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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.

June 5, 2014 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will jointly host a Batavia Developers Tour with NAIOP (the Commercial Real Estate Development Association) on Wednesday, June 11, from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m.

The event will provide interested business owners and investors the opportunity to tour renovated sites and commercial spaces in the City of Batavia, as well as learn about the various economic development incentives that are available through the GCEDC.

The event will highlight several of Batavia’s development sites and will include a tour of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and other shovel-ready parks and Downtown sites. The tour also will include visits to Batavia’s opportunity area sites, including City Centre, Della Penna Site, Creek Park Site and the Harvester Center Complex.  

Speakers will include City of Batavia Manager Jason Molino, Batavia Improvement District Director Don Burkel, Batavia Development Corp. Director Julie Pacatte and GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

“This is a great way for us to showcase shovel ready sites and locations in the City of Batavia to the development community,” Hyde said. “Through this event, we also hope to educate developers about the business growth potential that exists here and how the various incentive programs through our agency can enhance economic development opportunities in Batavia.”

The tour will end with lunch at the Center Street Smoke House in Batavia. To register, please contact Karen McCready at NAIOP Upstate New York at 585-249-9232 or at [email protected].

June 3, 2014 - 9:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Daily News, business, GCEDC.

Press release from GCEDC:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two projects at its June 5, 2014 board meeting.

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 employment retention of 98 existing manufacturing jobs and the addition of 12 new production jobs.

9 Apollo Drive is planning to purchase the former Daily News building at 2 Apollo Drive in Batavia. With the purchase, the company anticipates further growth and plans to expand its business and manufacture more doors and windows. The projected capital investment for the project is $750,000.

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. 

UPDATE: John Johnson, CEO of Johnson Newspapers, says that the Daily News hasn't sold its building and has no plans to move.

May 21, 2014 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) recently underwent an audit by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) to review the agency’s process for evaluating, approving and monitoring projects from Jan. 1, 2012 through Janu. 27, 2014. The audit found that the GCEDC is “effective in its efforts to promote, develop and assist in economic development projects in Genesee County.”

“We are very pleased with the results from the Comptroller’s audit,” said Wolcott Hinchey the chairman of the GCEDC. “It verifies our approach to economic development as it pertains to having shovel-ready sites available in order to bring new jobs and capital investment into our region. In particular we were very pleased that the Comptroller’s audit recognized the success of the Agri-Business Park with the opening of Alpina and Muller-Quaker yogurt manufacturing facilities.”

The audit also provided the GCEDC with some suggestions and opportunities to improve the agency’s controls and accountability. These included: developing evaluation criteria and process and performance appraisals for potential projects; monitoring procedures for companies that receive benefits from the GCEDC -- as far as achieving capital investment and pledged job creation totals in completed applications for assistance; the development of a cost-benefit analysis ratio or ratios that is reflective of its economic environment and is an appropriate and reasonable measurement of the incentives being offered, among others.

These items will be addressed through a corrective action plan that will be submitted by the GCEDC to the Comptroller’s office.

“We appreciate the recommendations suggested by the Comptroller’s office and will incorporate them into our corrective action plan,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Anything we can do to improve upon our transparency, especially with our public sector partners and the taxpayers is something we always take very seriously.”

Link to Audit- NYS Comptroller Audit of the GCEDC

May 7, 2014 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

A company with roots in New York, but currently based in Connecticut, is looking to build a plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park that would convert food industry waste into heat and electricity.

"We make green power out of organic waste," said Paul Toretta, CEO of CH4 Biogas, while presenting his company's plans to the Town of Batavia Planning Board. "Once the digester does its thing, it captures methane and powers an engine that makes green power and puts it on the grid. The engine produces heat that can be used to heat Quaker Muller and Alpina, helping them cut their heating bill."

The cost of the plant is $15 million and CH4 has already secured a $2 million Cleaner and Greener grant from NYSERDA to help fund the project, but is looking to the state for more help.

Toretta said state officials recommended the company present its proposal to the town planning board because the state wouldn't get behind the idea unless it has community support. The state backing would help the company secure bank loans to completely finance the project.

"We're in a holding pattern while looking for help with funding," Toretta said when asked about the timetable for the project.

Once funding is in place, the plant would take nine months to build. The design is already completed because it's the same design used by the company for plants in Wyoming County and Ohio (for Campbell's Soup).

"We only build one plant," Toretta said. "It's the same plant over and over again."

CH4 would use local contractors to build and maintain the plant, which would eventually employ eight people full time, Toretta said.

"When you put that much concrete and steel in the ground there will be a number of people employed," Toretta said.

The plant would be expected to last at least 30 years.

"The project is upfront capital intensive," said Toretta, who is originally from Potsdam. "It takes 15 years to return the money invested to do this. It's a slow, steady project. You borrow money and it takes 15 years to make any return."

CH4 already processes whey and other waste from the Alpina and Quaker Muller (no whey comes out of the Muller plant) in Wyoming County.

A plant in the ag park would reduce transportation cost and the impact on the environment to truck it more than 20 miles away.

The plant would also help the Genesee County Economic Development Center attract more food processors to the ag park, Toretta said.

