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July 15, 2016 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) authorized a public hearing for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, at the agency’s July 14 board meeting. The hearing is required as the company is seeking incentives over $100,000.

Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, plans to expand beyond its West Seneca location and build a second site on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will involve construction of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center that will create 30 new full-time jobs. The new location will be built along the New York State thruway near the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership campus.

The company is seeking approval for $437,652 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total approximately $4.35 million.

“This is a significant investment being made in our community that will create new jobs and help continue the economic growth of our region,” said Paul Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC Board of Directors.

July 12, 2016 - 8:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business, news.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider projects for Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, and CH4 Biogas (Genesee Biogas) at its July 14 board meeting.

Freightliner & Western Star of Batavia, LLC, is submitting an application in order to expand its operations, building a second location on State Street Road in the Town of Batavia. The project will include construction of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and service center. The company will make a capital investment of approximately $4.35 million resulting in 30 full-time employees.

Ch4 Biogas (Genesee Biogas) plans to design, build and operate a biogas plant to support the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, which will convert organic waste produced by agricultural and food processors into renewable energy. The project will include installation of top-of-the-line equipment and technology to help the Finger Lakes Region reach its sustainability goals. The company’s capital investment will total approximately $19.25 million and create six jobs.

The GCEDC Board meeting will take place at 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Meetings are held at the Innovation Zone Conference Room at MedTech Centre -- 99 MedTech Drive, Batavia, on the first floor, across from Genesee Community College.

June 2, 2016 - 4:41pm

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A roomful of business and community leaders heard today from Vincent Esposito, director of Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes regional office, as he talked about the economic development opportunity and effort both regionally and in Batavia.

The gathering comes prior to meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall were officials will discuss Batavia's application for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which is a regional competiton with a $10 million prize. CORRECTION: It's at 5:30 p.m., Monday, at the Generation Center.

Batavia has a good shot at the prize because of all the work already put into improving Downtown, most notably the Batavia Opportunity Area, which has 10 brownfield revitalization projects already in the pipeline.

The Finger Lakes Region has already been a big winner in a statewide competition fro regional economic development areas, receiving a grant of $500 million from the state for projects in the region.

There are three main areas of focus for those funds, Esposito said:

  • Eastman Park in Rochester;
  • Downtown Rochester; and,
  • The STAMP project in Genesee County.

About 50 percent of the $500 million are going to projects in Monroe County, Esposito said, and the rest is spread out in the other county's in the region; however, about two-thirds of that 50 percent is going to Genesee County, he said.

The primary goals of the Finger Lakes regional office is job creation, regional wealth creation, increase private investment and reduce poverty.

In the past five years, economic development activity has created 20,000 new jobs, he said.

The projects expected over the next five years, he said, will result in $6.4 billion in private investments and a conservative estimate of 8,200 new jobs.

"We want to keep that commitment low and then over deliver," he said.

The main economic engines in growth for the region he said are optics/photonics, agriculture and food processing and high-tech wafer and chip manufacturing.

The third area is where GCEDC's STAMP project comes in and why it's attracting a big chunk of the funds from the Finger Lakes Region.

"If ever there was a time to be optimistic about your future, this is it," Esposito said.

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May 25, 2016 - 4:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Milestones, Steve Hyde, GCEDC.

Press release:

Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), has been named chairman of the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC). It is the state's largest economic development organization.

Hyde was elected to a two-year term during NYSEDC’s annual meeting in Cooperstown today (May 25). Hyde and the GCEDC have been members of the NYSEDC since 2004. 

The New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC) is the state’s principal organization representing economic development professionals, businesses and colleges and universities for more than 40 years. NYSEDC promotes the economic development of the state and its communities and encourages sound practices in the conduct of local, regional and statewide development programs, as well as develops education programs that enhance the professional development skills of NYSEDC members.

“Steve Hyde has outstanding private and public sector experience and leadership and his record of success in Genesee County will serve NYSEDC well during his term as Chair,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of NYSEDC.      

As president and CEO of GCEDC, Hyde has played a critical role in generating more than $1 billion in new investment in Genesee County through the years, resulting in thousands of new jobs and unprecedented economic development growth.

One of the most notable economic development accomplishments to date is the 1,250-acre Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the town of Alabama, which is expected to generate thousands of jobs in the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in October 2015 the first tenant at STAMP – 1366 Technologies, which plans to build a state-of-the art solar wafer manufacturing facility creating approximately 1,000 new jobs over the next few years. 

