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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeliff does not have a financial interest in Clinton Crossing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No hearing date has been set yet for the suit.

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

Press release:

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

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

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

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

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

October 6, 2014 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Pavilion, GGLDC.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (GGLDC) has appointed Sarah Noble-Moag to the organization’s board of directors.

“Sarah Noble-Moag was selected to serve on the GGLDC board because of her extensive management experience with various dairy companies right here in Genesee County,” said Thomas Felton, GGLDC board chairman. “Her skills and background knowledge of the local agricultural industry will be a tremendous asset to the board.”

Noble-Moag is a personnel manager for Linwood Management Group, LLC, which provides management services to dairy companies, including Noblehurst Farms, and Synergy, LLC. In this role she coordinates staffing, employee payroll and benefits, communication and recruitment for the group along with being responsible for overseeing internal personnel controls and staffing.

In addition to her position with Linwood Management Group, Noble-Moag is very active within the community. She is the past president of the board of education for the Pavilion Central Schools, and continues to serve on the audit committee.

She maintains an active role in education and training for our rural communities, advocating for affordable, quality public education by serving as a board member on the Agricultural Affiliates, which provides leadership necessary to build a strong workforce for agriculture in the Northern U.S. She also is a member of the National Council of Agricultural Employers and New York State Agricultural Society.

Noble-Moag is a graduate of Cornell University and a graduate of Class VI of LEAD New York. She an elder in the Covington Presbyterian Church, and has served on the Committee on Ministry and Migration Working Group (a forum on immigration reform) for the Presbytery of the Genesee Valley.

She resides in Pavilion with her husband, Timothy Moag. They have three grown children.

September 29, 2014 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, kathy hochul.

Kathy Hochul, former congressional rep for Genesee County and current candidate for lieutenant governor of New York, stopped by the Gensee Valley Agri-Business Park this morning and met with Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, for an update on economic development efforts locally.  Hochul said once in office economic development will be one of her priorities.

September 11, 2014 - 10:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Muller Quaker Dairy.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Muller Quaker Dairy are the recipients of the 2014 Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA) Project of the Year Award. The award was formally presented to both entities at NEDA’s Annual Conference on Monday, Sept. 8th in Worcester, Mass.

GCEDC was recognized for fostering the development of the 250-acre Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, which has generated more than $230 million of new capital investment as well as the creation of approximately 230 jobs. NEDA also recognized Muller Quaker Dairy, a $206 million state-of-the-art yogurt manufacturing facility, which employs almost 200 people in the Agri-Business Park in the competitive $6.2 billion U.S. yogurt marketplace.

“On behalf of the GCEDC Board of Directors and staff we are honored to be recognized by NEDA,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his personal commitment in bringing Muller Quaker Dairy to Western New York and his tireless efforts to improve the economic development climate throughout Upstate New York.”

Muller Quaker Dairy is projected to have a regional impact of approximately $150 million annually on the local agriculture, hospitality and business services sectors. Indirect job creation is projected to add another 750 workers to the regional labor force.

“This project is a great example of public and private sector collaboration especially in significantly compressing the timeline for various government approvals,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president for business development at the GCEDC. “Through the collaboration with Empire State Development, the Greater Rochester Enterprise the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, National Grid, Genesee County, as well as the City and Town of Batavia, we were able to make the case that Batavia and the Agri-Business Park was the perfect location for Muller Quaker Dairy."

Muller Quaker Dairy is a joint venture between one of Europe’s largest dairy processors, Germany-based Theo Muller and New York-based PepsiCo. It is the largest manufacturing plant ever to open in Genesee County.

The NEDA Project of the Year award recognizes a major economic development project based on job creation and other direct economic impacts; capital investment; leveraging of development resources; use of public/private and/or intergovernmental partnerships; benefits to the surrounding community and/or environment; innovation; design excellence; and transportation considerations.

August 14, 2014 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC, Calamar, senior housing.

A company that was planning to build much needed middle-income senior housing in Genesee County is apparently ready to kill the project after the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board voted Tuesday to block the project from receiving financial aid.

A representative of Calamar, the senior housing developer, sent an e-mail to a county official yesterday that said without the more than $1.4 million in tax breaks Calamar was seeking, the project is not financially viable. 

