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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.

April 1, 2014 - 10:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC.

Press release:

Wally Hinchey was elected chairman of the board of directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) at the agency’s March 6 meeting.

“Wally provides the GCEDC a seamless transition as he has a thorough understanding of how business works,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “I know I speak on behalf of the GCEDC staff that we look forward to working with Wally in his new role with the agency as we continue to bring new jobs and investment to Genesee County.”

Hinchey currently serves as president of P.W. Minor & Son, Inc., a Batavia-based footwear manufacturer and wholesaler for which he has worked for more than 30 years.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue serving the community as a member of the GCEDC board of directors in my new role as chairman,” Hinchey said. “There are a number of exciting opportunities in 2014 to build on our past economic successes.”

Hinchey has served on the GCEDC board for eight years. He has previous experience serving on boards for the YMCA and United Way.

He earned his B.A. at Hobart College and his M.B.A. from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Hinchey is married and has two daughters. He resides in Le Roy.

March 31, 2014 - 3:38pm
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 two projects at its April 3 board meeting.

Mega Properties, Inc., plans to make a 20,000-square-foot expansion to its current facility in Gateway I Corporate Park in Batavia. The projected capital investment is approximately $775,000 and would create 5.5 new full-time equivalent jobs in three years after a certificate of occupancy is issued.

Premiere Credit plans to expand its growing call center in the City of Batavia through an investment of approximately $400,000. The company pledges 25 additional jobs with this project, which will bring total employment commitment at the facility up to 150 full-time equivalent employees. At the end of 2013, Premiere reported employing 134 employees at the company’s Batavia location.

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, located at 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the 2nd floor, across from Genesee Community College.

UPDATE: Here are project summaries released by GCEDC

Mega Properties, Inc. (Koolatron) - Town of Batavia (final resolution will be considered)
Mega Properties, Inc., (Koolatron) is a Canadian company with headquarters in Brantford, Ontario, international location in the United Kingdom, and U.S. locations in Florida and New York. They began with their flagship product line of 12-volt portable thermoelectric coolers and today they have expanded to manufacture, market and distribute a wide range of items via dealer-distributor network and the Internet. In 2000, they built a 25,000-square-foot facility in the Gateway I Corporate Park. The company is proposing a 20,000-square-foot expansion at their current facility. The total investment is estimated at $775,000 and the project is expected to create 5.5 new full-time equivalent jobs in three years after their certificate of occupancy is issued. The GCEDC Board approved an initial resolution to set a public hearing at the June 6, 2013 meeting. A public hearing was held on June 26, 2013, as the benefits exceeded $100,000, and there were no comments.

Premiere Credit - City of Batavia (final resolution will be considered)
Premiere Credit is expanding their call center in the city of Batavia. The company is investing $400,000 in equipment to support their growing call center. Premiere Credit is pledging 25 additional jobs and with this project that will bring total employment at the facility up to 150 full-time equivalent employees. In 2012, capital expenditure was $350,000 with 100 pledged jobs. In 2013, capital expenditure was $325,000 with 50 more jobs pledged. For 2013, the company reported that 134 positions had been created at their Batavia location.

March 29, 2014 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP.

UPDATED 6:56 p.m. to add comments from Steve Hyde.

State lawmakers are expected to vote on a state budget Monday that will include $33 million in funding for the WNY STAMP project in the Town of Alabama. STAMP stands for Science and Technology Advanced Marketing Park.

The funds will help GCEDC complete land acquisition and make the proposed high-tech manufacturing park "shovel ready lite."

Actual shovel-in-the-ground type of work will no likely begin before the first tenant is secured, said GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde.

"The big thing is the funding being approved, committed and appropriated," Hyde said.

Once at least one company makes a commitment to STAMP, Hyde said, that's when you'll see work begin on infrastructure -- water lines, roads, power lines, gas lines and telecom.

The proposed 1,300-acre high-tech business park could transform the WNY economy, which is why a broad coalition of "partners" (other IDAs, local governments, community colleges and elected officials) came together to advocate for the funding, Hyde said.

"It was a pretty cool undertaking," Hyde said.

The funding is a big win for all of WNY, said Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer, who have both been working to help secure the funding.

"This is huge," Ranzenhofer said. This is the biggest site in North America. This is where people will want to come. This is going to be big for Genesee County and Erie County and Niagara County and all the counties of Western New York. It's going to create thousands of of advanced and technical kinds of jobs."

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morrelle held a press conference in Irondequoit this afternoon to announce the funding.

Hawley said he was assured on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday that the money would be in the final budget proposal, which the Legislature is expected to vote on Monday.

He said dozens and dozens of people, from local elected officials up to staff in the governor's office, worked together to help make the funding possible.

