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April 14, 2017 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in START-UP Genesee, batavia, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The next START-UP Genesee Think and Drink event will take place at Genesee Community College (GCC) featuring small business resources and access to capital specialists. The FREE event is the fourth of series of networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business professionals. The event hosted by GCC will take place in Room T119 from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.

The program will include remarks by the following:

  • Barb Shine, a leadership development trainer and serial entrepreneur. Shine will offer highlights of GCC’s upcoming Small Business Ownership Series, a program recommended for all entrepreneurs as well as current managers of small business.
  • Peter M. Casey, Esq., who is a START-UP Genesee sponsor and partner at DelPlato Casey Law LLP and Batavia Development Corporation Board officer, will address legal considerations when starting a business.
  • Leanna DiRisio, The Hidden Door owner, and Sam Campanella, certified business adviser for the Small Business Development Center, will share their stories about starting and growing a business.

“The course was intentionally designed for the busy self-starter who might be wondering where to begin or for the early stage operator needing a little more guidance,” Shine said. “Our goal is to shape an action plan for your business initiative.”

“It’s vital to consider the business structure as you enter a venture and equally critical to protect your assets,” said Casey.

Representatives from local banking institutions will be on hand and other creative lending sources will be on display.

START-UP Genesee is intended to assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.

The Think and Drink series is sponsored by:

  • Canandaigua National Bank
  • Tompkins Bank of Castile Insurance Agencies
  • Feed Maxick CPAs
  • Merrill Lynch of Batavia
  • University at Buffalo New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, Life Sciences and Material Informatic
  • Del Plato Casey LLP
April 11, 2017 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, wny stamp, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced a new round of bids for site work at STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids was published April 11.

The work will include: asbestos abatement and demolition of a former two-story residence at 6758 Alleghany Road; a former two-story residence at 6725 Crosby Road; a former one-story residence at 840 Crosby Road; and, two barns and removal of debris from a structure that was a former residence.

The bids will be unsealed and read at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, located at 99 Medtech Drive in Batavia. Bids also can be accessed by contacting Debbie Button-Vanderwall (585-402-7511) from Clark Patterson Lee, which is the engineering firm overseeing the bidding process.

“While we will not be conducting a pre-bid meeting; those interested in submitting a bid can arrange for a site visit to see the structures,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “It also should be noted that for this specific work the Project Labor Agreement will not be applicable.”

March 28, 2017 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC)  will take action on three projects at the Board’s meeting on Thursday, March 30.

Coach Tony's, a specialty sauce food processor, is seeking to build a new 5,000-square-foot building on three acres within Apple Tree Acres. The company has been operating out of a leased facility in the Town of Bergen. Coach Tony’s is requesting that the GCEDC Board accept an application for sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax abatements. 

The board also will consider approving a final resolution for tax exemptions in the City and Town of Batavia for O-AT-KA.  In 2016, O-AT-KA made a capital investment of approximately $20.9 million for a 200,000-square-foot warehouse expansion. The capital cost increased $850,000 and as a result the sales tax increased $68,000. 

Finally, the Board will consider a final resolution for approval of a GAIN Loan Fund for Jr. Maple, which owns and operates a maple syrup production farm in Batavia. The farm started with 800 taps, and has grown to 4,800 taps in just three years. The company is seeking a GAIN! Loan fund of $30,000 to purchase a more energy-efficient boiling system to enhance its operations.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public and will take place in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 30th.

March 20, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that bids for infrastructure work at STAMP have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids will be published March 20.

The GCEDC also will host a pre-bid conference on March 29 at 10 a.m. at the MedTech Centre’s Innovation Zone so that interested parties can ask questions about specifications for the bids and other relevant information, including MWBE requirements and the Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

“We are extremely aware of the fact that the funding for the infrastructure work involves taxpayer money and as such this is going to be an extremely transparent process,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We fully anticipate having shovels in the ground in a couple of months.”

Clark Patterson Lee is issuing the bids and will manage construction inspection for Phase I work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The engineering firm will also be issuing bids in the near future and managing construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of routes 63 and 77. 

The firm will review the bids for the road and water infrastructure work and make recommendations to the GCEDC Board for approval.

March 3, 2017 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, business, news.

Staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center responded to 120 leads of businesses looking for locations to set up new facilities, CEO Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during his annual review of the agency's progress before the Ways and Means Committee.

The pipeline of high-tech businesses that are looking for the kind of location the STAMP project in Alabama provides includes at least two "whales," Hyde said.

That has kept staff busy, especially in a year when work continues to prepare STAMP for ground breaking this spring.