A source provided The Batavian with a copy of the e-mail.

"We've been left with no options than to not proceed," wrote Jocelyn Bos, director of senior housing development for Calamar. "If we do not have an endorsement, I wouldn't be able to keep the rents affordable to the middle income senior group of Batavia." 

Asked by The Batavian for further comment and to confirm the contents of the e-mail, Bos backed off the not-proceeding statement.

Her entire statement:

First, I want to tell you how I have admired how your paper supports the seniors of all incomes in your community and just want to let you know that we are exploring our options regarding our proposed middle-income senior complex.

According to John Gerace, a real estate agent who assisted Calamar with locating the property on West Main Street Road for the project, Calamar officials spent much of yesterday discussing their options.

Among them, he said, is filing an Article 78 claim (essentially a lawsuit) against GCEDC.

The way Gerace sees it, middle-income housing for seniors is needed in Batavia; it's part of the county's master plan; it's an identified need in GCEDC's planning documents; and this is a commercial project just like any other, so it's eligible for assistance.

"I told them (the GCEDC board), 'you guys should be ashamed of yourselves because you know it's warranted and needed, so what you've done is just shut the door on any more senior housing in Genesee County,' " Gerace said.

Calamar was seeking $400,000 in sales tax and mortgage tax exemption and a $1 million PILOT, which exempts a property from additional property taxes on an increase in assessed value, graduated over 10 years.

The value of the developed property would have been at least $5 million, Gerace said, which would have meant an additional $175,000 in new local property tax revenue once the PILOT expired. 

Local residents selling their homes to move into the Calamar facility also would have generated new tax revenue, Gerace said.

Gerace worked as a secondary agent on the property sale, he said, and stood to get no more than a $4,000 commission on the $1 million sale of the property on West Main Street Road.

Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the County Legislature, and a GCEDC board member, said he voted against Calamar because he can't see authorizing spending $1.4 million in taxpayer money to create two jobs.

"We all agreed that it's a worthwhile project," Cianfrini said. "We all agree middle-income senior housing is needed. We agree with that, we just don't want to spend taxpayer money to do it. If the project doesn't go forward, I feel badly about that, but this was not a narrow vote."

Cianfrini said he also sees the Calamar project as competition for existing senior housing in the county -- housing that was built without taxpayer assistance.

Calamar would have been able to charge lower rents than some existing projects and that wouldn't be fair to the other developers, Cianfrini said.

The idea of competition is the key to the vote, Gerace said. More new housing in the county would mean more competition for Pete Zeliff and his Oakwood Estates project on the east side of town.

Zeliff, a newer member of the GCEDC board, is building single-family homes that would be marketed to upper-income professionals.

Gerace thinks that creates a conflict of interest for Zeliff and Cianfrini, who is the attorney for Zeliff on the project.

Cianfrini and Zeliff said both said don't see a conflict of interest. The two projects are completely different. They're aimed at different markets -- one is rental, the other is home ownership. Even if you factor in existing homes being vacated by seniors moving into the Calamar project, that's still a very different home buyer looking at those older homes than would consider something in Oakwood Estates.

Zeliff has not even approached the GCEDC about financial incentives for Oakwood Estates. He said his vote against the Calamar project had everything to do with the merits of the proposal.

"They're creating just two jobs at cost of $1.4 million," Zeliff said. "That's $700,000 a job. The residents complain when the EDC gives incentives to industry that is $100,000 a job, why would the residents want to commit $700,000 to a job to residential housing?"

And yes, competition is an issue -- Calamar would compete with projects such as Clinton Crossings, which charges $1,100 a month in rent. Calamar's taxpayer-subsidized rents would all be $1,000 or less.

Clinton Crossings received no tax incentives for its project, Zeliff said.

"They have 35 people on the waiting list waiting to get in," Zeliff said. "The area will support senior housing at the money Calamar claims it won't."

Gerace wonders why the GCEDC board wouldn't even let the project go to a public hearing, allowing the public to weigh in on whether Calamar should get tax incentives to help build much needed senior housing.

Cianfrini said he didn't see any point in a public hearing.