"I can only say this has been a true team effort," Hawley said. "We've been working together for the regional economic renaissance of Western New York. This project when it comes to fruition could create 10,000 jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Spreading the tax burden lessens the tax burden on us all."

There's still lots of engineer work and planning to take place for STAMP, Hyde said. There's also land acquisition deals yet to complete. The funding will help move the project along in those areas as well.

Hyde said earlier this month that STAMP is generating real interest among site selectors and Ranzenhofer and Hawley said they've heard from Hyde that there are some strong potential projects in the pipeline. Securing this funding will only help matters.

"Steve Hyde has indicated there are businesses ready to sign on the dotted line," Hawley said. "There are a number that are really close and extremely interested."

Ranzenhofer said the funding is perhaps the last carrot Hyde needs to draw some businesses into the park.

"I would expect once people see the money is in the budget he's going have some great success in closing some of these deals," Ranzenhofer said.

Hyde reiterated this afternoon that there are some solid businesses taking a good hard look at STAMP and this funding will certainly go a long way toward getting final commitments.

"Some (of the potential deals) are getting pretty deep and there's more in the sales funnel," Hyde said. "I'm very excited. What this does is allow us to show a company that the funding is there to finish the infrastructure and gives us the the ability to try hard and close these deals."

Hyde praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for backing STAMP.

"This is fulfilling his plan to drive high tech and revitalize Upstate New York," Hyde said. "The governor's office has been incredibly supportive and I'm immensely grateful that they would work with us on this."

UPDATE 7:07 p.m.: Statement from Steve Hyde just issued by GCEDC, after the jump:

March 7, 2014 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, bank of castile, business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved applications for two projects at its March 6, 2014, board meeting. 

The Bank of Castile/Tompkins Trust Company is purchasing a building located at 113-119 Main St. in the City of Batavia and plans to renovate the second floor (10,000 square feet) into a call center for its expanding operations because of limited space in its current location in the City of Batavia. The company also plans to maintain the first floor and continue renting space to current lessors. 

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of approximately $53,600 and a property tax exemption of approximately $27,800 to expand its existing facility. The planned capital investment will total an estimated $1.5 million dollars and is projected to create two new jobs.

Tompkins Trust Company built a new 18,000-square-foot headquarters in the City of Batavia in 2004, investing more than $2.9 million dollars. The company had pledged to create 63 new jobs; as of 2012, it had created 74 jobs.

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

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.

“It’s great to see companies that our agency has assisted with in past, come back to us with plans to expand their operations and create even more jobs in our region,” said Wally Hinchey, GCEDC board chairman.

March 7, 2014 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) held its annual meeting at Genesee Community College to unveil the organization’s 2013 annual report. During the meeting, Genesee Community College (GCC) was honored for its collaboration in the community as it received the Economic Development Partner of the Year Award from the GCEDC.

“Because of the strategic leadership of the public and private sectors in 2013, the economy of Genesee County remains strong and the business climate continues to remain positive,” said Wally Hinchey, chairman, GCEDC. “I am confident that the GCEDC, the County, and our municipal partners will continue to work together to make business attraction and expansion a priority for 2014, and am proud to recognize GCC as the GCEDC partner of the year.”

The college was recognized for its role in executing strong economic development and workforce programs for the region. In collaboration with the GCEDC and the Best Center, it has helped more than 80 students graduate with certificates in advanced manufacturing/nanotechnology and food processing technology. These graduates have found local employment in industries they would not have thought to pursue. GCC will continue partnering with the GCEDC by implementing new degree programs to support numerous businesses, industry training programs and attraction efforts, as well as the START-UP NY program run by the college.

The approximately 300 people in attendance also were provided an update on developments at the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama by Mark Peterson, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Enterprise and Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.  Both participated in meetings last month with representatives from the GCEDC and organized labor to advocate on behalf of STAMP with members and staff from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and members of the New York State Senate and Assembly.

The state has listed the STAMP project as a top economic development priority and has released $5 million in funds to move the project forward, but still $33 million is needed to make the project shovel-ready lite. The project, which has the potential to create thousands of new jobs, has the support of labor unions and the business community from Buffalo and Rochester, along with senators and assembly members in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions.

“Going into 2014, it is critical that we continue to sustain this year’s great achievements and reach the goals we have set for growth and development in the county,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We will continue to ramp up our sales and marketing efforts for STAMP to attract large-scale semiconductor and high-tech companies to the site.”

March 6, 2014 - 9:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, STAMP.

There's plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future of the WNY STAMP project in Alabama, Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during the Ways and Means Committee meeting Tuesday.

While Genesee County Economic Development Center must still secure a total of $33 million in financing to make the proposed high-tech manufacturing park "shovel-ready lite," there is plenty of buzz about the project among site selectors.

STAMP will be one of only a couple of locations in the nation, if not in the world, that could provide a major manufacturer with both 500 acres of property and up to 500 megawatts of electricity, Hyde said.