"We're one of the few counties in the state with lots of sites to choose from," Hyde said.

Those include not only STAMP but the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East, Gateway II, Upstate Med-Tech, Oatka Hills and now the Le Roy Food and Tech Park.

"Our body of work is as big as it's ever been at the agency," Hyde said.

It was a tepid year for job growth, Hyde said, and uncertainty around the Federal election in 2016 had many businesses sitting on their hands waiting to see what happened, but he thinks Genesee County is well positioned to move forward in the new era of technology-led growth.

While technology jobs tend to optimize for efficient production, there will be opportunities for people who want to live and work in Genesee County.

"You've got to go after these high-tech jobs because they're good paying, well-paying jobs for kids from high school degrees and technical training all the way up to PhDs," Hyde said. "They don't create as many jobs per square foot, but they create a lot of jobs for what we're used to in Genesee County."

This year will be a big year for implementation, Hyde said, especially on STAMP, with the beginning of a phased approach to a $40 million investment in roads, water, sewer, gas and electric at the site.

The agency is awaiting federal approval of a natural gas pipeline project that has apparently been delayed by the transition of White House administrations.

"There are not enough sitting commissioners Federal Energy Regulatory Committee to approve our little pipeline with natural gas," Hyde said. "Of course, they can approve the Dakota Pipeline but not that little stuff. That didn't get done."

There's also a delay in Department of Energy funding assistance for 1366 Technologies and without securing that funding, 1366 has delayed its own announcement of when it will be breaking ground on its solar wafer manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Meanwhile, to help support STAMP with a qualified labor force, GCEDC is working with area colleges and universities on a program called STEM to STAMP, which will provide course work suitable for the kind of jobs expected to be created at STAMP.

There's also a lot of interest at area high schools in filtering that coursework down to that level of education, including at Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama, Batavia, and Byron-Bergen.

"We're all talking about, 'How can we take this model where we can take this curriculum that's developed by universities and colleges and bring pieces of that course work down into our secondary schools?' " Hyde said.

Given the potential of STAMP to create 11,500 good-paying jobs in high tech, Hyde said the agency continues to push state and federal officials for support.

"We're not getting there unless we continue to find ways to secure infrastructure funding, to expand the capacity, so I can go out and sell them and try to bag the big whale," Hyde said.

The GCEDC will host its annual meeting at noon today at Batavia Downs.

March 3, 2017 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Transportation, GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept an application for assistance from Genesee Valley Transportation at the board’s meeting on March 2. GVT is looking to add approximately 12,000 square feet to its cross-dock facility in the City of Batavia because of increased customer demand.

In 2010, the GCEDC provided assistance to GVT for the construction of a 25,000-square-foot dock facility where rail cars are loaded and unloaded and then product is transferred to tractor-trailers.  The warehouse features a 280-square-foot indoor rail siding, 27-foot-high ceilings and 22,000 square feet of floor space. GVT is investing $1.011 million to expand the facility and will retain 10 jobs in the process.

“One of the attractions of doing business in Genesee County and Batavia is easy access to transportation routes and GVT provides just that to customers that rely on rail to ship their products,” said Paull Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC.

For every one dollar of investment through the expansion project, it is estimated that there will be a four dollar return. Since the incentives total more than $100,000 a public hearing must be conducted.

February 28, 2017 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, byron-bergen, schools, education, news, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

When members of the Class of 2018 graduate from Byron-Bergen and Le Roy Central school districts next June, their high school transcripts will include a certificate, endorsed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, indicating completion of a training program in professional skills.

With support from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation and the America’s Best Communities grant, a timely program is being developed in the two districts to provide graduating seniors with a repertoire of skills that employers perceive as lacking in the majority of first-time job applicants.

“We are constantly looking for strategies to develop our local workforce in preparation for emerging career opportunities,” said John Jakubowski, GCEDC Workforce Development consultant. “Honing professional skills gives our students the edge in a competitive market.”

Professional skills, sometimes referred to as “soft” skills, include effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, critical observation, and conflict resolution. While they may be difficult to quantify, their absence is obvious and problematic for conducting business efficiently and professionally.

“Our students are developing a growth mindset as early as elementary school,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “We reinforce the belief throughout all grades that intelligence and character can be developed and that human potential really is without limits.

"With this new program for seniors on their way out our doors to higher education, the service or employment, we are equipping them with a refinement of skills to position them for success in whatever route they take.”

The professional skills training will rely on the expertise of school counseling staff, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Business Education coordinator, and local employers as guest presenters. 

