.

August 31, 2017 - 11:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business, batavia.

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More than a decade of planning, preparation, promotion, lobbying, public hearings, and approvals have finally culminated in the first shovel in the ground for the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the northwest corner of Genesee County.

Contractors are making room for roads along with water, sewer, and electrical transmission lines, clearing brush and trees and grading the ground to specifications.

"We're pretty excited to be moving forward on infrastructure and breaking ground and turning it into a modern business park," said Mark Masse, VP of operations for Genesee County Economic Development Corporation.

The infrastructure project, which includes a new water main being installed down Judge Road in Oakfield to Route 77 and then out to STAMP, is covered by a $33 million budget appropriations in New York's 2014 state budget. 

The new sewer system is still in the design and approval process and electrical won't be completed until the first tenant -- probably 1366 Technologies -- designs its project and specifies its electrical needs, but all of that infrastructure will be covered by the 2014 budget appropriations.

The new Oakfield-Alabama water line will carry 200,000 gallons of water a day to the Town of Alabama and STAMP. A second water line will also be installed from Pembroke to STAMP, which will provide 600,000 to 800,000 gallons per day of capacity, giving STAMP access to nearly one million gallons of water a day.

As for 1366, the company continues to be engaged with GCEDC in preparations for construction of its solar wafer manufacturing plant, but is still awaiting final approval of a loan guarantee by the Department of Energy. The Trump Administration has yet to fill vacancies on the DoE's board, which must authorize final approval.

Rachael J. Tabelski, GCEDC's director of marketing and communications, said both Rep. Chris Collins and the office of Sen. Charles Schumer have been engaged in trying to help move the process along.

Tabelski also said tech companies looking for locations such at STAMP have shown a good deal of interest in the project. GCEDC has received 14 requests for information and hosted 10 site visits. The projects combined represent a total of $11.5 billion in investments.

"The sales funnel is full," Tabelski said. "There's a lot of interest in STAMP, so it's a matter of when not if."

When that when arrives, Genesee County and the entire region will be expected to provide the employees for these new companies, so GCEDC is also aggressively pursuing workforce development projects with area schools, colleges and universities, Tabelski said.

"There is going to be a need in mechatronics, nano technology, and STEM at all levels of these companies," Tabelski said. "We will have a need for all of these kinds of workers."

(STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering (and) Math.)

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August 11, 2017 - 6:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gateway II, GCEDC, county planning, land use, batavia, business.

A Rochester-based company is working on plans to build five structures in the industrial park bounded by Oak Orchard Road and West Saile Drive, known as Gateway II, that investors hope will attract new business and jobs to the area.

The Genesee County Planning Board was asked to review the site plan for five buildings that will be a mix of warehouse and office space on an 18.8-acres lot and last night the board recommended approval.

Dave Cuirzynski, representing Gateway LS LLC, a subsidiary of Gallina Development Corp., said the company plans to start with one structure, find a tenant and use that to attract more tenants for the other four structures.

"This gives us some added space for companies to come in and attract more businesses," Cuirzynski said. "We can start developing Gateway so it can do what it was intended to do."

Gateway II is a shovel-ready industrial park developed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center. It is 57 acres and includes facilities for Ashley Furniture and Milton Caterpillar.

Gallina is planning a $2.625 million investment in the project, leading to the construction of 25,000 square feet of building that a potential tenant can modify to meet any business need, from office space to warehouse to light industrial.

The other four buildings could be as large as 27,000 square feet.

According to GCEDC officials, the agency regularly received requests for proposals for ready-to-use space, but it often isn't available locally. This new construction will help fill that gap.

The company is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $140,000. A public hearing on the request will be held on a date yet to be announced.

August 4, 2017 - 12:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Ellicott Station, Gateway II, batavia, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for the $17.6 million Ellicott Station project by Savarino Companies in the City of Batavia at the agency’s Aug. 3 board meeting. The GCEDC Board also accepted an application for assistance from Gateway GS LLC, which is proposing to invest $2.625 million for a phase one development of a 25,000-square-foot spec structure in the Gateway II Corporate Park.

The $17.6 million development by Savarino is anticipated to create approximately 60 new jobs. It was recently announced that the first tenant for the site will be the Resurgence Brewing Company. This project would contribute to the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) redevelopment fund and be eligible to draw funds out of the fund to support the project investment related to infrastructure and related improvements in and around the site which offers a “public benefit.”