One of the nation's leading site selectors was at a conference in Denver recently and told Hyde there may be a very big project in the pipeline and STAMP is in the running.

"He said they have a really monster project developing, that New York will certainly be on the radar, but they said that STAMP is the one site, and maybe the only site in New York, that could probably accomodate it," Hyde said. "We're excited. We hope that comes through, but it's still very, very early at this juncture."

Hyde also said the governor's office is working on landing a project that would be "about the size of Muller" -- the yogurt plant in the Genesee Valley Ag Park -- for STAMP, but that New York is among four states competing for the project.

"It's competitive, but we're in the hunt," Hyde said.

STAMP is Hyde's big dream -- with the potential for hundreds of millions in local investment and 10,000 jobs. He called it "a game changer for our community."

He made his remarks during GCEDC's annual review for the Ways and Means Committee.  GCEDC will hold it's annual meeting at noon Friday at the college.

GCEDC operates on a $1.3 million annual budget, with $597,975 coming from fees paid by businesses that receive GCEDC benefits, $480,000 from the Local Development Corporation (a nonprofit operated by GCEDC that also receives fees for projects) and $215,014 from county taxpayers.

That $215,000 in county funding is perpetually controversial, but Hyde said it's essential to keeping GCEDC operating.

"That county contribution is only about 17 percent of our budget, but it gives about 8.5 professionals work that we hope you think is of value," Hyde said. "It's very important."

In 2013, GCEDC closed 28 projects that resulted in 270 pledged jobs, $29.9 million in capital investments and $1.7 million in grants for business and infrastructure improvements.

The biggest win for GCEDC over the past two years has been the ag park, which has seen the creation of two Greek yogurt plants -- Alpina and Muller.

Alpina pledged 50 new jobs and has already created 47, plus 33 full-time temp jobs that fluctuate based on production needs (and sometimes turn into new full-time, permanent jobs).

PepsiCo. / Muller pledged 186 new jobs in the first three years and 145 have been created so far.

Nearly 50 percent of the new hires at the two plants were Genesee County residents, Hyde said.

March 6, 2014 - 8:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, bergen, Appletree Acres.

It's going to take a good deal more electricity to power an expanded Liberty Pumps in Bergen and adding more transmission lines to Appletree Acres will cost a bit of money.

To help pay for it, Genesee County Economic Development Center is proposing a financing scheme known as a PIF -- PILOT Increment Financing.

Liberty Pumps already has an approved PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for its expansion, and a PIF reallocates some of their PILOT payments toward infrastructure payments.

In this case, GCEDC is proposing a 50-percent PIF, meaning the taxing jurisdiction will get half of the PILOT payments and half will go toward a fund to pay for the additional power lines and poles.

The cost of the electricity project is estimated at $150,000.

The power expansion will benefit all of Appletree Acres, making it more attractive to potential businesses considering the park and Village of Bergen residents, said Mark Masse, VP of business development for GCEDC.

It will also mean ratepayers in the Village of Bergen -- which has its own power utility -- won't see a rate increase as a result of infrastructure upgrade.

Of the 10-year period of the PILOT/PIF, the county will receive nearly $80,000 in PILOT payments and $80,000 will go to the electricity project. For the county, the gain/loss of $80,000 is not currently either a budgeted expense or budgeted revenue.

For the Village of Bergen the split is $17,600, and for the Byron-Bergen School District, it's $287,850.

All three jurisdictions will need approve the PIF.

Masse will explain the project to the Byron-Bergen School Board tonight.

A PILOT is a mechanism to relieve a new or expanding business of some property tax burden on projects expected to create new jobs. The property is either owned or leased by the nonprofit GCEDC so there are no property taxes owed; the business then makes payments in lieu of those taxes during the PILOT period. The payments increase on a graduated scale over a 10-year period, usually started at 20 percent of the increase in assessed value.

A PIF, then, takes those payments and allocates at least a portion to a specific community project.

The County's Ways and Means Committee learned about the PIF plan for Appletree Acres on Wednesday, but was not yet asked to vote on the project.

Liberty Pumps is planning to add 100,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space.

February 6, 2014 - 1:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will hold its annual meeting on Friday, March 7, at Genesee Community College to unveil the organization’s 2013 annual report to the community.

The attendees at the annual meeting will include Congressman Chris Collins, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and Genesee County Legislature Chairman Raymond Cianfrini.  

“Because of the strategic leadership of the public and private sectors in 2013, the economy of Genesee County remains strong and the business climate continues to remain positive,” said Charlie Cook, GCEDC chairman. “We will discuss at this meeting our plans to continue making business attraction and expansion a priority for 2014.”