“When our students can interact with a company president or a human resources manager from our geographical area, they not only learn the importance of professional skills, they also get a feel for the wide variety of opportunities that exist close to home," said incoming Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly.

"With the exciting initiatives transpiring in projects like the Le Roy Food & Tech Park, we want our graduates to be ready to take advantage of any career path that presents itself. But professional skills are universally in demand and will serve our children well for a lifetime.” 

While the professional skills training program is being designed specifically for Byron-Bergen and Le Roy high school seniors, the model is highly replicable and can be adapted easily in other districts.

February 27, 2017 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Bethany, business.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation has appointed Genesee County Legislator Gregg Torrey to the organization’s Board of Directors. Torrey represents the towns of Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion. 

Torrey is a commercial real estate agent and licensed real estate appraiser across New York state and is the managing partner of Springbrooke Properties LLC.

“I look forward to applying my years of experience in real estate to enhance opportunities for development at the various industrial parks throughout the county and in particular our continued efforts to make STAMP shovel ready,” Torrey said.

Torrey is past president of the Batavia Development Corporation and past member of the City of Batavia Planning and Development Committee. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District, Genesee Cancer Assistance and the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union.

A 1994 graduate of Notre Dame High School, he graduated from Canisius College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA in Finance.

Torrey and his family reside in Bethany.

February 27, 2017 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news, Le Roy, Le Roy Food & Tech Park.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) continues to pursue a $1.2 million phase one shovel-ready project to build a business park on a 75-acre parcel in the Town of Le Roy. Similar efforts in the towns of Batavia, Pembroke and Bergen have yielded major corporate investment. The plan for the GCEDC is to replicate this business attraction model in Le Roy.

The GCEDC has purchased the land for the project, requested a rezoning of the property from the Town of Le Roy and has received an award through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process administered by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for $420,000 to begin site engineering and infrastructure construction.

The GCEDC estimates that at full build out, the Le Roy Food & Tech Park will have approximately 600,000 square feet for office, advanced manufacturing and distribution/warehousing space that could employ as many as 1,000 people.

“The GCEDC has a proven track record in making sites shovel ready through smart investments and market these sites to businesses locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and we are confident that this can be accomplished in Le Roy,” said Genesee County Legislator Shelley Stein (Le Roy). 

“Collaboration is critical to this type of effort and it’s good to see how our local government leaders and economic development and education professionals are working together to make this project a reality,” said Genesee County Legislator Robert J. Basuch (Elba, Byron and Bergen).

“We continue to move forward with the GCEDC to make this site shovel ready,” said Le Roy Town Supervisor Stephen R. Barbeau. “We have the real potential to create new jobs, secure new investment and grow the tax base in our community.”

“We think our strategy of building a shovel-ready site in Le Roy will enhance market opportunities for existing buildings and infrastructure in the vicinity of the park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “This is similar to the development strategy deployed around the county where shovel-ready parks are located at the edge of population centers.”

The Le Roy Food & Tech Park is located on a 75-acre parcel on Route 19 and West Bergen Road in the Town of Le Roy bordering the Village of LebRoy. The GCEDC estimates that when developed it will be able to attract companies and investment to the site that will enable additional commercial infill into the Village.

To prepare the local workforce for these new jobs, the towns are partnering with Le Roy Central School and Byron-Bergen Central School through a Professional Skills Training program.  The program is being funded through a grant from America’s Best Communities award that the towns of Le Roy and Bergen won in 2015. 

Professional skills include various interpersonal skills such as how to interact with people, emotional intelligence, verbal communications skills and other skills to help people perform in the workplace. The lack of professional skills has been identified by employers as one of the biggest challenges for the next generation of workers. 

“We need to work together to not only bring new jobs to our community but also to provide the next generation of our workforce the tools to be successful once they graduate from school,” said Donald S. Cunningham, Town of Bergen supervisor.

“There are a number of exciting initiatives taking place in Bergen and Le Roy and this project has the potential to really have a positive impact on both communities,” said Anna Marie Barclay, Village of Bergen mayor.

February 23, 2017 - 2:57pm

freshlabfeb222017.jpg

Sometime in 2017, there may be beer on tap in the former JJ Newberry building on Main Street, Downtown Batavia.

Matt Gray (top photo, pointing toward the back of the room to his partner in the Batavia Brewing Co. venture, Jon Mager) made the announcement during a Start Up Genesee event at the location yesterday, and said that the Fresh Labs concept for the Newberry building is ready to go forward.