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC's VP for business development, agreed.

"It would complement what we're already doing," Suozzi said. "It would definately help with the marketing when you have a green ag park. What better way to market the park and bring in more companies?"

The plant would be set up so it could take any sort of organic food waste, including waste from products that were already packaged but were found to be defective in some way so couldn't be shipped to customers. Toretta said the plant could separate the food waste from the packaging and then recycle the plastic or metal containers.

The plant would produce very little waste itself, but what it did produce would go into the local sewer system, but with much less biological chemicals and suspended salts than could otherwise go into the waste stream.

The plant would also produce little in the way of odor, which is important to Alpina and Quaker Muller because the plant would be upwind from those facilities.

"If there was any type of odor, as you can imagine, Campbell Soup would not allow us to operate our plant there," Toretta said.

May 2, 2014 - 8:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for the Liberty Pumps project at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. The renovation will include new spaces for production, warehouse, research and development, as well as an office, auditorium and training center. The capital investment for the expansion project is $9.8 million and will create 27 new jobs while retaining 124 employees.

In 2000, Liberty Pumps invested $3.7 million for the acquisition of the land and construction of a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. It underwent another expansion project in 2008, which entailed the investment of an additional $4 million for the construction of a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility.

“We are pleased to see Liberty Pumps continue expanding its operations in our region, adding to the growth of employment opportunities in Genesee County,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

April 28, 2014 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a final resolution at its May 1 board meeting.

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its existing facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen, to create new spaces for production and warehouse, research and development and a new office, display, auditorium and training center. The company is investing $9.8 million for the expansion project, creating 27 new positions, and retaining 124 employees. 

Liberty Pumps has undertaken several projects in the last few years. In 2000, the company invested $3.7 million to construct and equip a 60,000-square-foot facility and in 2008 they undertook a 64,000-square-foot addition.

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 in the Town of Batavia, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

Not in the press release, but from another e-mail sent out by GCEDC today:

Liberty Pumps is planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion onto its existing 120,000-square-foot facility at Apple Tree Acres in Bergen. (Of that,) 81,400 square feet will be dedicated to production and warehouse, 7,600 square feet will house new research and development/ test facility space, and 11,000 square feet will hold new office, display, an auditorium and training center. ... The company has submitted an application to the GCEDC requesting assistance that includes tax savings of $377,600, a mortgage tax exemption savings of $93,750, and property tax abatement of $863,577 due to the incremental increase in assessed value.

April 16, 2014 - 11:08am

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) has been approved for a grant up to $130,000 from National Grid that will be used to continue the development of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (GVAB). The Agri-Business Park is home to Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy, LLC.

The GGLDC, the real estate affiliate of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), recently acquired 37 acres of land adjacent to the Agri-Business Park. The grant from National Grid will be used to extend the current electrical distribution line along the newly constructed access road, as well as the engineering and design of the extension of the road, water and sewer lines.

The approximate $600,000 project is being funded by the GGLDC and the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Agency and is expected to create approximately 100 construction jobs.

“National Grid continues to be a phenomenal partner in our economic development efforts in Genesee County and you have to look no further than to the continued growth of Agri-Park to see the return on investment of the various grants the company has provided through the years,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC.

“Genesee County continues to be a model for how to do economic development in New York State,” said National Grid Regional Executive Dennis Elsenbeck. “We are confident that the job creation and capital investment made to date in the Agri-Business Park will continue to occur as Steve and his team expand its footprint.”

The approved grant will be paid out upon project completion and comes from National Grid’s Shovel-Ready Incentive Program, which was created to help make high-potential sites more marketable for the expansion of job-creating companies. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

April 4, 2014 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Premiere Credit, Koolatron.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved applications for two projects at its April 3 meeting.

Mega Properties, Inc., (Koolatron) will implement a 20,000-square-foot expansion to its current facility in Gateway I Corporate Park in Batavia. The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of approximately $39,200, a mortgage tax exemption of approximately $6,250 and a property tax abatement of $144,648 based on incremental increase in assessed value. The planned capital investment will total an estimated $775,000 and is projected to create 5.5 new full-time equivalent jobs in three years after a certificate of occupancy is issued.

Mega Properties, Inc., is a Canadian company headquartered in Brantford, Ontario, with locations in the United Kingdom and the United States. The company began business with its flagship product line of 12-volt portable thermoelectric coolers and has expanded to manufacture, market and distribute a wide range of items through dealer/distributor network and the Internet. 

Premiere Credit was approved for a sales exemption of $32,000 to expand is call center in the City of Batavia. The capital investment of the expansion project is $400,000 and the company has pledged 25 additional jobs, bringing the facility’s total employment up to 150 full-time equivalent employees.

In 2012, capital expenditure of Premiere Credit was $350,000 with 100 pledged jobs. In 2013, capital expenditure was $325,000 with 50 additional jobs pledged, resulting in the creation of 134 positions at the Batavia location.

“Companies in our county keep expanding operations at their facilities due to the increasing success they’ve experienced with the business climate here. The growth of these companies will continue to positively contribute to our job creation efforts,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

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