"My position, if we don't believe in the project in the first instance, why let it go to a public hearing when we know we're going to vote it down after a public hearing," Cianfrini said. "We just thought we'd be wasting valuable time to even let it go to a public hearing. If they want to know what the public viewpoint on this is, let them poll the public themselves and get their own opinion on it."

August 8, 2014 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider three projects at its August 12, 2014, board meeting.

Muller Quaker Dairy is planning to improve its data infrastructure with a new enterprise backup and test environment solution, a project which would retain 143 jobs. The benefitted amount of project the GCEDC board can assist with is $185,000 and the total project incentive request is $14,800 for sales tax exemptions only. The board will consider a final resolution for the project.

Batavia Shoes LLC is planning to purchase the assets, manufacturing facility and client lists of PW Minor, a manufacturer and distributor of leather footwear and orthopedic products located in the City of Batavia. The board will accept the application for the project and consider an initial resolution.

Calamar is planning to build a 117,000-square-foot, three-story building that will house 110 senior apartment units, a lobby and common rooms in the Town of Batavia. The company is investing $11 million which will create up to 200 temporary construction jobs. The board will consider an initial resolution that will set a public hearing for the project.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at noon and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, NY, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

July 13, 2014 - 9:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Oakfield, GCEDC, U.S. Gypsum.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for application for assistance from United States Gypsum Co. (USG) at the July 10, 2014, board meeting. 

United States Gypsum Company Co. (USG) is planning to upgrade its paper mill at 2750 Maple Ave. in Oakfield, NY. The project will include replacing and relocating equipment, stock cleaning and enhanced manila production to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the facility.

The upgrades will consist of three phases and is expected to commence in 2016. The projected capital investment is approximately $23 million and the investment will retain 98 manufacturing jobs and create 12 new production jobs.

In other matters, Graham Corporation’s 2013 project with the GCEDC involved expansion of its operations on Harvester Avenue, Howard Street and Florence Streets, in the city of Batavia. There has been a longer than anticipated construction time on these projects and Graham Corporation is requesting a PILOT amendment in order to delay the commencement of the PILOT by one year. This amendment will not result in any additional incentives for the project.   

“The significant investments in businesses right here in our region is strongly reflective of the ongoing economic growth we continue to witness in all industry sectors,” said Wallace Hinchey, GCEDC Board chairman.

July 13, 2014 - 9:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt a new local labor policy at the organization’s July board meeting. The new policy was developed by the GCEDC Governance and Nominating Committee.

According to the policy, at least 90 percent of non-management construction labor on projects in excess of $5 million construction costs that receive local incentives from the GCEDC must employ workers within the “Local Labor Area” which has been defined as individuals residing in Genesee, Orleans, Monroe, Wyoming, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Yates, Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

“I want to thank the members of the Governance and Nominating Committee for developing a fair and balanced local labor policy. We do not believe it is unreasonable to ask companies that receive incentives and benefits from our agency to hire locally,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Wolcott Hinchey. “In addition, the local labor area has been defined to include a large area of Western New York to be able to utilize our talented and productive workforce that is readily available to general contractors and subcontractors who work on these economic development projects.”

The policy will allow for companies that receive benefits from the GCEDC to request a waiver for exemption from the local policy in certain circumstances, including the installation of specialized equipment of materials where the manufacturer requires local installation by only approved installers; specialized construction where workers from the “Local Labor Area” are not available; but the company must provide documentation that there is a lack of those particular workers in the “Local Labor Area.”

Companies that receive incentives from the GCEDC will be required to file quarterly reports documenting that they are utilizing workers from the “Local Labor Area” based on the total construction job numbers. Failure to comply with the quarterly reports could result in a company’s incentives being rescinded by the GCEDC.

“This policy is not about meeting job numbers as there are always issues that are beyond a company’s control such as a downturn in the economy; the policy is simply about companies insisting that their contractors and subcontractors hire local laborers,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “The bottom line is that if companies are receiving local tax breaks, then they should be hiring local laborers.”

July 7, 2014 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

This is from the GCEDC:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two projects at its July 10, 2014, board meeting. The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 4 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, NY, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College. 