As a part of the project, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) will submit a “certificate of consistency” and infrastructure development plan, which is a requirement to enable funding to flow from the BP2 redevelopment fund.

Savarino is receiving approximately $1.5 million in sales and mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. For every dollar of public benefit, the company is investing $21 into the local economy.​

A Rochester area developer has created an LLC and is planning to invest $2.625 million to build a 25,000-square-foot “shell” spec building at Gateway II in the Town of Batavia. The building allows potential customers the flexibility in final design while reducing construction lead time. The master plan will build out in four or five phases of 27,000-square-foot facilities, each on 10 acres.

The GCEDC receives several RFPs annually from companies looking for “ready to go” warehouse, distribution, light manufacturing, technology and office space tenants. This has been a market opportunity that the agency has been unable to pursue in the past.

The company is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $140,000. Since the incentives being sought are more than $100,000 a public hearing will be held at a date and time to be determined.

“We are anxious to see work get started at Ellicott Station as this is a major investment in the City of Batavia under the B2P program,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “The spec building being proposed at Gateway aligns with our success in taking the ‘build it and they will come approach’ at our various business parks which has proven to be a successful business model.”

July 18, 2017 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, GCEDC, batavia, business, news, notify.

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(Photo of HP Hood Chairman John A. Kaneb taken this afternoon at his company's new processing facility in Batavia's Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.)

With existing plants at capacity and demand growing, HP Hood was looking for a facility the company could get up and running quickly for long-shelf-life dairy and nondairy products, said its Chairman John A. Kaneb today in an exclusive interview with The Batavian at the company's new processing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. 

The plant was built in 2012 for $206 million as a joint venture between PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group and became known as the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

Now, it's the HP Hood plant, which Hood acquired June 30 from Dairy Farmers of America for $54 million.

Kaneb said Hood knows Upstate New York well -- with four existing plants -- and knew the area had a good supply of raw milk, so when the plant became available, Hood took a keen interest.

"This plant happens to be located fairly well for us -- not ideally -- but fairly well," Kaneb said.  "The availability of the plant, that overcame a lot of, let's say, whatever reluctance we would have because we have to do a lot of very expensive repurposing here. We're moving from a plant that was designed for mass production of lots of yogurt to two fluid products. So that there were some warts and such, but we're very happy to be here."

The staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center made the whole process easy, understood it needed to be expedited, and that added to Hood's interest in locating in Genesee County, Kaneb said.

"Your economic development people here are superb," Kaneb said. "I mean they really are good and they're knowledgeable and they're friendly to business. Hopefully, we will not disappoint them."

Scott Blake, senior vice president of operations for HP Hood, added that the GCEDC staff provided a wealth of information on the area, businesses, and people, which helped them get comfortable with the decision to open a plant here.

HP Hood has committed to creating 230 jobs at the plant. They will take on the original PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement signed by Muller Quaker to receive $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years. The state is also providing a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

If employment goals are met, Hood is also eligible for $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. 

The 170-year-old, Lynnfield, Mass.-based company is adding 100,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space to the plant, which is already 363,000 square feet. After the expansion, with retooling the plant, and the purchase price, Hood will have sunk nearly $200 million into the new facility by the time it goes into production in early 2019.

There has been a rumor recently that the Hood plant could eventually employ 500 people. That's too far down the road to think about, Kaneb said, and he doesn't want to promise that level of growth. He believes they will hit the 230 employee target, but in the first priority is hiring 140 people over the next 12 months.

"I think we're we're confident that it will be reached, but I don't want to get into when we get to 230 or 250 or whatever," Kaneb said. "As far as going beyond that, I hope so. I will tell you that the only other situation that's halfway comparable to this is a greenfield plant we built from the ground up in Winchester, Virginia. We built that in basically 2000 to 2001. Today, 17 years later, here it is employing about 600 people. This plant has the acreage and, et cetera, et cetera, to do something like that, but that took 17 years."

(For photos of the Winchester plant, click here.)

Kaneb is a former Navy man. He graduated from Harvard in 1956, before joining the Navy, with a bachelor's degree in Economics. He acquired a controlling interest in Gulf Oil, tripled its sales to $4.5 billion, and got out of the business in 2005.

The Kaneb family acquired HP Hood in 1985.

It was almost happenstance that the family got into the dairy business, Kaneb said. The only way to grow the oil business was through acquisition, and with growth opportunities limited, they were sitting on excess capital that needed to be put to work. Hood was a great brand and as a native New Englander, Kaneb grew up drinking HP Hood milk. So did his children. But the company had fallen on hard times.

