Online News. Community Views.

>> Download <<
The Batavian Mobile
Droid | iPhone

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

GCEDC

October 8, 2015 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business, GCC.

1366techoct72015.jpg

Frank van Mierlo is clearly a man who believes he has a role to play in changing the world.

The phrase "change the world" did, in fact, pass over the lips of the solar energy entrepreneur once today while he addressed a room full of local and state dignitaries in Stuart Steiner Theater at Genesee Community College. Van Mierlo was there, joined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to unveil ambitious plans for a $700 million investment by his company to build a silicon wafer factory on 105 acres of Genesee County land that could employ 1,000 people as soon as 2017.

Even the name of his company, 1366 Technologies, is a homage to van Mierlo's far-reaching global ambitions. Sunlight falls on the planet at the rate of 1,366 Watts per square meter, hence 1366. The number is significant because at that rate, the sun sends us 130,000 terawatts of energy each year. We only need a fraction of that, 17 TW, to power civilization.

"We need to rapidly deploy solar," van Mierlo said in an interview after the announcement. "We need to grow this industry at 30 percent a year. If we do that and we keep growing at 30 percent a year, by 2030, we will produce enough solar energy to power the planet."

And at a price cheaper than coal.

The solar energy market has been growing by 30 percent a year for 30 years, with rapidly improving technology, and like the power of compound interest, the rate of advancement is seemingly -- seemingly -- accelerating.

The technology that powers 1366 was incubated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and van Mierlo describes it as a game changer. The company's process cuts silicon waste, reduces the expense of production by 50 percent and takes a third less energy to produce a wafer than current manufacturing techniques.

Ely Sachs, a former MIT professor, is a partner in 1366 and the engineer behind the process 1366 uses to create its wafers. Rather than make clumps of silicon that are carved and cut into wafers, as is common in manufacturing solar wafers now, the 1366 process is more like making sheets of glass, poured directly from molten silicon.

The goal of 1366, van Mierlo said, is to make solar more affordable than coal.

"When solar was first introduced in 1970s, the cost was $7 per kilowatt hour," van Mierlo said. "A kilowatt hour, a little bit of a wonky term, but if you take an old-fashioned 100-watt lightbulb, you leave it on for 10 hours, that's a kilowatt hour. At the time, $7 per kilowatt hour, was extremely expensive. Now, 40 years later, unsubsidized, the cost on a good installation, in a sunny area, the cost is down to 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Coal is currently about 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour.

The word unsubsidized is important. Solar may be one of the most heavily subsidized industries in America right now.

While states, including New York, offer tax credits for consumers and businesses to install solar panels, the federal government offers a 30-percent tax credit, but that's a tax credit set to expire next year and there is opposition in Washington to extending it. There is some concern that the solar industry has already grown "too big to fail" and ending the tax credit will cost more than 100,000 jobs nationally.

The political winds of the issue leave van Mierlo undaunted. Solar is simply an imperative society must pursue if we're going to change the world.

"A 30-percent growth rate only works when it's a team effort, so it's absolutely essential that everybody pitches in," van Mierlo said. "People like us have to pitch in. We have to come with the technology and the innovation. We have to deliver the cost reductions and we absolutely need broad support to keep growing fast enough. In the end, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you believe in it, you support it, the cost will come down and it will bring economic prosperity. If you say it's never going to work and you walk away from it, well, then it will become impossible to make progress and that also becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy."

Cuomo has bet big on solar, backing a $1 billion investment known as NY-Sun and WNY is now poised to become a hub of solar energy production. Earlier this year, Solar City began construction on a 1.2-million-square-foot solar panel factory in Buffalo with the promise of creating 1,400 jobs. A major investor in Solar City is Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who helped launch PayPal and used the fortune that company brought him to launch Space X and Tesla Motors. Officials with Solar City said just a week ago that the panels it will produce in Buffalo will be the world's most efficient, using its own proprietary technology.

Musk is well known in tech circles for dreaming of saving the world through technology. Like Musk, van Mierlo is leveraging prior business success to help fund his own plant-saving ambitions. Prior to cofounding 1366, he owned a robotics company, again based on technology developed at MIT, that he eventually sold.

"It's true that I have some economic freedom, and working on something that matters, that's just a fun thing to do," van Mierlo said. "Given a choice, you outta do something that is worthwhile. Energy is an interesting problem and one that needs solving and I think we're going to play a big part in the solution."