The blueprints are in place, permits pulled and a contractor selected and Gray believes all of the work -- a brewery, a restaurant and two additional full kitchens for start-up restaurants along with seven apartments on the second and third floors -- will be completed by the end of the year.

The Fresh Labs concept was taken on by Gray and Mager in cooperation with the Batavia Development Corp. to help achieve several local goals, he said -- bring more people downtown, provide a way for aspiring restaurateurs to start their businesses and help the city retain some of the $28 million being spent by local residents on food and entertainment in Rochester and Buffalo. 

Gray said Fresh Lab will give people looking to break into the restaurant business a supportive environment throughout the process of developing a concept, getting it launched and helping it grow.

"We want to take the person who has the drive and the skill and work them through the point where they're ready to launch," Gray said. "We will give them direction and resources but then we don't walk way."

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for BDC, said the BDC is working on a competition, sort of a taste challenge, as part of selecting the first two businesses that will be given space in Fresh Lab.

The building, which was a mortuary before it was Newberry's (it was Newberry's for 70 years), is three stories high with a large basement. Each level is 10,000 square feet. There will be seven studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Those floors were once office space for doctors, lawyers and at one time, Batavia Area Jaycees, according to the sign on one door.

freshlabfeb222017-2.jpg

Start Up Genesee is organized by Genesee County Economic Development Center and this was the initiative's third event. Bob Capurso was at the first, where he spoke with Chris Suozzi about the business idea he had: producing Boy Scout grave marker medallions. Suozzi, a VP with GCEDC, helped connect Capurso with advisors who were able to assist him in getting his business launched. He's gone from a concept six months ago, to a design to a prototype and now he's had the first 50 medallions produced and ready for sale. 

“My main goal on this is not to make a ton of money on this, but to get the commemoration out there to the people who earned it through their dedication to scouting,” he said.

freshlabfeb222017-3.jpg

freshlabfeb222017-4.jpg

Another local start-up at the event was Eichenfeld LLC, makers of the game MöbileSchlägen. The company will hold a Kickstarter fundraising campaign this Saturday at City Slickers starting at 7 p.m.

freshlabfeb222017-5.jpg

January 31, 2017 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tencar, GCEDC, business, batavia.

tencarpcjan30217.jpg

The GLOW region isn't exactly a hotbed of venture capital activity, so any founder might find it hard to get that first round of funding that is so critical to the success of a startup.

For a woman founder, statistically speaking at least, the odds of getting that early-stage seed backing is even higher. About 3 percent of all venture-backed companies are headed by female founders.

That makes Batavia's Georgann Carrubba pretty unique. She now has access to $200,000 in seed funding through Launch NY and Excell Partners.

Carrubba was awarded the first $100,000 last year in a startup competition hosted by Launch NY in Rochester. Yesterday, at a press conference at the Innovation Zone in the Med-Tech Center, Carrubba was able to announce that Launch NY and Excell have each agreed to put in another $50,000 apiece.

“We strongly believe our product will be life changing for colostomy and ileostomy patients,” Carrubba said. “These types of investments demonstrate we have a viable medical device that is close to being ready for pilot production. We are extremely grateful to Excell Partners and Launch New York for this investment in our company.”

Launch NY is a state-backed incubator for tech startups in WNY and Excell is venture capital fund created by the state.

The goal of both organizations is to identify promising startups that will be based in New York and have the potential to grow into big businesses that employ lots of people.

"We all know, economic development is a team sport and Georgann has a team behind her," said Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners. "We want to be the wind at her back and we want to see her succeed so that this same team is standing up together in the future ringing the bell at NASDAQ."

That kind of growth is certainly Carrubba's goal, who intends to keep her business based in Batavia and manufacture the device she's designed for colostomy and ileostomy patients that she believes will help them enjoy the kind of active lifestyle that can be difficult with current colostomy bags.

She calls her product Choice Cap. Yesterday (pictures below), she showed off the latest design iteration, which is slimmer and more functional that earlier versions.

With the $200,000 in funding, she can begin production and marketing, but to really grow the company, she will need to find second- and third-round investors.  

The latest round of funding comes from a state grant dedicated to funding women-owned startups and Mazzullo said Tencar is the perfect business to receive the fund's support.

"Tencar and Georgann exemplify -- are the poster child for -- why this fund was created," Mazzullo said. "It’s an opportunity to invest in very promising technologies in the region that are women-owned in an area that is going to have job creation. It hits all the high-water marks for what you want in economic development in our region -- promising technology, women-owned, job creation."