U.S. Gypsum Company is planning to upgrade its paper mill at 2750 Maple Ave. in Oakfield, NY. The project will include replacing and relocating equipment, stock cleaning and enhanced manila production to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the facility. The projected capital investment is approximately $23 million and will ensure retention of 98 existing manufacturing jobs and the addition of 12 new production jobs. The board will consider a final resolution for this project.

Calamar Senior Housing is planning to construct a 117,000-square-foot, three-story building that will house 110 senior apartment units, a lobby and common rooms in the Town of Batavia. The facility they have proposed here in Batavia will be restricted to residents 55 years and older, and is scheduled to have many amenities that will create a holistic senior community including: a full-time director, events, educational seminars, meals, transportation, etc. The apartments will rent at market rate from around $805 to $1,050 per month with all major appliances and utilities included. The look, style, amenities offered at the proposed development to ensure effective “aging in place” models for our seniors.  Overall the company plans to invest $11 million, create two full-time positions, and estimates that 200 construction jobs will be needed to complete the facility. The facility will generate long-term tax base for the County without added demands for services on our school districts. The board will consider an initial resolution for this project as the incentives exceed $100,000.

Graham Corporation’s 2013 project with the GCEDC involved expansion of their operations on Harvester Avenue, Howard Street, and Florence Street in the City of Batavia. There has been a longer than anticipated construction time on these projects and Graham Corporation is requesting a PILOT amendment in order to delay the commencement of the PILOT by one year. This amendment will not result in any additional incentives and Graham will receive the total incentives that the board previously approved.

June 25, 2014 - 9:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, CY Farms.

Press release:

The Genesee County Legislature has appointed Craig Yunker to the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board of Directors. His term will begin Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

“Craig Yunker was selected to serve on the GCEDC board because of his extensive business and agriculture experience,” said Genesee County Legislative Chairman Ray Cianfrini. “He has lived and grown a successful business in Genesee County and will be a tremendous asset to the board."

Yunker is a managing partner of CY Farms headquartered in Elba, New York. CY Farms is one of the largest crop farms in Western New York, growing turf, corn, wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, onions and green peas. The farm encompasses more than 6,000 acres in Genesee County and has been in operation since 1963.

Yunker is also owner of Batavia Turf, a turf farming operation in Batavia, as well as CY Heifers, a 4,000-head replacement heifer business that raises calves for local dairy farms.

In addition to running CY Farms, Yunker is very active within the community. He is the past Genesee County Legislature chairman serving from 1984-1991, and former trustee of Genesee County Community College. Currently, he serves as director of Tompkins Financial Corporation/Bank of Castile and is a trustee of Cornell University.

Yunker holds a B.S. in applied economics and management from Cornell University and a M.S. in resource economics from the University of New Hampshire. He resides in Elba, with his wife, Kimberly, and is a proud father of three children and has three grandchildren.

“We are pleased with the County’s appointment of Craig to the EDC board and look forward with working with him to advance the mission and goals of the agency,” said Wolcott T. Hinchey, chairman of the GCEDC board.

June 23, 2014 - 11:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, bergen.

A company that specializes in auctioning off "total loss" vehicles is planning to move its Rochester location to Bergen.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center Board on Monday approved the sale of 30 acres in Appletree Acres Corporate Park to Insurance Auto Auctions, which has more than 160 locations nationwide.

IAA runs salvage auto auctions, selling cars that insurance companies have declared totaled, either because of accident, weather damage or theft. 

The company says on its Web site that more than 3.5 million vehicles in the U.S. are declared a total loss each year.

Some of the vehicles can be repaired and resold; others are good only for scap or parts.

By state law, only dealers can purchase cars that have been declared salvage.

The company will pay $600,000 for the property and plans to invest $3.5 million and $4 million on the new facility.

Between IAA and vendors, the location will employ 10 to 15 people.

Information on any tax abatements IAA may receive is not yet available.

Steve Tibble, IAA's director of real estate and development, said the company will next apply to the Town of Bergen for all the site and plan approvals.

"We plan on being open as fast as we can," Tibble said.

June 17, 2014 - 10:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Oakfield, GCEDC, U.S. Gypsum.