The new 1366 plant will take up only about 8 percent of the 12,500-acre WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- in Alabama, a project Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde has been working on for more than a decade. Nearly every speaker today, including Cuomo, Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky, Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle praised Hyde's vision and tenacity in creating and sticking with STAMP, even as doubters and naysayers predicted it would never work.

"This is a game changer," Cuomo said. "A hundred-and-thirty-thousand-square-foot building. At the end of the day, as many as 1,000 jobs. Quality jobs. High-tech jobs. Well paying jobs feeding off an educated workforce being nurtured by some of the great educational institutions in this state. That is the future.

"And the way it happened is the way it should happen," he added. "The IDA worked with the county. The county worked with the region. Two regions collaborated. Western New York and the Finger Lakes, not competing, but actually collaborating and getting a world-class entrepreneur with a phenomenal product that not only can create jobs and make money but can also make this world a better world."

Van Mierlo said when the 1366 plant is fully operational, it will churn out enough wafers each year to generate three gigawatts of power. A nuclear power plant, by comparison, might generate a single gigawatt of power each year.

Increased production and distribution will help bring the cost of solar energy down, which is what van Mierlo said he is really after.

"When solar is 2 cents a kilowatt hour, we can pay for installations that are less than ideal, can pay for energy storage and you will end up with a clean solution that is actually affordable," van Mierlo said. "I'm a firm believer that it's actually possible here to have a solution that helps the economy, but it's not going to come easy.

"The important thing now: Manage the energy supply so that it doesn't threaten life on the planet and that we end up with a solution that doesn't compromise our economy either. We absolutely need investment. We need support. But we also need to bring the cost down so it helps the economy and not just a continuous investment plan."

With the first project scheduled to break ground in the spring, the state will now release some $33 million in grant money pledged to create the infrastructure -- roads, sewers, utilities -- necessary for STAMP to attract manufacturing businesses. While 1366 will benefit indirectly from this investment, the direct subsidies 1366 will receive are those frequently approved by the GCEDC board, from a reduction in taxes on the increased assessment of the property (and the increased assessment will be substantial in this case), to mortgage tax relief to sales tax abatement on materials. The total package will be worth $97 million over 10 years.

Those incentives certainly played a role in 1366's decision to come to Genesee County, van Mierlo said, but he was also attracted by the workforce the area's universities can provide, the central location between Rochester and Buffalo and, most importantly, the inexpensive, clean energy provided by Niagara Falls.

"Hydropower is a real attraction and will be one that is a real advantage to us," van Mierlo said. "It cuts the cost of making the wafer by a factor of three and it's clean. The use of hydropower means there is no C02 at all. Steve Hyde calls it 'clean to green,' and that's a phrase that has really come to life."

Now that 1366 is coming to STAMP and boosters have a real project to talk about with site selectors and potential tenants, it's going to get easier to attract the next business into the park, both Hyde and Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise said.

Those who make decisions about where to construct high-tech facilities are going to become believers in STAMP now, Peterson said.

"People are going to say, 'wow, holy cow, this is real,' " Peterson said. "This a mega site, 1,250 acres. You don't have very many of those with power and water to them in the world, so we're on the world stage right now and this is only going to make us more competitive. Genesee County is right in the middle of Buffalo and Rochester. This is going to be the place to be."

Peterson said computer models run by GRE indicate the 1366 plant, with an economic multiplier effect, will generate more than $4.3 billion in spending regionally over the next five years.

Like the governor, Hyde called the 1366 announcement a "game changer."

"This is a new day," Hyde said. "We have technology companies to the left in Buffalo, to the right in Rochester, and now they're right here right now. Where else would you rather be today? We have opportunities through investments and technology and terrific companies like 1366 Technologies that are going to be here for years and create thousands of high-paying jobs for our kids."

1366techoct72015-2.jpg

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

1366techoct72015-3.jpg

Steve Hyde flanked by Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Gensee County Legislature, and Mark Peterson, CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.

1366techoct72015-4.jpg

Members of Genesee County SCOPE were set up on East Saile Drive, across the road from the County Airport, prior to the governor's arrival in Batavia, to protest the SAFE Act. There were also picketers on Bank Street Road, on R. Stephen Hawley Drive and just outside the GCC entrance.

October 7, 2015 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, business, GCEDC, Alabama, STAMP.

cuomo1366_oct72015.jpg

Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies, a Boston-based, MIT-bred solar energy company, presents Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a commemorative silicon wafer during today's announcement of a $700 million investment by the company in a new production plant in Genesee County.