"(Hood) was a company with a great reputation and a great name," Kaneb said. "It was in some difficulty. In fact, a lot of difficulty. As we looked at we thought it might benefit from management that was highly motivated and with energy, et cetera. We thought we could bring some money to the table. We said, 'you know this isn't the business we know but it doesn't look like a complex business. It looks like a basic blocking and tackling business.' "

Since the acquisition, HP Hood has grown to $2 billion in annual sales and has opened new facilities around the Northeast and around the country, such as Virginia, California and Minnesota.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brands and licensed products. The familiar names include Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

When the Kaneb family took over Hood, they replaced much of the management, though they also identified some bright young talent, such as Blake, Kaneb said. Since then, Hood's executive team has been stable.

"(Blake) is certainly one of those stars who could take on more responsibility," Kaneb said. "We found those who had the skills that have helped us build the company into what it is today," Kaneb said. "It's really common sense, frankly, having a true partnership with your employees. If you want to put a motto on it, how we as owners look at the business and the employees, is that 'You take care of us, we take care of you.' Very simple."

Kaneb said he thinks that approach has been good for the company and it's what potential employees can expect in Batavia.

"You take care of us, we take care of you," Kaneb repeated when asked about company culture. "I mean, do your job and do it well and then you'll find the company will appreciate it and take care of you. We prize low turnover and we have low turnover, I would say, very low turnover, at every level."

As for the kind of corporate citizen Hood will be in Batavia, Kaneb said getting involved in the community is something Hood will strive to do, but the first order of business is getting the plant into production.

"First of all, get our business set up," Kaneb said. "We need to get to the level of employees we need to get going. I would call that, from my Navy days, as the shakedown period. Then we can be open to being a reasonably active corporate citizen. I don't think it's a great idea for us to do anything but get ourselves comfortable here, with the employees we need, and get our production going and so on. That should be our sole activity for the foreseeable future."

July 15, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Public Notice:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the Genesee County Legislature will hold a public hearing on the submission of an application for Community Development Block Grant funding from the New York State Office of Community Renewal to provide financing to assist in the establishment of milk processing operations at the former Muller Quaker Dairy facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the Town of Batavia, New York by HP Hood LLC.  More detailed information regarding the project will be presented at the hearing.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the public hearing will be held at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY on the 19th day of July, 2017 at 5:30 PM. All persons who wish to speak will be heard. Written comments are invited and will be accepted upon delivery to: Clerk, Genesee County Legislature, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020 prior to the hearing. The hearing location is in compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 10, 2017 - 9:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Announcement: 

From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:

Fellow New Yorker,

New York is one of the largest dairy producers in the country, being home to nearly 5,000 dairy farms and more than 600,000 dairy cows.

And the majority of the farms in the state are family-run operations -- that's why it's crucial the state invest in hard working New York families and ensure they have the support they need to succeed.

Tomorrow, I am announcing the details of a new partnership that will create hundreds of new jobs at an idle dairy facility in New York.

Join me tomorrow, July 11th at 12:30 p.m. as I unveil the details of this new investment.

WHAT: Announcing new investment in New York dairy industry
WHEN: Tuesday, July 11th at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park
5140 Ag Park Drive, Batavia 14020

Thank you for your support, ever upward.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

July 7, 2017 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, bergen, Bethany, batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for three projects at its meeting on Thursday, July 13, in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives for a $7.1 million expansion for a new 40,000-square-foot warehouse and service center for West Seneca-based Freightliner Western Star.

The expansion will create 24 new jobs and the center will be located adjacent to the New York State Thruway and next door to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP).

The GVEP graduates are seen as an "ideal" workforce for the new facility. Freightliner Western Star is seeking approximately $662,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The popular Coach Tony’s, which makes a wide variety of food sauces, is seeking to expand its operations in the Town of Bergen. The company is expanding and planning on constructing a 5,000-square-foot building on three acres at Apple Tree Acres. The project will create three new jobs. Coach Tony’s is seeking approximately $50,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The third project for consideration by the GCEDC is a $170,749 GAIN! loan fund for First Light Creamery in East Bethany. The loan will be used to assist with its existing production of goats' milk cheese from local distribution to regional distribution by adding to their barn, and associated infrastructure, to house more goats.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

June 20, 2017 - 8:46am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Station, savarino companies, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center will hold a public hearing at 4 this afternoon to consider financial incentives for the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in downtown Batavia. The public hearing will take place at City Hall.