“I have been very fortunate to work with some great public and private sector organizations in Genesee County which has resulted in me having the opportunity to serve as Chairman of NYSEDC,” Hyde said. “This opportunity will allow me to collaborate closely with various economic development leaders across New York State to create a more favorable climate for business growth and the retention and creation of jobs and private sector investment.”

Hyde holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. in finance, sales and marketing from Rochester Institute of Technology. He resides in the City of Batavia with his wife, Joann.

May 17, 2016 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Farming, agriculture, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) in conjunction with Empire State Development has created a new revolving loan program to assist the agricultural industry in the Finger Lakes Region.

“Growing the Agriculture Industry Now” (GAIN) Revolving Loan Program is an initiative to capitalize local agricultural businesses that are using new technologies and expanding operations.

Through funding provided  by Empire State Development, the program will provide loans to qualifying businesses in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties all of which are in the top 10 agricultural counties in New York State.

“Growing our agriculture and food processing industry is one of the utmost priorities of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) as it represents a crucial part of the region’s economy,” stated FLREDC Co-Chairs, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman.

“GAIN’s revolving loan pool to support the capital needs of agriculture and food processing companies, including new technology, diversification and expansion, will further advance the needs of the industry.”

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture (2012), farm-gate sales throughout the region totaled $1.6 billion, comprising 30 percent of statewide farm sales, with food processing and other support businesses as additional multipliers.

"Genesee County is one of the top ten agricultural regions in New York State," said State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer. "This new loan program will help to support our hardworking farmers, giving them a better chance at growing their business and our local economy. By supporting our farmers, we all can continue to enjoy fresh, local and quality food."

“As the former owner and operator of our family farm, I am always eager to help New York’s farmers and agriculture industry,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia). “In a profession where profits are not guaranteed year to year and weather can wreak havoc on products, our small farms need all the help they can get.

"I am excited to announce that the Growing our Agriculture Industry Now (GAIN) Loan Fund is available. The loan pool will help fund capital projects that foster job creation, renewable energy creation, farm diversification, and investment in technologies, among other things. I look forward to spreading the word about this tremendous opportunity and helping local farmers succeed at their craft.”

The GAIN revolving loan program will give priority to agricultural and related business projects, including food processing and operating farms, which support job creation and job retention, as well as farm diversification (i.e., participate in farm-based retail & wholesale markets).

The program will also support businesses that invest in new technology, including renewable energy projects and new processing equipment, as well as ones that demonstrate growth in net revenue for agriculture enterprises; leverage other sources of funding; and provide secondary economic multipliers (i.e., business expansions).

“This is another example of the ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “While we are excited about advanced manufacturing opportunities such as STAMP we also cannot forget that the foundation of our regional economy is the agricultural sector.”

Those interested in learning more about the application process and the program can contact Chris Suozzi, GCEDC V.P. of Business Development, at (585) 343-4866 or [email protected].

For more information about the program, visit http://www.gcedc.com/pdf/marketing/Gain%20Loan%20Fund%20Brochure.pdf

May 3, 2016 - 8:26am

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider an expansion project for Alpina Foods, Inc., at its May 5 board meeting.

Alpina Foods, Inc., is planning to construct a 3,200-square-foot addition to its existing facility in Batavia to accommodate space for a new bottle-filling machine and packaging equipment for a new drinkable yogurt product.

The company’s investment will total more than $1.1 million in the drinkable yogurt line, resulting in the retention of 23 current full-time employees.

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

April 13, 2016 - 11:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, business, GCEDC, STAMP, news.

Press release:

Hanwha Q CELLS Co., Ltd., (“Hanwha Q CELLS”) (NASDAQ: HQCL) and 1366 Technologies, Inc., (“1366”) today announced that they have entered into a supply agreement in which 1366 will supply up to 700 MW of wafers using 1366’s proprietary Direct Wafer™ technology to Hanwha Q CELLS over a five-year period.

This deal follows a year-long strategic partnership and collaborative R&D efforts to commercialize 1366’s Direct Wafer™ technology with Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM cell technology. 1366 will supply the wafers from its planned U.S. manufacturing facility in New York State, scheduled to be online in 2017.