Carrubba, a nurse by profession, first came up with the idea for Choice Cap in 2011 and got serious about developing a business in 2014. It's been a long process, she said, but worth the effort. She believes she will make lives better for patients and employ more people locally.  

She's been through tons of meetings, presentations and planning to get to this early-stage funding level, but that's not unusual said Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY. In fact, it's normal.

"A reporter asked me, ‘well, it’s been a long time,’ and, (she replied) 'well, no not really,' " she said. "This is what it is like and a lot of people don’t realize it. Entrepreneurship has become such a cool thing for people to do, but the hard work, and the 24/7, and the angst and the ‘Can I make it through the next step?’ that is something people don’t appreciate fully.”

Carrubba said she knows she's not done with the hard work, but yesterday's announcement was a milestone in the process so far.

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "There are so many strong, qualified, educated people behind me. I could not be happier. It could not have played out any better."

tencarpcjan30217-2.jpg

Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners

tencarpcjan30217-3.jpg

Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY

tencarpcjan30217-4.jpg

tencarpcjan30217-5.jpg

January 20, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

What started over a decade ago as a concept to market a site for the emerging advanced manufacturing industry became a reality as the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved contracts to prepare bids for infrastructure work at STAMP. The first phase of infrastructure funding is part of the $33 million allocated to STAMP --  -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- from the Buffalo Billion.

“This is a watershed moment for STAMP,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “We are finally going to start putting shovels in the ground to begin the process of building a next-generation site to bring advanced manufacturing companies to our region.”

The board approved a contract for $380,000 to the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection for Phase I and Phase II work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The board approved a second contract for $165,000 to Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of Route 77. The firm will oversee the drafting, issuance and review of the various bids for the road and water infrastructure work.

“It’s one thing to say to corporate site selectors and economic development officials that you have a site for potential development as opposed to having a site that is shovel ready with road and utility infrastructure already built,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Our site immediately rises to the top of the list among those making decisions about where they are going to build the next new advanced manufacturing facility.”

It is anticipated that the bidding documents for the water and roadway will work be released in mid-February with actual work to begin on site in late spring.

The GCEDC board meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 19.

January 18, 2017 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Pathway to Prosperity, GCEDC, batavia, news.

Press release:

The “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2), the program created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) was showcased at the annual conference of the New York State Economic Development Council in Albany on Jan. 18.

Batavia City Manager Jason Molino, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde, GCEDC Vice President Chris Suozzi and GCEDC Marketing Director Rachel Tabelski participated in the presentation at the conference to economic development officials from across New York State.

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 (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating. B2P is supported by the redirection of 50 percent of new project PILOT payments.  

“This was a great opportunity to showcase what is really a unique economic development partnership that we hope other cities like Batavia could implement in partnership with their respective economic development agencies,” Molino said. “The Batavia Development Corporation is playing a key role in leading economic development efforts for the city and as a liaison with the GCEDC and others involved in this partnership.”

“The B2P initiative demonstrates the continued collaboration between the public and private sectors in Genesee County,” said Julie Pacatte, B2P economic coordinator. “It’s extraordinary that all levels of government in Genesee County recognize the importance and priority for the economic well-being of the city of Batavia. It’s a partnership that has already shown early returns.”

The first project to be supported by the B2P program is the $15 million redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site in Batavia. The development will include mixed-use 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 development is expected to create up to approximately 60 – 120 new jobs and approximately 120 jobs during construction. The developer is Savarino Companies in Buffalo.

 “The B2P will help our agency market and attract investment to the most economically distressed areas of the city,” Hyde said. “Through the Ellicott Station development, we have a tangible project to demonstrate the benefits of the B2P program to others interested in development opportunities in Batavia and Genesee County.”

To learn more about the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, visit www.bataviaopportunity.com.

December 26, 2016 - 12:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, business, GCEDC.

The timeline has been pushed back, but expectations are still high for the eventual success of 1366 Technologies, the Bedford, Mass.-based solar wafer maker that anticipates eventually creating 1,000 new jobs in Genesee County.

Even as the process moves along slowly, 1366 continues to go forward.

Last week, the company announced a new record in solar power efficiency for a wafer in their product category; in August it unveiled a new beveled edge on its wafer, which helps retain wafer strength while keeping the wafer very thin.

These breakthroughs will help further reduce the cost of the energy produced by solar panels that use 1366's wafers.

The stated goal of 1366 is to help make the production of electricity from solar cheaper than electricity produced by coal.

That might have seemed like a moonshot-ambition when plans to locate 1366's manufacturing plant in the Town of Alabama were first announced two years ago, but the cost of solar energy has dropped by two-thirds in recent years and there are parts of the world now where solar arrays are producing electricity at a cost below that of coal.