The approximate 64,000-square foot development will be a mix use of residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway.

The $17.6 million project is estimated to create up to 60 good paying full-time jobs.

The proposed incentives include $897,293 in sales tax savings, $128,232 mortgage tax savings and $537,398 in property tax savings. 

The project is being done through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program which was created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating. 

Supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites. 

June 16, 2017 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, GCEDC, business, batavia.

Press release:

Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees Monday evening approved its first-ever application for participation in the Start-Up New York program, which permits eligible companies to operate tax-free on or near SUNY campuses for 10 years. Trustees approved Tencar Inc. for participation, a medical equipment manufacturing firm founded in 2011 by Georgann M. Carrubba, of Basom, a 2003 graduate of GCC's Nursing program.

Tencar will operate in the Genesee County Economic Development Center's Med Tech Park, located on the south side of Hawley Drive, across from the Batavia Campus. Genesee Community College designated the Med Tech Park as part of the Start-Up NY zone two years ago.

The Start-Up NY application will now be forwarded to the New York State Empire Development Corporation and State University of New York for review and final approval. Reid J. Smalley, executive director of Workforce Development, said that approval may come within the next 60 days, permitting Carrubba to begin operating in the Med Tech Park.

Carrubba, who serves as CEO of the company, developed and patented an innovative ostomy device that prevents awkward leakage and odor among patients with colostomies and related conditions. The product is expected to go to market later this year. Product components will be 100-percent made in the United States, and Carrubba has concluded an agreement with the 3M Company to use its products in the manufacturing of TenCar devices.

The Start-Up NY program is open to new or expanding businesses that align their operations or products with academic disciplines taught at SUNY campuses and some private college and university campuses. Genesee Community College students in the Nursing, Fashion Design and Business programs will have the opportunity to learn product design, customer service, business operations, and entrepreneurship principles from TenCar. The company hopes to make internships available to GCC students and hire GCC graduates in the future.

Prior to the Board's decision, the College's Start-Up NY Committee scrutinized the company's plans and operations, and determined that the company's presence in the GCC Start-Up NY Zone would benefit the College and its students.

President James M. Sunser said that he and the staff were proud of Carrubba, and believed that TenCar, a graduate-founded company, is an especially appropriate choice for Start-Up NY participation. Several trustees praised Carrubba and said they believe her company's innovative product will make a significant difference in the lives of ostomy patients.

June 15, 2017 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, STAMP, GCEDC, construction bids.

Press release:

The process for the construction of infrastructure in and around the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) continues as the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced an advertisement for sealed bids for the construction of the STAMP main access road and widening of New York State Route 77/63.

Bids will be received by the agency up until 2 p.m. EST on June 27. 

The road work includes the construction of approximately 3,300 linear feet of new roadway and drainage for the STAMP main entrance between NYS Route 77/63 and Crosby Road, and an alternate bid that includes constructing a new northbound left turn lane on NYS Route 77/63, all located in the Town of Alabama.

“Bids for the road work are in addition to the bids that have been accepted , reviewed and awarded for water work to support STAMP,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “Over the summer we will see actual work being done to prepare the site which will only enhance the opportunities to market STAMP to emerging advanced technology manufacturing businesses.”

The issuing office for the road work bidding documents is Clark Patterson Lee, 186 N. Water St., Rochester (NY 14604). All inquiries should be made to Debbie Button-Vanderwall at [email protected] or at 585-402-7511. The bidding documents also can be viewed at this location on Monday-Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Only Written Requests For Information (RFI) will be accepted. If necessary, an Addendum will be issued by 5 p.m. EST on June 20. Requests should be made to Zach Anderson via email: [email protected] or facsimile: 585-232-5836.

This project is partially funded by Empire State Development. Prospective bidders should review the Empire State Development requirements included in the contract documents. The project also is subject to a Project Labor Agreement.

About the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC): The GCEDC is the primary economic development agency in Genesee County. The GCEDC’s mission is to assist local economic development efforts by serving in a conduit financing capacity enabling the issuance of taxable and non-taxable debt to benefit the growth, expansion, ongoing operations and continued viability of for profit business enterprise in Genesee County thereby helping to maintain a sustainable long-term economy. The Batavia/Genesee County region has been recognized for eight consecutive years by "Site Selection Magazine" as a top 10 micropolitan in the United States and is rated number three by "Business Facilities Magazine" as a top metro area for food processing and manufacturing growth.

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Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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