This is the first major project to sign on with WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. The CEO said his company intends to break ground on construction in the spring and be fully operational by 2017. The facility will manufacture silicon wafers for solar panels and could employ as many as 1,000 people in what Cuomo described as good, high-paying jobs.

While STAMP has benefited from state and federal grants to build infrastructure to support the kind of manufacturing facilities officials hope to attract, the only subsidies going directly to this project are standard tax breaks on the increased assessed value and sales tax abatements. The total incentive package is $97 million spread out over 10 years.

We'll have an in-depth story on today's announcement tonight or first thing in the morning.

October 6, 2015 - 7:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC.

Sources tell us Gov. Andrew Cuomo is coming to GCC tomorrow to announce a major investment in the WNY STAMP project in Alabama, but nobody has been willing to confirm anything on the record. The governor's office and Empire State Development have even declined to confirm the governor will be in town.

Tonight, the D&C reports that the CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise is planning on attending the announcement tomorrow and said this is "the largest project in our organization's history."

The name of the company coming to STAMP has not yet been disclosed, nor the segment of tech industry it represents.

The most recent schedule for Gov. Cuomo for tomorrow does not include a visit to Batavia, but it's not unusual for the governor's office send out multiple updates over a 24-hour period.

UPDATE Oct. 7, 11:34 a.m.: The governor is expected at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Forum at 2:15 p.m. today. He will announce that a solar company based in Bedford, Mass., (a suburb of Boston) plans to create between 700 to 1,000 jobs over a five-year span at the planned Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama. Here's a link to the Democrat & Chronicle story: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/2015/10/07/new-bata...

October 2, 2015 - 10:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, chamber of commerce, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved final resolutions for applications for assistance from the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., at its Oct. 1 board meeting.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is planning to purchase and renovate an existing building at 8276 Park Road in the Town of Batavia for its new offices, as well as to house Genesee County’s tourism office. The project will involve the construction of a two-story glass structure for a visitors' center, which will be located off the Batavia 48a exit of the New York State Thruway. The Chamber was approved for $71,535 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total $930,000.

“Tourism is an important revenue generator for our community and having a visitor’s center strategically located at the Thruway exit will only enhance the Chamber’s efforts to continue to grow this industry,” said GCEDC Chairman Paul Battaglia.

“The Park Road location will allow us to take tourism marketing to the next level in Genesee County,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “With 800 hotel rooms, Batavia Downs, shopping plazas and popular restaurants all within a one-half mile of this location, we believe an attractive, welcoming visitors' center will allow the Chamber to market our many assets and attractions, and stimulate tourism spending throughout Genesee County.”

Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., a property holding company, will expand its facility located 36 Swan St. in the City of Batavia by adding 16,000 square feet of additional warehousing space to accommodate a tenant’s growing distribution center. The company was approved for sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $182,460 in estimated incentives. The project’s capital investment will total approximately $600,000.

“It’s good to see continued investment being made in the City of Batavia by existing companies like Reinhart Enterprises,” said Battaglia. "Our agency will continue to work hand-in-hand with all businesses in our community that are expanding and adding employment.”

September 28, 2015 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider applications for two projects at its board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce plans to purchase and renovate an existing building at 8276 Park Road in Batavia for use of its offices, as well as the County’s tourism office. The total capital investment is $930,000. The project will retain six jobs and create one part-time position. 

Reinhart Enterprises, Inc., plans to add 16,000 square feet of additional warehousing space to its current location at 36 Swan St. for its growing distribution center. The capital investment is approximately $600,000 and the project is expected to create six new jobs. 

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

September 22, 2015 - 6:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, BID, genesee county chamber of commerce, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Batavia Business Improvement District (BID), Batavia Development Corporation, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will host investors and developers for a luncheon and tour prior to the sixth annual BID Batavia Wine Walk on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Prior to the wine walk, a lunch will be served followed by tours of various sites and commercial spaces in the City of Batavia, including Tompkins Bank of Castile’s new call center. The tour from 1 to 3 p.m. and the wine walk afterward are for any developer, business owner or investor interested in learning about economic development opportunities in the City and the various incentives that are available through the GCEDC.

“This is a great opportunity for developers to see first-hand some of our unique downtown properties and sites,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. “This event is part of our ongoing efforts to inform and educate developers about the many business opportunities that exist in Genesee County, and specifically the City of Batavia.”