Among the economic development highlights for the region as outlined in the 2013 annual report include:

** Recognition of Genesee County as one of the to five fastest-growing food processing regions in the country by Business Facilities magazine;

** Recognition of Genesee County by Site Selection magazine as one of the top fastest-growing micropolitans in the United States due to continued growth and business attraction;

** Economic growth as a result of projects like Muller Quaker Dairy LLC, a yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business (GVAB) Park located on Route 5 in Batavia; and

** An unemployment rate of 5.8 percent during the summer of 2013 according to the New York State Department of Labor, one of the lowest unemployment rates of the 62 counties in the state.

In addition to the GCEDC’s annual report highlights, the recipient of this year’s Economic Development Partner of the Year Award will be unveiled.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the annual meeting, please visit www.gcedc.com. Tickets for the event cannot be purchased at the door and seating is limited.

December 23, 2013 - 4:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Batavia Towne Center, COR Development.

The Town of Batavia Planning Board will hold a public hearing Jan. 7 to consider an application for a subdivision of property in Batavia Towne Center.

The subdivision would make it possible for Kohl's Department Store to own its own property inside the shopping center, much like Target does now.

Kohl's would be purchasing the parcel from COR Development.

In June, the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board approved $1.8 million in new tax abatements for COR (on top of the $4.6 million in tax breaks COR received from GCEDC in 2006), ostensibly to attract new businesses that provide goods or services not readily available in Genesee County.

Kohl's is a department store chain that sells furniture, clothing, bed and bath items and other general merchandise.

The store will be located where Lowe's once had its garden center, just south of the new Dick's Sporting Goods.

To the north of Dick's will be a Five Below and possibly Marshall's; both are discount retailers.

In order for Kohl's to own its own parcel, the property currently owned by COR must be subdivided.

All subdivisions must go through a public hearing, which is a chance for the public to learn the facts of the project relevant to the subdivision and comment on the issue.

The same process was used to subdivide Batavia Towne Center for Target. A portion of the tax breaks secured by COR in 2006 are now applied to the Target property.

While it's possible for Kohl's to apply to transfer tax abatements received by COR to the new parcel, Rachael Tabelski, director of marketing and communications for GCEDC, said the agency has yet to receive an application for the tax abatements from Kohl's.

The hearing will be held at Batavia Town Hall, 3833 W. Main Street Road, Batavia, at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 7. Written comments will be accepted prior to that date.

October 3, 2013 - 6:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Yancey's Fancy, Alpina Products.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider at its Oct. 3 board meeting final resolutions for tax exemptions related to Yancey’s Fancy’s new processing facility and an expansion project proposed by Alpina Foods.

Yancey’s Fancy is seeking sales tax and mortgage tax exemptions and a property tax abatement to build a new facility within the Buffalo East Technology Park (BETP) located in Pembroke. Yancey’s Fancy plans to purchase approximately 12 acres within the BETP and build a 112,000-square-foot facility. The company plans to keep its artisan cheese operation and retail store in the current location on 857 Main Road in Corfu, while operating the new processing facility for its other product lines.

Yancey’s Fancy currently has 108 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 50 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for the new facility.

Alpina Foods is seeking approval of a final resolution for sales tax exemption valued at $40,000 related to its proposed expansion plan. Alpina is planning a $2.5 million investment in new production equipment and $500,000 in interior construction (furniture, fixtures, and non-manufacturing equipment). Associated with this expansion plan, Alpina has committed to adding an additional 15 full-time equivalent employees to its workforce over the next three years after completion of the expansion project.  

A leading South American dairy products company, Alpina Foods constructed its first U.S. manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in 2011. The facility employs 50 full-time workers on site and has met initial job creation commitments ahead of schedule.

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, second floor, across from Genesee Community College.

September 13, 2013 - 5:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, GCEDC, Bonduelle, food processing.

If you're a vegetable processing company, "growth" better be your favorite word.

It's a word tossed around dozens of times today during an open house for local officials and regional media at Bonduelle's facility in Bergen.

The family-run, France-based firm purchased the plant, along with plants in Oakfield and Brockport, from Allen Foods in March 2012.

It was a strategic purchase. Bonduelle, which specializes in packaging frozen vegetables under the labels of retailers, sees the United States as a place to grow and the Northeast as suitable target market.

Company executives made four trips to Allen's facilities and decided the plants were under-utilized but were in great locations with great employees, said Daniel Viefaure, CEO of Bonduelle Americas.

"When we visited the plants, what we saw were people eager for improvement," Viefaure said. "They were working under a company that was not as eager for growth as we were and the employees realized that. When they saw we were visiting, they were really interested and I got the feeling that they were the right people to do what we really wanted to do."

To date, Bonduelle has invested for $5.5 million in the four former Allen plants (there's also one in Wisconsin), including $3.5 million in the Bergen facility.