The agreement ensues months of intense technical collaboration between the two companies during which a series of performance records for the Direct Wafer™ technology were achieved. Hanwha Q CELLS and 1366 jointly reached a maximum efficiency of 19.1% using Direct Wafer™products in Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM cell, as independently verified by the Fraunhofer ISE.

“This agreement with one of the world’s most respected and innovative solar manufacturers is, no doubt, a significant milestone for our business. It further demonstrates the compelling capabilities of the Direct Wafer™ technology and the readiness of this innovation, and establishes its long-term bearing on the industry,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO of 1366 Technologies. “We’ve found a strong partner, Hanwha Q CELLS, and we are extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished together.”

“This agreement aligns with our continuing efforts to bring about world leading technologies that enable solar energy to be more competitive and more affordable,” commented Seong-woo Nam, CEO of Hanwha Q CELLS.  “We are pleased with the progress we have made together during the past year and excited about the potential of 1366’s Direct Wafer™ products with Hanwha’s cell and module technologies to deliver further cost reductions and LCOE competitiveness to standard multi-crystalline wafer-based modules.”

Provided that 1366 meets certain terms and conditions related to its wafer qualification and timing of delivery as agreed by both parties, Hanwha Q CELLS’s commitment to purchase up to 700 MW of wafers over a period of five years will commence.

1366’s Direct Wafer technology is a transformative manufacturing process that offers significant advantages over traditional cast-and-saw wafer production technologies. The process makes wafers in a single step, pulling them directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multi-step, energy- and capital-intensive approach, resulting in significant wafer production cost savings.

Hanwha Q CELLS' Q.ANTUM technology is based on PERC (Passivated Emitter Rear Cell) architecture and includes many additional technological features for maximum energy yield under real conditions. Q.ANTUM significantly enhances power output, low-light and temperature-behavior, while at the same time offering all of Hanwha Q CELLS' VDE certified quality standards like Anti-PID protection, Hot-spot protect, and Tra.Q laser marking.

Additional Note: Hanwha was part of a Series C funding round in 2010 that raised $20 million in venture capital to back 1366 Technologies. It was announced at that time that Hanwha planned to become a 1366 customer once production began. The latest available information online indicates that 1366 has raised more than $70 million from private investors.

March 4, 2016 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC, business, news.

gcedcannual2016.jpg

gcedcannual2016-2.jpgWhen the 1366 Technologies plant opens in Alabama in 2017, it will be profitable on the first day of operation, Brian Eller, VP of manufacturing, revealed today during the annual meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center at Batavia Downs.

The solar wafer manufacturer has recently completed contracts with solar panel manufacturers that will fulfill orders for 60 percent of plant's production capacity, Eller said.

"This is part of the steady, deliberate process," Eller said. "We keep knocking them off to reduce the risk to the business, because if you sell everything before you start, then you execute, you don't have to go to market and figure out your market."

Eller was the keynote speaker for the annual meeting, which was attended by more than 350 people.

During his 20-minute presentation, Eller described the methodical approach 1366 Technologies has taken to build its business and the foundation for success. It's a classic start-up model: Begin with a prototype product and get it to market and see how it does, concentrate on a single product, then target a niche of customers, then scale your production once you're ready to reach a market with the potential to achieve substantial returns on investment.

The company was founded in 2008 in Bedford, Mass., where it set up a small, prototype plant to test its proprietary process for manufacturing silicon wafer chips for solar panels. That plant has produced and the company has sold thousands of wafers.

With the process established, 1366 began looking for a site appropriate for its business, settling on Alabama and GCEDC's STAMP project because of the promising local workforce, proximity to universities and the availability of clean, hydro energy.

"One of STAMP's strengths is the talent pool in the region," Eller said. “You know, the thing about changing the world is you need skilled people around you."

The company is planning a $700 million investment in its new facility, to be constructed on about 8 percent of the 12,500-acre WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. STAMP is the brainchild of Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC. The center is assisting in the project with tax abatements worth a potential $97 million over 10 years. The state and federal government have also pledged millions for infrastructure at the project site, which GCEDC and regional economic development agencies are working to fill with other high-tech manufacturers.

When the plant is at full capacity -- producing enough wafers each year to provide three gigawatts of electricity -- it will employ 1,000 people. In the near term, 1366 will hire 150 people, though Eller said there isn't a timeline on the hiring process yet. The company is still in the process of hiring consultants, planners, architects and engineers.