“The BID offers a unique and walkable downtown experience that is important to both the baby boomers and the millennium generation,” said Laurie Oltramari, the new executive director of the Batavia Business Improvement District (BID). “The needs of these large generations need to be addressed and have great potential for investment. Having a walkable downtown is essential to its success, and we have it. Now we need to show potential investors how eliminating gaps when walking down the street is critical to ‘creating a place.’ ”

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce supports and encourages business development throughout Genesee County,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “With its location between Buffalo and Rochester in the heart of Western New York, no other county can offer the strategic advantages that Genesee County can. As the county seat and the logistical center of the county, the City of Batavia is an ideal spot for developers to grow their business footprint in the Upstate New York market.”

The registration deadline for the luncheon, tour and walk is Sept. 30. Free hotel accommodations are available for out-of-town developers and guests. For more information and to register, please contact Laurie Oltramari at the BID at 585-344-0900 or [email protected].

September 10, 2015 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in O-AT-KA Milk Products, batavia, business, GCEDC.

oatkagroundbreakingsept102015.jpg

Officials with O-AT-KA Milk Products and Upstate Niagara Cooperative broke ground on a new warehouse expansion this morning at the company's plant off Ellicott Street, Batavia.

Participating in the top photo are Steve Hyde, Ray Cudney, Steve Golding, Bill Schreiber, Dan Wolf, John Gould, Dave Nutting and Mike Patterson. Second photo: Upstate's Board of Directors.

"This is an important day for the growth of the dairy industry in Western New York," said Wolf, a member of the cooperative's Board of Directors. "The 360 farms that I represent depend on this business and we're not going anywhere. This is our roots and we'll be here. We will continue to grow and develop here in Western New York, and (to) create jobs and so forth that go with that is critical to us."

oatkagroundbreakingsept102015-2.jpg

Press release from Finger Lakes Economic Development:

Empire State Development today announced that O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc., a dairy cooperative based in Batavia, will be expanding their warehouse and material handling functions at their Batavia site. O-AT-KA is majority owned by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., headquartered in Buffalo and also by Dairy Farmers of America, a cooperative with a strong presence in Central NY.

O-AT-KA helps to ensure there is a market for milk produced by more than 400 farms in the Western, Finger Lakes and Central NY regions. A new warehousing facility and equipment room will allow the cooperative to continue to grow its production and create 24 new full-time positions within three years, raising total employment to more than 350 positions.

“We consider this project to be a game changer,” said Michael Patterson, O-AT-KA’s chief financial officer. “This not only enables us to meet our immediate needs but positions O-AT-KA for growth into the future. Three factors driving this initiative are worker safety, food quality and operational efficiencies. These three legs of the stool will be the backbone supporting O-AT-KA’s continuing growth here in New York State.”

The economic support and assistance from local and state agencies were critical factors in undertaking this project. New York State, through Empire State Development, will provide a $400,000 capital grant to assist in bringing off-site warehousing back on site by building a 195,000-square-foot warehouse and a 35,000-square-foot equipment room to their existing facility.

The company will also purchase new material handling equipment and repurpose existing equipment. The new space will afford the company more efficiency, provide safety for workers, and allow for cost savings, thereby boosting their competitive edge in the market place.

The growth of on-site warehousing also enables the company to grow its production of shelf-stable, dairy-based beverages. O-AT-KA has a goal of increasing its export business by 10 percent over the next several years, which will result in approximately 25 percent of the total production being exported.

As the No. 1 manufacturing employer in Batavia, O-AT-KA strives to foster productive, long-term relationships with their employees. The cooperative, which produces dry, condensed and evaporated dairy products, was established in 1959 with five employees and has grown to 332.

“Agricultural and food processing has been identified as one of the top Finger Lakes REDC strategies,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “The O-AT-KA project aligns with the council’s goal to optimize business retention and expansion, and support the growth of food-processing companies in the region.”

“This commitment by New York State to O-AT-KA demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s support of economic development in Upstate New York and in particular to the agribusiness industry in Genesee County,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “We look forward to continuing working with New York State on other economic development opportunities."

"O-AT-KA has played a major role in our local economy for decades. Now, expansion plans, along with 24 new jobs, will help to secure the cooperative's presence in Batavia for years to come. I commend O-AT-KA CEO Bill Schreiber for selecting Genesee County to invest and grow," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.

“I am pleased to see the growth and expansion of an important Western New York agricultural staple such as O-AT-KA. As a small business and farm owner for over four decades, I realize the integral part O-AT-KA plays in New York’s dairy industry and Western New York’s economy. Having grown up in Batavia, I have seen the company grow from just a few employees to over 300 people – truly epitomizing the American dream of entrepreneurship. As lawmakers we must continue to protect small businesses such as these and take measures to grow New York’s economy,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

August 20, 2015 - 4:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, food processing, business, batavia, GCEDC.