In the rapidly evolving technology field, it might seem like delays in getting a new plant open would cause the business owners to worry about losing precious time, but that isn't the case, according to a spokeswoman for 1366.

"I’m sure you’ve noted this, but our path to commercial success has been methodical from day one," Laureen Sanderson said. "It’s one of the reasons why we’re now in a position to scale in a big way. It’s incredibly important to us that we’re careful stewards of all resources sent our way – private and public – and we think we’ve done a good job of balancing the demands to get to market quickly while taking what we see as essential steps to remove all risk – like getting a customer contract in place before a factory is even built."

The cost reductions achieved by the solar industry so far are largely incremental and the result of increasing scale, not big improvements in the technology. The silicon wafers used in solar panels today are made the same way solar wafers have been made for 40 years. The 1366 process is radically different.

Because the company is built around patented, proprietary technology and processes, officials believe they will come to market with a disruptive and competitive advantage whenever they ramp up to full-scale production.

"Direct Wafer technology is a singular achievement," Sanderson said. "We’re the first and only company to solve this manufacturing challenge. There are many great solar innovations out there but they’re in labs. Science projects. It takes years to move from the lab to the factory floor; most ideas never do. What we’ve achieved isn’t easy and the industry knows that."

What exactly is delaying groundbreaking at the new technology park in Alabama, WNY STAMP, isn't clear.

When we've asked Steve Hyde -- CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center and the first advocate for a technology park in Genesee County more than a decade ago -- about the delays, he says everybody is continuing to diligently work on the process; there is ongoing progress, and he quotes one of his favorite phrases, "Economic development is a marathon. It isn't a sprint."

A year ago, officials expected to break ground in the spring. In September, Hyde said there would be a groundbreaking in the fall. Now, the earliest estimate is this coming spring.

Reached this morning, Hyde said infrastructure and construction bidding will start after the first of the year. Water service and the main entrance road will be bid out first. 

"2017 will be a busy year for construction," Hyde said. 

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366, told E&E News earlier this year that he expects to be up and running at STAMP by the end of 2017. Van Mierlo reportedly told E&E that "permitting and red tape" have slowed progress.

"We're moving," he said. "It's certainly not moving as rapidly as one might hope." 

"It's going to be a stretch," he added. "The end of the year rather than the beginning. We definitely want to be in construction next year."

The reason everyone remains so upbeat about the prospects of 1366 is it seems like the company has charted a solid business model built on breakthrough technology.

This isn't PepsiCo trying to enter an already crowded Greek yogurt sector with a barely differentiated product and hoping marketing and supply chain alone could win. This is a company entering an emerging industry with growing demand and a process that will substantially reduce the cost of production.

"Nobody is close. We can produce the wafer at 30 cents a wafer," van Mierlo told E&E News. "Even at today's prices, you are still very profitable. At today's prices, nobody else is profitable. That is the point.

"There's no false modesty here," he added. "Our technology is truly revolutionary when it comes to reducing costs."

In his best-selling business book, "Zero to One," venture capitalist Peter Thiel says new businesses should be built around innovations that are a 10-times improvement over anything currently in the market. 1366 seems to be hitting that mark.

"The Direct Wafer process is a dramatic improvement over the way wafers are manufactured today and it’s specific to us," Sanderson said. "(We achieve a) 50-percent reduction in cost and two-thirds energy reduction over conventional (production) methods. Better yet is the product – which costs less and uses less (energy) to make, doesn’t require any tradeoffs in performance."

That's why the recent efficiency tests were so important. 

Efficiency is the measure of how much sunlight that hits a solar wafer is converted into electricity. The 1366 wafer was tested in conjunction with new technology from a partner company, Hanwha Q CELLS Co. Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea.

While there is other solar technology that has achieved higher efficiency, that isn't the norm in the industry.

"In a head-to-head comparison with standard high-performance multicrystalline (HPM) wafers, we exceeded the average performance of that HPM reference group," Sanderson said. "And there are more gains to be had through new wafer features that are possible because we’re able to work at the melt level. There’s no other company in the world able to do that."

In the startup world, the common advice, and the practice often most attractive to potential investors is a company that aims at a specific market segment, an achievable target that promises growth.

For 1366, their approach is to make only wafers (compared to Solar City, opening in Buffalo, that makes not just the wafer, but the entire solar panel and even handles installation) and sell them to companies on an international market that will make panels for industrial solar installations.