Bonduelle was so eager to grow in its first year that it applied for -- but didn't use because the timing wasn't right -- a $250,000 state grant through the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

While Allen was reportedly losing money on the facilities it sold to Bonduelle, Viefaure said his company was profitable its first year of operations.

The company plans to continue growing its WNY operations and Vielfaure said Bonduelle will likely seek out future assistance from GCEDC to assist with that growth.

Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC, said Bonduelle is a great success story for Genesee County, helping to shore up the vegetable end of the county's food processing industry.

“This is a game changer,” Hyde said. “The companies that owned this plant previously were really allowing it to decline and they weren’t investing and they weren’t growing, and now what you see is a 180 (degree change).”

The move into WNY by Bonduelle has certainly had a big impact on its employees in Bergen and Oakfield, who were on the cusp of unemployment under Allen. Bonduelle made a point of retaining the 69 year-around employees at the two plants.

The facilities also employ 188 seasonal workers.

Currently, the Bergen facility processes 107 million pounds of corn, carrots, beans and peas, said James Newcomb, facilities manager for Bonduelle.

Newcomb has 42 years experience working for the companies that roll up into the history of the Bonduelle plants.

On one of the tours today, Newcomb repeatedly emphasized the great care for quality Bonduelle has instilled in the plants, making equipment upgrades, improving training and ensuring only the best produce is purchased from family farms within 75 miles of the plants.

"Our customers were asking for more product, but we didn't have the capacity," Viefaure said. "Our customers are very happy to buy more product from us. They are experiencing growth and they needed more vegetables."

Among Bonduelle's clients is Wegmans, which Viefaure said is a great customer for Bonduelle because of Wegmans insistence on quality vegetables for its brand-name frozen foods.

"Wegmans is a state-of-the-art company," Viefaure said.

While Viefaure did not discuss today the specific expansion plans for his company, he did make clear the company is looking to grow its market share in the Northeast and that will mean expansion in Bergen and Oakfield.

James Newcomb demonstrating how corn kernals are stripped from the cob.

A worker sorting through kernals of cut corn, picking out imperfections. Newcomb said this was his first job in the industry and said it's one of the hardest jobs in the plant.

September 9, 2013 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2014 at its board meeting today, adopting a balanced budget that totals $1.2 million.

Approximately $1.041 million in revenues will be realized through grant revenue, sale and lease back fees, interest income, and county funding. Another $175,000 in cash payments will be collected through project participation fee annuity streams. Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) interest will generate approximately $22,000 in revenue through 13 active loans in RLF 1 and five active loans in RLF 2. Meanwhile, workforce development activities continue to be self-sustaining due to grant funding. 

“The GCEDC was created to retain and create jobs and generate new revenues for local government by increasing the property tax base,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “For every dollar of public money that supports the GCEDC, there is an $18 return on investment to the community as a result of various economic development projects supported by our agency.”

As a public benefit organization, the GCEDC generates fee revenues from economic development projects. The GCEDC also projects continued funding from Genesee County as well as other sources to run its operations, programs and services. The funding provided by Genesee County helps the GCEDC with core base-level operational funding while the remaining project revenue is raised through the ongoing work of the GCEDC.

“Genesee County is a vital partner in our efforts to bring new business and growth to our region,” Hyde continued. “We are extremely grateful to the members of the Genesee County Legislature who support the GCEDC’s ongoing growth strategy.”

Expenditures have been controlled and reduced wherever possible, however compliance with New York State mandates continues to cause significant cost increases for the operating budget. For example, a 13-percent increase in health insurance premiums is anticipated based on current estimates from health insurance brokers.

“The GCEDC’s budget assumptions are conservative due to uncertainties related to future project activity levels, but we anticipate that 2014 will be another great year,” said Lezlie Farrell, CFO of the GCEDC.

September 6, 2013 - 5:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Batavia Towne Center, COR Development.

Today workers just about completed installing the Dick's Sporting Goods sign on the former Lowe's building.

Syracuse-based COR Development received $1.8 million in local tax breaks in order to retrofit the building so Dick's could come to town and compete against existing locally owned sporting goods stores.

One store, Fisher Sports, has already closed because of the preferential treatment given to COR by the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Dick's is expected to open within a couple of months.

September 6, 2013 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, graham corp, Yancey's Fancy.

From Rachael J. Tabelski, marketing and communications director, GCEDC:

Please be advised that the two projects that came before the Genesee County Economic Development Center Board for incentives at the Sept. 5 board meeting passed. The details of the projects are below. Please note that the project summary for Yancey's Fancy has been updated with further details of the project. The board approved an initial resolution which directs the GCEDC to schedule a public hearing on the Yancey's Fancy project and related incentives. As soon as the public hearing for Yancey's is scheduled we will send you the details. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Graham Corporation Expansion
Discussion: Proposed sales tax and property tax abatement.