Press release:

Genesee County has once again been recognized as one of the fastest growing “food processing employment leaders” by "Business Facilities," a national site selection publication.

Business Facilities provides annual rankings of metro and global areas in various categories, including food processing and job growth, among others. Genesee County ranked at number seven in a list of top 10 mid-sized metro areas for food-processing growth, making this year the fifth time in 10 years that Genesee County has earned national ranking in this category.

The agricultural, food and beverage sectors in Genesee County employ approximately 1,500 people. The region’s employment numbers continue to increase as economic development focused on agri-business remains a top priority of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors.

“The growth of the food processing sector in our region reflects the positive economic climate here which has been significantly enhanced through the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, the first agri-business site of its kind in New York State,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We are very pleased to be once again recognized by 'Business Facilities' as a leader in food processing employment and plan to continue expanding our efforts in this critically important economic sector.” 

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park encompasses 211 shovel ready, pre-permitted acres strategically located between Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region in Batavia, NY. 

The site provides access to a short and main line rail access to move products, and large capacity municipal sewer and water. Through the support of National Grid and National Fuel the site has an enhanced utility infrastructure.

Alpina Foods, LLC, a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, opened its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in 2013. In 2013, PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, opened a $206-million yogurt manufacturing facility, Muller Quaker Dairy.

Other key food processing and related companies in Genesee County include O-AT-KA Milk Products and Bonduelle USA, Inc.

For more information about the ranking in Business Facilities, please visit  http://businessfacilities.com/2015/07/metro-and-global-rankings/.

August 14, 2015 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in O-AT-KA Milk Products, business, GCEDC, batavia.

picsaug142015.jpg

With 344 employees, O-AT-KA Milk Products is already Genesee County's largest private employer, and CFO Michael Patterson promised the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board a taxpayer-assisted expansion will result in a workforce expanded by 21 positions.

The expansion, at a cost to O-AT-KA of $20 million, will result in greater efficiency, a product and market expansion and greater employee safety, Patterson said.

"This is a real game changer for O-AT-KA," Patterson said. "It will allow us to grow while we focus on efficiency and employee safety."

Patterson described the region as "heavy with milk," and the expansion will help O-AT-KA improve its capacity to create new products and expand into additional markets.

O-AT-KA is seeking $2.26 million in sales tax and property tax exemptions.

In making a motion to set a public hearing on O-AT-KA's application, Board Member Craig Yunker said, "This is really important to our region and our dairy industry, which is the back bone of our local economy. I don't know of a more important project."

The date of the hearing, which the board approved unanimously, has not yet been determined, but will be within the next two or three weeks so the board can vote on whether to grant the tax exemptions at its next meeting.

“This is a tremendous investment being made by one of the largest private-sector employers in Genesee County,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “It also demonstrates a long-term commitment to our community by the company in building a state-of-the-art facility to enhance its manufacturing operations now and in the future.”

August 11, 2015 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia, O-AT-KA Milk Products.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a project from O-AT-KA Milk Products at its Aug. 13 board meeting. 

O-AT-KA Milk Products plans to add 205,000 square feet of warehousing space to its manufacturing facility on the corner of Ellicott Street and Cedar Street in Batavia. The project is expected to create 21 new jobs and the capital investment is approximately $20.9 million.  

The GCEDC Board meeting is public and will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

July 7, 2015 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, GGLDC, business, GCC.

Press release:

The ECMC Foundation provided grants totaling $219,424 to area organizations that help advance the quality of workforce and educational programs and services in Genesee County and the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties). ECMC Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles with a mission to provide investments aimed at facilitating improvements that affect educational outcomes, especially among underserved populations.

The recipients include Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Western New York Tech Academy, Genesee Community College (GCC) and the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC). The Foundation pledged dollars to assist these organizations to help underprivileged residents in the GLOW region in obtaining better access to workforce development training and college programming.

“These grants will not only improve the quality of our region’s many educational programs and services, but also provide both high school students and adults with the critical tools and training they need to be successful in the workforce,” said  Tom Felton, president and chairman of the GGLDC. “We look forward to working with the ECMC Foundation in disbursing the funding to these very worthy organizations.”

The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, which received $100,000 of the grant, will use the funds to improve training programs for high school and adult students pursuing careers in-demand manufacturing fields, as well as purchase new machinery for its training facilities. The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership is one of 38 cooperative school districts in New York State that provides shared educational programs and services to its component school districts, including the Batavia City School District.