That's a very specific market, and 1366 already has customers lined up, most notably, Hanwha, their partner in the recent efficiency tests. The company has also secured an investment from silicon supplier Wacker Chemie.

Silicon, of course, is the key ingredient in making solar wafers. It's a derivative of sand, but unlike the process used to make silicon wafers for four decades, which involves shaving down silicon ingots into the appropriate shape and thickness, 1366 wafers are poured from molten silicon, like glass is made, using techniques developed at MIT.

This is why the wafers that will be made in Genesee County will cost less and produce less waste.

A key reason 1366 picked STAMP as its eventual manufacturing home is the availability of low-cost hydropower, itself an environmentally friendly, renewable energy source. That will also make it easier for 1366 to keep production costs down.

The proximity to Buffalo, however, has invited comparisons between 1366 and Solar City, which is opening at Riverbend and has been an ongoing source of speculation and controversy, but 1366 and Solar City are really very different companies. 

Solar City, as noted, is a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor -- so much so that company Chairman Elon Musk has merged Solar City with Tesla, his company that makes electric cars. Musk wants to control the entire energy supply chain for his vehicles, from converting to solar energy to powering the batteries that Telsa makes, too.

A big part of Solar City's business model has long been residential solar installations, a market that has been seemingly dependent on state and federal tax subsidies, subsidies that have come under criticism and may not last under the Trump Administration.

While Trump campaigned on a promise to save coal jobs, every cabinet appointment he's made so far, notably Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon for secretary of state, and Rick Perry, for the Department of Energy, are hardly friendly to coal. They're interest lies closer to natural gas, currently coal's primary competitor for electricity generation, but that also wouldn't seem to bode well for backers of solar power.

Sanderson said 1366 isn't worried.

"Solar is a global industry and it’s growing rapidly," Sanderson said. "That’s not changing. Our technology will further support this growth as we continue the trend of costs coming down. We help to make solar even more accessible and we want to support this global growth with U.S. manufacturing and U.S. jobs."

There's still plenty of R&D work to do on solar, Sanderson noted, and 1366 received early-stage R&D funding from the Department of Energy.

"It’s important to keep in mind that while we’re a solar company, we’re also a manufacturer," Sanderson said. "We’re looking forward to working with the next administration to create U.S. manufacturing jobs."

In this case, of course, U.S. manufacturing jobs should translate into Genesee County manufacturing jobs. Time will tell.

December 2, 2016 - 8:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved applications for assistance from TJ Sheehan and Empire Pipeline at the agency’s Dec. 1 meeting.

TJ Sheehan, a Massachusetts-based wholesaler, is proposing to convert a former 37,500-square-foot Cargill facility in Alexander to a refrigerated beverage distribution center. The total capital investment of the project is approximately $1.678 million and it will create nine new jobs. For every dollar of public benefit there is a $20.40 return into the local economy. The incentive amount is $230,878.

The board also accepted an application and set a public hearing for a request for assistance from Yancey’s Fancy, in which the company will invest $5.5 million to expand and renovate the original Kutter's Cheese facility on Main Street in Pembroke from 6,000 square feet to 34,000 square feet. The expansion is expected to create up to 15 full-time jobs. For every one dollar of public benefit, the company is investing $117 into the local economy in Genesee County. 

In 2014-15, Yancey’s Fancy invested more than $20 million and built a 112,000-square-foot facility at the Buffalo East Technology Park, which created new 50 jobs.

“We are very excited to be supporting these exciting expansion projects which will inject significant capital investment and create 24 new jobs,” said GCEDC Chairman Paul Battaglia. “The agency is finishing the year on a very strong note.”

Empire Pipeline owns and operates a compressor station and pipeline in the Town of Oakfield and is seeking a new 15-year fixed PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). All taxing jurisdictions have consented to the new PILOT structure. The project payments will enable water infrastructure installation as part of the Genesee County Phase II improvements, some of which will support the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) project in the Town of Alabama.

December 1, 2016 - 2:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Innovation Zone, batavia.

Press release:

The Innovation Zone in the Upstate MedTech Center is hosting an event for businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-up companies regarding various incentives to assist their businesses.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7th from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 99 MedTech Drive, Suite 107, Batavia. It’s free and open to all business leaders including entrepreneurs and start-up companies ready to take their business to the next level with increased research and Development (R&D) activity.   

Certified Public Accountants from FreedMaxick including, Don Warrant, Sam Disalvo, Joesph Burwick, and Nick Zoyhofski will present on a variety of topics ranging from how the federal research tax credit system works to incentives available from New York State companies.  The presentation will focus on the manufacturing, technology, life sciences, medical devices and the software industries.