Graham Corporation would like to renovate the "old" plant area, located at the corner of Harvester Avenue and Howard Street in the City of Batavia. A new bay will be constructed (12,439 square feet) that will enclose the area between two manufacturing bays located facing Harvester Avenue along with renovations of office and manufacturing areas. In addition, a new building (3,800 square feet) will be constructed on the 20 Florence Street campus. This new building will be used for X-ray inspections of welds done during the fabrication process. Graham currently has 311 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and anticipates adding 30 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for these renovations. At the Aug. 1 board meeting an initial resolution was approved to schedule a public hearing. A public hearing was held on Aug. 21 to solicit public comments on the project as the total incentive amount is more than $100,000. No members of the public attended the hearing.

Board Action Request: Approval of final resolution to approve the incentives for the project. The application for the expansion project includes an estimated sales tax exemption of $240,000 and estimated property tax abatement on the incremental increase in assessed value of $243,396.

Historical Look: The last expansion project that Graham undertook and the GCEDC assisted was in 2011. At the time Graham had 278 FTEs and pledged 30 new jobs in three years for a total of 308 FTEs. According to its 2013 application the company exceeded its employment goals and plans to keep growing.

Yancey’s Fancy Project -- *Updated Summary
Discussion: Proposed sales tax and mortgage tax exemptions and property tax abatement.

Yancey's Fancy has updated its project specifications since submission of its original application for incentives. The original application was received by the GCEDC in April. According to the original application, Yancey’s was planning an 112,000-square-foot expansion at its existing facility, 857 Main Road in Corfu. After moving forward with planning and permitting for the expansion, the company has decided to build a new facility within the Buffalo East Technology Park (BETP) located in Pembroke. Yancey’s Fancy would like to purchase approximately 12 acres within the BETP, and build a 112,000-square-foot facility. The capital investment is estimated to be $18.2 million.

The company plans to keep its artisan cheese operations and retail store in the current location (857 Main Road), and to undertake an expansion at this location as well. The second part of the project will include the addition of 3,500 square feet at the 857 Main Road location where they will install a new reverse-osmosis system. The instillation of a reverse-osmosis system will allow whey produced during the cheese-making process to be dried and sold. Currently, whey is transported by local farmers at a cost to Yancey’s. By utilizing reverse-osmosis technology, it is possible to concentrate the solid content enough to sell whey to processors and animal feed operations. Recent technological advances also allow the water removed from the whey to be pumped back into plant operations. These advances, as well as the expansion of the town and village sewer system, have made the reverse-osmosis project a viable opportunity in the overall growth strategy that Yancey’s Fancy in undertaking. The capital investment of this project is estimated to be $2.5 million.

The total capital investment for Yancey’s project is estimated at $20.7 million. The company currently has 108 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 50 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for this new facility. Due to the changes in the project, a new public hearing will be held to solicit public comment on the incentives sought by the company, as they are more than $100,000 in savings.

Board Action Request: Approval of an initial resolution to set a public hearing for the Yancey’s Fancy project. The estimated sales tax exemption is valued at $638,608, and the estimated mortgage tax exemption is valued at $233,388. The new building and land located within the Buffalo East Technology Park will have an estimated property tax savings of $686,314, and the incremental increase in assessed value that will apply to the additional square footage at the 857 Main Road location will have an estimated property tax savings of $49,022. The total estimated property tax exemption is valued at $735,336.

August 28, 2013 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, liberty pumps, foreign trade zone.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped for a tour of Liberty Pumps in Bergen today to promote Genesee County's "Foreign Trade Zone" designation.

Liberty is the first company in Genesee County to apply for the benefits of an FTZ.

Charlie Cook, president and CEO of Liberty Pumps, said the designation will help his company grow and create more jobs.

"It's certainly going to help reduce our costs," Cook said. "We are initially limited to three companies because it's crucial to monitor everything and control the inventory on the floor, so our most expensive components are duty free and there's an advantage there. It's our intent to flow the savings to the bottom line and generate more profits, which fuels future growth."

Profits, Cook, explained, means more research and development and more funds to bring new products to market, which means expansion.

Liberty Pumps is surrounded by three parcels of land that are suitable for expansion and Cook mentioned that the company is considering it options and will almost certainly expand in the next couple of years.

The FTZ allows Liberty Pumps to buy some of the parts it needs to build products without paying tariffs, but then it can also avoid tariffs on its exports.

Cook wanted to note, however, that not every component it could buy overseas is imported.

"We really try to limit our foreign purchases of components," Cook said. "If we can buy it domestically, we always prefer domestic components, but the fact is, these particular motors you can't get from a U.S. manufacturer anymore. They've all closed down these lines. Other components, like castings, we could do that, but we're trying to contain that business, a lot of it, to domestic sources rather than foreign."