“The Genesee Valley Educational Partnership is honored to be included as a recipient of the ECMC Foundation grant,” said Kevin MacDonald, district superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. “This grant aims to provide adult and high school students with new opportunities to gain employable skills.

"The scope of this grant is vast. This program will be open to high school students who attend any of the 22 component school districts served by the Partnership, as well as any student enrolled in the Partnership Adult Education Program. Our goal is to help highly skilled workers meet the emerging needs of industry within our region.”

Chuck DiPasquale, director of Programs, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, said: “This grant will be utilized to make improvements to the machining and welding programs at both Genesee Valley Educational Partnership’s career and technical education centers. High school and adult students will have the opportunity to be trained on the latest and most up-to-date equipment and technology. Upon completion of the program, students will be highly qualified and ready to meet industry standards.

Western New York Tech Academy, an early college high school supporting grades 9-14, was awarded $61,710. The Academy will use the funds to enhance training programs for its at-risk students through the purchase of new workplace equipment and furniture for its classrooms.

“It’s our mission to create learning environments that support a cultural shift away from the traditional classroom and toward today’s workplace,” said Tom Schulte, principal, Western New York Tech Academy. “This can only happen if the physical space supports it, and it’s through the generosity of the ECMC Foundation that will allow us make this shift a reality.”

Genesee Community College (GCC), the recipient of a $44,390 grant, will purchase new equipment to support lab and "hands-on" learning activities in its food-processing educational programs.

"GCC's newest degree, Food Processing Technology AAS, gives residents in our rural community an opportunity to secure well-paying jobs -- such as production and quality control supervisors and safety and storage technicians," said Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Ph.D., GCC's dean of Math, Science and Career Education.

"These are excellent careers in the burgeoning food-tech industry which are also 100-percent made in America. Funds from the ECMC Foundation will help us purchase the state-of-the-art equipment necessary for this new program including refractometers, salt, moisture and lacticheck analyzers and ebulliometers."

Lastly, the GGLDC will receive $13,324 to facilitate the coordination of the various activities of the grant recipients, including overseeing reporting requirements as stipulated in the agreement with the ECMC Foundation to monitor and track progress of each initiative.

June 26, 2015 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Batavia Downs, business, batavia.

Dealing just with hard numbers -- setting aside speculation on hoped-for new revenue and "the multiplier effect" of jobs created -- the tax abatement plan approved Thursday by the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board for a new hotel at Batavia Downs should be profitable for taxpayers, according to data obtained by The Batavian from a GCEDC staffer.

The abatements will save developers about 11.5 percent on their $5.49 million investment, and the new taxes the project generates will be about a 100-percent return to taxpayers, if you accept the notion that the project doesn't get built at all without the tax incentives. If not, it's at least 42-percent return.

By law, the developer must certify that the project requires a tax break to be feasible, according to Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director. That is a requirement for all projects considered by the GCEDC.

"We have to trust the applicant that when they say this project won't be a viable project without the tax incentives," Tabelski said.

ADK Hospitality, the hotel's developer, will save $638,000 in taxes over the next 10 years, but it won't be getting off totally free. The hotel's owners, over the next 10 years, will pay $1.1 million in various taxes.

Tabelski was quick to point out that the $638,000 in tax breaks is not money taken from taxpayers. It's just money that isn't paid to the government; money that doesn't exist if the project isn't built. Thus, the $1.1 million in taxes ADK will pay over the next decade is all new revenue for schools, the county and the state (but not the Town of Batavia, which doesn't have its own tax on property).

That figure doesn't include sales tax generated by the hotel, or any anticipated increase in sales tax generated by the hoped-for increase in business at Batavia Downs. It also doesn't include employment taxes generated by the anticipated $600,000 in payroll for 25 full-time equivalent new hires at the hotel. 

The developers told the GCEDC Board that the project would generate a total of $2.8 million in tax revenue between now and 2025, but there isn't a breakdown available on what categories of taxes comprise that total. It likely covers fire district, property, bed tax, sales tax and payroll tax.

The $1.1 million in hard numbers we have includes:

  • $56,000 paid to the Town of Batavia Fire District;
  • $550,000 paid in county bed taxes;
  • $500,000 paid in property taxes over the life of the PILOT.

A PILOT is a tax break given to developers of projects that industrial development agencies, such as GCEDC, believe will create or retain jobs. It is a reduction in taxes on the increase in assessed value of a property.