In addition to FreedMaxick, sponsors include the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Livingston County Development, Orleans County Economic Development Agency and the Wyoming County IDA.

November 29, 2016 - 12:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving applications for assistance from TJ Sheehan and Empire Pipeline at the agency’s Dec. 1 meeting.

TJ Sheehan, a Massachusetts-based wholesaler, is proposing to convert a former 37,500-square-foot Cargill facility in Alexander to a refrigerated beverage distribution center. 

Empire Pipeline owns and operates a compressor station and pipeline in the Town of Oakfield and is seeking a new 15-year fixed PILOT. All taxing jurisdictions have consented to the new PILOT structure. The project payments will enable water infrastructure installation as part of the Genesee County Phase II improvements, some of which will support the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) project in the Town of Alabama.

Finally, the board will consider accepting an application and setting a public hearing for assistance from Yancey’s Fancy in which the cheese-making company will invest $5.5 million to expand and renovate the original Kutter's Cheese facility on Main Street in Pembroke. Yancey Fancy anticipates the project will create up to 15 full-time jobs.

The GCEDC board meeting will be held on Thursday Dec. 1st at 4 p.m. at the MedTech Center, across from Genesee Community College, on the first floor at the Innovation Center, Suite 107. All board meetings are open to the public.

November 18, 2016 - 9:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in START-UP Genesee, business, news, GCEDC.

Press release:

START-UP Genesee will once again bring together entrepreneurs from throughout the region for another networking opportunity as part of its Think and Drink series.

The event will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Innovation Zone at 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia. The event is free and open to entrepreneurs with ideas or business plans to incubate the next great product or service from the region.

Guest speakers include Don Warrant of Freed Maxick CPAs, Leslie Bamann of High Tech Rochester and assistant VP and Business Banking officer at Canandaigua Bank, and Georgann Carrubba, founder & CEO of TenCar Inc. There will also be a product showcase in drone technology, 3-D printing, and medical device product displays.

START-UP Genesee is intended to assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.

The series is being sponsored by various local businesses including Canandaigua National Bank, Tompkins Bank of Castile Insurance Agencies, Feed Maxick CPAs, Merrill Lynch of Batavia the University at Buffalo New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, Life Sciences and Material Informatics, and Del Plato Casey LLP.

October 30, 2016 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, business, Alabama, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors voted at its Oct. 27 meeting to accept Empire State Development’s $28 million Grant Disbursement Agreement (GDA) to start infrastructure work at the STAMP campus in order to achieve shovel-ready status.

The funding will be used to acquire some remaining acreage at the site and construction and inspection services for water lines, wastewater pump stations and sewer lines, road infrastructure and gas and electric connectivity. It is anticipated that the first bid for infrastructure work will be for the construction of a water system from Oakfield to the STAMP site.

“Based on the release of the funds, we expect that bids will be going out in the next couple of months,” said Mark Masse, CPA, Sr. VP of Operations for the GCEDC. “The other projects that the agency will be putting out to bid over the next few months include onsite construction of the roadway and associated stormwater management.”

Among other things, GCEDC staff is working with its engineering consultants and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as officials in Orleans County on the permitting for the sewer line to extend from the STAMP campus to the Medina wastewater treatment plant.

STAMP is New York State’s second mega-site designed to attract high-tech companies like semiconductor, solar, photonics, bio-pharmaceuticals, energy storage companies and other advanced manufacturing operations. The campus consists of 1,250 acres and planned development of more than 6 million square feet of manufacturing space.

Overall economic studies estimate that 10,000 employees could work directly on campus with up to 50,000 supply-type jobs created across Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions. The campus will also bring significant construction work to the region.

“STAMP has been validated by site selection community as a highly attractive greenfield site for large advanced manufacturers, and we continue to work with interested companies that are looking for a mega campus with the right infrastructure that includes large electric, gas, water and sewer capacity combined with our amazing workforce here in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

“This is evidenced by securing the commitment of 1366 Technologies, a solar wafer manufacturing company which plans to locate its operations on the campus.”

October 28, 2016 - 1:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, alexander, business, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept an application for assistance from T.J. Sheehan, a Massachusetts-based beverage wholesaler with various operations in New York State.

T.J. Sheehan is proposing to convert a former 37,500-square-foot Cargill facility in Alexander to a refrigerated beverage distribution center.  The company intends to invest approximately $1.6 million into the conversion and the project will create nine new jobs. Since the incentives total more than $100,000 a public hearing will be scheduled in the very near future.  

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