Gillibrand said FTZs are important to help New York's economy grow.

"I encourage all manufacturers who can benefit to apply," Gillibrand said. "We make some of the most amazing things in the world right here in New York. We produce some of the greatest agricultural products of anywhere in the world. We want to be able to increase the world markets for our goods and services. We want to keep local busineses in a position of strength."

August 26, 2013 - 1:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

For the fourth year in a row, Genesee County, New York has been recognized as one of the fastest growing Food Processing Industry Metros by Business Facilities, a national site selection publication.

The Agricultural and Food and Beverage Sector employs more than 1,500 workers in Genesee County, and throughout the Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region there are more than 20,000 employees within the Food and Beverage Cluster. This number has increased significantly in recent years with the opening of Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy along with the expansion of other food processors in the County.

“The recent construction of two new food processing facilities demonstrates a substantial return on our investment in our Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). “We are honored to be once again recognized by Business Facilities as it keeps us on the radar screen for site selectors throughout the United States and the world.”

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.  On site, there is access to low cost process water via a local aquifer, 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.

“Genesee County and our strategic partners, GCEDC, GCC, our utility companies, Farm East and other local governments like Batavia, Pembroke, Bergen, etc., made sure that nine-plus years of planning and preparation are paying off in terms of infrastructure, shovel-ready site, employment and training opportunities and good paying, long-term employment options for our community and the region,” said Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature. “The vision and collaboration necessary to make this happen and to sustain development and progress is what our community has always been about.”

Alpina Foods, LLC, a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, recently opened its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. This is Alpina’s first United States facility and the company recently exceeded their original job commitments of 50 employees. PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, also recently opened its own $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility, Muller Quaker Dairy, and as of June 2013 have hired 110 employees for their Batavia facility. 

“Food manufacturers value our region’s abundant milk supply and access to fresh water,” said Mark S. Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “These assets are just some of the reasons Genesee County has become a magnet for leading yogurt manufacturers such as Alpina Foods and Muller Quaker Dairy.”

“A wealth of agricultural assets, shovel-ready sites, transportation infrastructure and access to major U.S. and Canadian markets have helped to establish Genesee County as a leading location for the food processing industry,” said Thomas A. Kucharski, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

“Leading dairy companies like Alpina Foods, Muller Quaker Dairy, Yancey’s Fancy and O-AT-KA Milk are among the almost 400 food processing companies that have grown and prospered in Genesee County and the surrounding area,” Kucharski added.

August 1, 2013 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC.

Rachael J. Tabelski, communications director for Genesee County Economic Development Center, released the following details on the four projects that will be considered by the GCEDC board this afternoon. The board meets at 4 p.m. at the MedTech Centre, 99 MedTech Drive (across from the college).

1. (GCEDC) Proposed sales tax and property tax abatement -- Graham Corp.
Graham Corporation would like to renovate the "old" plant area, located at the corner of Harvester Avenue and Howard Street in the City of Batavia. A new bay will be constructed (12,439 square feet) that will enclose the area between two manufacturing bays located facing Harvester Avenue along with renovations of office and manufacturing areas. In addition, a new building (3,800 square feet) will be constructed on the 20 Florence St. property. This new building will be used for X-ray inspections of welds done during the fabrication process. Graham currently has 311 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 30 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for these renovations. Board Action Request: Approval of an initial resolution to accept the application, and schedule a public hearing as benefits exceed $100,000. The application for the expansion project includes a sales tax exemption ($240,000) and property tax abatement on the incremental increase in assessed value ($243,396). Historical Look: The last expansion project that Graham undertook and the GCEDC assisted was in 2011. At the time, Graham had 278 FTE’s and pledged 30 new jobs in three years for a total of 308 FTEs. According to its 2013 application the company has exceeded its employment goals and plans to keep growing.

2. (GCEDC) Proposed sales tax and mortgage tax exemption and property tax abatement -- Guthrie Heli-Arc, Inc. 
Guthrie Heli-Arc, Inc., is a federally certified repair facility for transportation vessels. For the past 22 years its has operated out of a rented facility in Bergen. That facility has been sold, and the lease will terminate. CLR Industries, LLC, real estate holding company, has purchased a facility at 6276 Clinton Street Road in Stafford. The company plans on moving into the Stafford facility after a 7200-square-foot addition to the existing structure is completed. The addition is necessary to accommodate workflow. Board Action Request: Approval of a final resolution to approve incentives for the proposed project. The application for the expansion project includes a sales tax ($14,400) and mortgage tax exemption ($3,750) and property tax abatement on the incremental increase in assessed value ($58,902).

3. (GCEDC) Proposed RLF  for business expansion Pellegrino Auto Sales
The company is seeking a 16’x48’ expansion to the current facility and office renovation of 12’x38' at 4060 Pearl Street Road in the Town of Batavia. This will allow for three times the office space for future growth. The company is investing $150,000 and pledging 2.5 FTEs and retaining 5.5 FTEs. Board Action Request: Approval of a $75,000 from the revolving loan fund.