Let's say a property is valued at $100,000. A business ads a new wing to its building and increases the assessed value to $150,000. The business continues to pay all property taxes on the initial $100,000 in assessed value, but gets a reduction in taxes on that additional $50,000. PILOT agreements vary, but typically, there would be no taxes due the first two years of the increase, and then taxes would be incrementally increased every two years until the 10th year, when the property owner is paying the full tax bill on the increase in assessed value.

In the case of the hotel property, the developers are buying land from Western OTB, which is currently tax-exempt and has no assessed value. It will be assessed next year, and its assessed value will go from zero to whatever that assessed value is, and the PILOT will be calculated based on that increase, unless the project is not yet completed, in which case there will be only a partial assessment with a full assessment to come during the next annual assessment period after the project's completion.

The PILOT on this project is worth $300,000. The remaining abatements are for the mortgage tax on the purchase and on the sales taxes due on material purchased during construction.

As for the multiplier effect, that's a controversial notion to some, but the idea is that if you create a new job and pay that person money, they will spend some amount of that money locally, and the churn of that money will help pay other people's wages, lifting everyone's boats. That $600,000 in new payroll could be worth millions in economic growth locally.

These figures also don't include wages paid to construction workers and purchases made from local vendors -- if any -- during construction.

June 25, 2015 - 5:38pm
posted by Traci Turner in GCEDC, Batavia Downs.

The Genesee Economic Development Center Board voted unanimously to approve ADK Hospitality’s application for approximately $638,000 in tax exemptions during a special meeting this afternoon.

ADK is planning to build an 84-room hotel connected to the Batavia Downs gaming facility. The investment is estimated at $5.49 million.

The board agreed with ADK Hospitality that the project falls under the tourism destination requirement with the general municipal law, which states the destination must bring in outside traffic.

In response to the Clarion Hotel’s opposition to the project, Steven Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO, stated that ADK’s project application was different from the Clarion’s project application submitted in 2012.

According to GCEDC records, the Clarion Hotel submitted an incentive application for window and stucco upgrades to their facility as well as debt refinance. Staff responded to the application and said the project may not meet law requirements to enhance the destination and attract more visitors. The Clarion Hotel then removed its application.

For ADK's project, Hyde stated many full-fledged casinos offer lodging and the hotel is a good opportunity to increase traffic at Batavia Downs.

“Today we’re looking at brand-new construction, a new feature integrated to the destination and a market study that confirms the projections will meet law requirements,” Hyde said.

Wolcott Hinchey, chairman, thinks the hotel will significantly contribute to continued growth and economic development in Genesee County.

“One of the things that I liked about this project is that we’re taking a tax-exempt property and selling it to a private developer and putting a property in the Town of Batavia back on the tax rolls,” Hinchey said. “I think the benefits of the project to the community outweigh the negatives.”

Michael Nolan, vice president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, is looking forward to starting hotel construction.

“The staff here has been wonderful with looking at every detail of the project and what it will mean to the community,” Nolan said. "We can’t thank them enough for all the professionalism that they displayed throughout the whole process. As soon as the legal work dealing with the closing of the property is complete, we will start construction at the Downs.”

In addition to ADK's project, the GCEDC approved an application submitted by Manning Squires Henning Co. for approximately $170,000 in tax exemptions to expand its facilities. The company plans to add 5,000 square feet and renovate its existing shop and office space. The project’s investment is approximately $1.3 million.

June 23, 2015 - 7:13pm
posted by Traci Turner in GCEDC, Batavia Downs, batavia, business.

An attorney representing the Clarion Hotel and members of the community voiced concerns regarding the application submitted by ADK Hospitality, LLC, to Genesee County Economic Development Center for incentives to build a hotel at Batavia Downs.

A public hearing was held Monday night by the GCEDC to gain input from the community on the application they received from ADK, a private developer seeking to build a hotel at Batavia Downs, requesting approximately $630,000 in incentives.

Vivek Thiagarajan, attorney representing Clarion owner Chat Patel, argued that when his client looked into applying for GCEDC incentives to build the Palm Island Indoor Waterpark in 2012 he was told the project would be denied funding because it was not considered a tourist destination. Thiagarajan argued that ADK's hotel is not a tourist destination and Batavia Downs should not receive tax incentives either. 

"There is no tourist destination about the hotel itself," Thiagarajan said. "Maybe the name makes it look like it's affiliated with Batavia Downs but the hotel is merely just like any other hotel. As a result, the public shouldn't be forced to fund something that only benefits the private owners of that hotel."

Thiagarajan also argued that the purchase price of $600,000 is less than the $630,000 in incentives the project would receive from the GCEDC.