The public is invited to weigh in during a public hearing at 4 p.m. Monday Tuesday, June 24, on a proposal to provide U.S. Gypsum with tax incentives for a major upgrade to its Oakfield plant.

The proposed tax abatements total $375,748.

U.S. Gypsum is considering investing $23.6 million in the plant, adding production capabilities that would create 12 new production jobs within three years after the project is completed.

Project description:

The United States Gypsum Corporation (USG) is considering upgrading its Oakfield, NY, paper mill, which currently supplies USG wallboard plants with the back paper "newsline" for sheetrock wallboard, to include face paper "manila" production capacity.

The Project includes replacing and relocating the hydropulper and detrashing equipment, stock cleaning, and manila production. Management has been considering upgrades to the facility as it is more efficient to produce the back as well as the front paper applications. Completing this Project will improve safety, quality, and efficiency to ensure the longevity of the facility as well as the retention and creation of manufacturing jobs.

The investment for the Project is expected to be approximately $23 million and will be implemented in three separate phases. Phase I activities, which are expected to commence approximately in the second quarter of 2014, will include replacing and relocating the filler pulper. Phase II will require stock cleaning which will commence in 2015. During Phase III, the facility will begin manila production which will commence in 2016.

If completed, the project is expected to retain 98 jobs at the Oakfield plant.

The proposed tax relief package includes $132,960 in sales tax exemption and $242,788 in property tax abatements on an 18,400-square-foot addition, creating an increased assessed value.

U.S. Gypsum would save $242,788 in taxes on the increase assessed value (while continuing to pay current property taxes) over 10 years.

The public hearing is scheduled to be held at the Oakfield Town Hall, 3219 Drake St., Oakfield.

June 6, 2014 - 9:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced the retirement of James L. Vincent from the GCEDC’s board of directors at its board meeting on Thursday, June 5, 2014.

Vincent served on the GCEDC board of directors for 31 years, playing an instrumental role on the board since 1983. In addition to being a board member, he also served as the GCEDC’s vice chairman for several years and helped the GCEDC become one of the most progressive economic development agencies in New York State through his deep, comprehensive understanding of the need for sustained economic growth. During his tenure as a member of the board, Vincent helped foster increased economic activity in Genesee County by advocating for new employment opportunities and a high quality of life for residents and their families.

Vincent served as president of L-Brooke Farms, Inc., an 8,000+ acre processing vegetable and grain farm since 1986. He also served as chairman of the New York State Advisory Council on Agriculture and the Genesee County Water Resources Agency, among others.

Vincent is past president of Genesee Memorial Hospital, Genesee Community College Foundation, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, and Genesee County Farm Bureau, as well as board member of Farm Fresh First, LLC, Pro Fac Cooperative, Inc., and former town supervisor. 

The GCEDC congratulates Vincent in his retirement from service to the GCEDC board and recognizes him as an exceptional leader in economic development and a dedicated citizen worthy of esteem of not only the GCEDC, but throughout Genesee County.

June 6, 2014 - 9:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Daily News, business, Oakfield, GCEDC, U.S. Gypsum.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for applications for assistance from 9 Apollo Drive, Inc., and an initial resolution to set a public hearing for United States Gypsum Co. at the June 5, 2014, board meeting. 

United States Gypsum Company Co. is planning to upgrade its paper mill at 2750 Maple Ave. in Oakfield, NY.  The project will include replacing and relocating equipment, stock cleaning and enhanced manila production to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the facility.

The upgrades will consist of three phases and are expected to commence in 2016. The projected capital investment is approximately $23 million. The investment will retain 98 manufacturing jobs and create 12 new production jobs.

9 Apollo Drive, Inc., is a business that manufactures doors and windows. The company plans to purchase the building located at 2 Apollo Drive in the City of Batavia to accommodate its growth and expansion. 9 Apollo Drive, Inc., will make a capital investment of approximately $750,000.

In 2002, the company was granted a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for the building located at 9 Apollo Drive, Inc., by the GCEDC and pledged to create eight new jobs. According to PARIS reporting submitted to the GCEDC in 2013, the company has created 29 jobs at this location.

“It is very encouraging to see existing businesses in our region invest resources to improve production and operations and, just as important, retain existing jobs and create new jobs,” said Wallace Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

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