4. (GGLDC) Proposed RLF from the Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund -- Jackson Square, LLC.
The former Carr's warehouse was built around 1880 in what is today known as Jackson Square. The company is looking to convert the former warehouse into a mixed-use, commercial and residential site. The ground floor will have flex office/light industrial and four new market rate apartments on the second and third floors. The City of Batavia is current owner of building and will transfer the title to the Batavia Development Corporation for sale to 13 Jackson Square, LLC. It is our understanding that the City of Batavia is looking to assist the project with its 485-A real property tax exemption. Board Action Request: Approval of a $100,000 from Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund. Historical look: Board approved final resolution in July 2013 for sales tax ($24,816) and mortgage tax exemption ($2,994) contingent upon 13 Jackson Square, LLC, purchasing the building.

July 31, 2013 - 10:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, graham corp., Guthrie Heli-Arc.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two projects at its Aug. 1 board meeting. The board anticipates reviewing two revolving loan fund applications at this meeting as well.

Graham Corporation is seeking sales and property tax abatement for an expansion of its existing facilities. A new bay will be constructed (12,439 square feet) that will enclose the area between two manufacturing bays facing Harvester Avenue along with renovations of office and manufacturing areas. In addition, a new building (3,800 square feet) will be constructed on the 20 Florence St. property. This new building will be used for X-ray inspections of welds done during the fabrication process.

The total capital investment of the project is estimated to be approximately $5,500,000, with the proposed tax incentives contributing $483,396. Graham currently has 311 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 30 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for these renovations.

The estimated economic impact of the project is 17.30:1. For every dollar of tax relief granted, the company will invest $17.30 into the local economy. Because the proposed incentives exceed $100,000, the board will first consider an initial resolution to be followed by a public hearing.   

The last expansion project that Graham undertook – also with assistance from the GCEDC – was in 2011. At the time Graham had 278 FTEs and pledged 30 new jobs in three years for a total of 308 FTEs. According to its 2013 application, the company has exceeded its employment goals and plans to continue growing.

Guthrie Heli-Arc, a federally certified repair facility for transportation vehicles, is seeking sales and mortgage tax exemption and property tax abatement for an expansion and relocation project. For the past 22 years, the company has operated out of a rented facility in Bergen. That facility has been sold, and their lease will terminate. CLR Industries, LLC, a real estate holding company, has purchased a facility at 6276 Clinton Street Road in Stafford. Guthrie Heli-Arc plans on moving into the Stafford facility after a 7200-square-foot addition to the existing structure is completed. The addition is necessary to accommodate workflow.

The total capital investment of the project is estimated to be approximately $300,000, with the proposed tax incentives contributing $77,052. Guthrie Heli-Arc estimates that the project will allow the company to create two new jobs while retaining six others. The estimated economic impact of the project is 9.4:1. For every dollar of tax relief granted, the company will invest $9.40 into the local economy. 

All GCEDC Board meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on the second floor of the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park, located at 99 MedTech Drive in the Town of Batavia, across from Genesee Community College. The meeting is anticipated to convene at 4 p.m.

July 30, 2013 - 2:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) is offering a second round of applications for its Food Processing Training Program. The program provides individuals with a certification to work in the food-processing industry, including the yogurt companies in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The deadline for submitting applications is Sept. 1.

Up to 25 individuals will be accepted for the class. Members from first graduating class are already working at local companies.

Applications can be picked up at the Genesee County Career Center at 587 E. Main St., Suite 100, Eastown Plaza in Batavia. The application also is available at the GCEDC Web site <http://www.gcedc.com>. Applicants also will need to complete a Customer Registration Form as well as submit an up-to-date resume with their application.

“We want to build off the success of the first graduating class and get as many applications submitted as possible in order to enhance the talent pool of individuals with the skills to work and be successful in the food processing industry,” said GCEDC Chairman Charlie Cook.

The training program is being funded by an Area Development grant obtained by the GCEDC from the National Fuel Gas Corporation with additional financial support from the Finger Lakes Food Cluster Initiative — funded by the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration in the amount of $38,000 or 28 percent of the program.

In addition to receiving a non-credit certificate and certificates in Team Building and OSHA Safety in a Manufacturing Environment from Genesee Community College, participants will receive certificates in Lean Systems Six Sigma Yellow Belt (Rochester Institute of Technology) and Basic Dairy Science & Sanitation Certificate (Cornell University).

“Our goal is to increase the 78 applications we received for the first class and we were encouraged that we received so many applications from outside of Genesee County,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “It shows that the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is a regional economic asset and that people are willing to travel for good jobs.”

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