In addition to Thiagarajan's opposition, John Sackett, a past county legislator, questioned whether the hotel would create full-time jobs and believed the hotel should be built without incentives.

A representative from the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters expressed concern over whether Batavia Downs and ADK would use union construction workers to build the hotel. The union agreed it would support the hotel project if union construction workers were used.

A variety of local businesses wrote letters in support of the proposal. The businesses included Sport of Kings Restaurant, Harness Horse Breeders of New York State, Sloat Tire Shop, Genesee Feeds, Nothnagle Realtors, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, WNY Harness Horsemen's Association and U.S. Foods. The businesses stated that Batavia Downs is a primary asset for attracting tourism and the addition of the hotel would bring more people and business to the community.

Anthony Baynes, managing member of ADK, provided details on the hotel project and the economic impact it would have on Genesee County. In the presentation, Baynes stated the $5.5-million hotel will be a four-story structure with 84 rooms. Itl will also be connected to Batavia Downs Gaming and complement the design elements of the new gaming entrance. There will be no restaurant or bar in the hotel.

"The hotel will positively impact Batavia Downs and local tourism on a permanent basis," Baynes said. "It will generate incremental gaming, banquet, food and beverage revenue at Batavia Downs, which will result in increases in tax collection, jobs preserved and additional jobs created."

According to Michael Nolan, vice president of Western Regional Off-Track Betting, the corporation that owns Batavia Downs, the hotel will help the gaming industry expand and allow them to compete with other casinos that are building hotels.

The hotel will result in the creation of 23 jobs. There also will be more job growth due to the number of wedding and conventions Batavia Downs will host because of the hotel.

"We think our banquet facility is going to multiple 10 times due to the hotel," Nolan said. "It's well within reason that there will be 50 jobs coming with the addition of the hotel."

According to statistics provided by Hotel & Leisure Advisors, a national hospitality consultant firm, the total impact of the new gaming revenue, new food and beverage sale and increased banquet business will be $2.6 million for the first year of operation. In the first 10 years of operation, the impact will be $31 million.

The GCEDC Board of Directors is having a special public meeting to consider a final resolution for the project. The meeting will be held at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre.

June 5, 2015 - 2:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that it will host a “Taking Your Small Business Global” Export Workshop on Thursday, June 11, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Innovation Zone at MedTech Centre in Batavia.

The workshop, presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce, will provide participants with critical information about export financing and creating an export plan.

“We believe it’s important to provide our stakeholders with key resources and access to individuals who can help them grow and expand their small businesses on a larger scale,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We are pleased to host this event which we hope will give small business owners in our region the valuable tools and knowledge they need to take their business global.”

 To register, please visit events.sba.gov or contact Greg Lindberg at (716) 551-5670. The workshop is free.

June 5, 2015 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted applications for assistance from Manning Squires Henning Co., Inc., and ADK Hospitality, LLC, at its June 4, 2015 board of directors meeting.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is proposing to expand its corporate offices and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia by up to 5,000 square feet. The project also would include renovations of the company’s existing shop and office space.

Founded in 1958, Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is a general contractor that has worked on various high profile projects over the years including work at the Rochester School of the Arts, Kodak Park, Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse, Monroe Community College, and Bausch & Lomb Rundell Library among many others.

Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., is seeking sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $170,556 in estimated incentives. The capital investment would be approximately $1.3 million and would retain 88 jobs and create five new jobs.

ADK Hospitality, LLC, is proposing to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s gaming facility. ADK Hospitality, LLC, is seeking an estimated $638,193 in sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

June 2, 2015 - 1:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider three projects at its June 4, 2015 board meeting.

ADK Hospitality plans to build an 82-room hotel connected to Batavia Down’s Gaming facility which will serve as an important amenity to the gaming, restaurant, banquet and racing activities at Batavia Downs. The capital investment is approximately $5.49 million.

Manning, Squires Hennig Co., Inc., plans to expand its corporate office and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia to include a 5,000-square-foot shop and additions to its main office space. The capital investment is approximately $1.3 million. The project is expected to result in 88 retained jobs and the creation of five new jobs. 

O-AT-KA Milk Products plans to add 205,000 square feet of warehousing space to its manufacturing facility on the corner of Ellicott Street and Cedar Street in Batavia. The project will retain 334 jobs and create 21 new jobs. The capital investment is approximately $10.25 million.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.  Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

falconeelctricmay192015.jpg

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Howard Owens.

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

gcplanningboardmay142015-3.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
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

blue button