Eller did promise the development process will be public and transparent and that all who compete for contracts on the project will do so on a level playing field.

Eller is full of confidence that 1366 will revolutionize solar technology.

"Our process slashes the cost of making the wafer in half and in doing so drastically reduces the cost of solar energy," Eller said. "Those reductions, well, they accelerate adoption. We believe solar will be ubiquitous. It will displace coal as the cheapest fuel source on the planet."

The current process, which the industry has used for nearly four decades, requires multiple steps, using several machines and takes days. The 1366 process involves one machine that will produce a new wafer every 20 seconds.

The technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Instead of cutting and grinding solar ingots into flat wafers, which takes energy and produces waste, the 1366 process melts the silicon and floats it into thin layers that harden into silicon wafers.

Eller compared it to the Pilkington float glass process developed in the 1950s and still the process used today for manufacturing flat glass.

"Manufacturing process innovations like ours have true staying power," Eller said. "They simply don’t come along every day."

The solar industry is booming the world over.

Last year, 59 gigawatts of new solar capacity was brought online. That's the result of 240 million solar panels being produced. Eller said that's a big number, so to help understand it, he said, that's more electrical capacity than needed for a year by the entire State of New York.

"We make the most expensive part of the solar panel for half the cost," Eller said. "That was a hard problem to solve, but we've done it. Now we're free to pursue an $8 billion and growing solar market without distraction."

Eller acknowledged that there has been some bad news in the solar industry in recent years, with companies going under or changing directions, but Eller said the slow and deliberate process 1366 has pursued to build the company puts it in a position to succeed.

"The industry consists of exceptional businesses, both established and new, that are efficient, innovative and motivated," Eller said. "To be young in solar is not without its challenges and we are aware of other companies in solar that struggled to compete globally, focused on the wrong technologies or just simply scaled too quickly," Eller said. "We are focused on bringing a highly innovative product to market with deliberate and steady progress."

CLARIFICATIONS:

The folks at 1366 asked us to clarify, by "Day 1," they mean when the first plant is at full production, not the day the plant doors open. There will be a three- or four-month ramp up period to bring the plant up to production levels, which includes hiring and training workers.

Also, in reference to the amount of power from last year's productions of solar panels, we misunderstood.  It's not enough electricity to power of all of New York. It's enough for all New York households.

For prior coverage of 1366 Technologies, click here.

gcedcannual2016-3.jpg

Above, silicon nuggets. Silicon is produced from super heating silica, commonly found in sand, but also found in clay and rock (it's the most common mineral on the planet). When 1366 started to develop its process, silicon was still not a common wafer ingredient, but now 90 percent of all solar wafers manufactured today use silicon.

gcedcannual2016-4.jpg

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer (above) and Assemblyman Steve Hawley (below) both spoke briefly and praised and thanked each other for their united effort to help provide the legislative support to bring 1366 to STAMP.

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Steve Hyde.

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Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature.

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GCEDC presented an Economic Development Award to the Batavia Development Corp., represented by Ray Chaya, the City of Batavia, Eugene Jankowski, and the Town of Batavia, Patti Michalak. Steve Hyde, back row, and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia to the right.

March 4, 2016 - 10:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia, Darien, darien lake theme park.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved a final resolution for an application for assistance from Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, as well as an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc.’s Koolatron project, at its March 3 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort will add two new attractions in time for its 2016 operating season, including a six-flume water slide and a roller coaster train. The new attractions are part of the company’s 2016 Tourism Destination Project aimed to enhance visitor experience.

The company was approved for a sales tax exemption of $189,200 and the project’s planned capital investment will total an estimated $2.8 million.

“We are very pleased to have such tremendous support from the GCEDC in our efforts to offer guests the highest quality, most memorable visitor experiences,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager, Darien Lake. “GCEDC’s investment in our 2016 Tourism Destination Project will help us remain one of the Northeast’s most attractive tourist attractions.”

“As one of Genesee County’s largest employers, Darien Lake is one of the most powerful economic contributors to our local economy, providing over 400 full-time equivalent jobs and approximately 2,000 seasonal positions each year,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman. “The GCEDC remains committed to investing in projects that will enhance the park and allow it to continue serving as one of our region’s most popular tourist destinations.”

In addition, the GCEDC board approved an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc., which provides distribution services to the United States for Koolatron Corporation, a Canadian-based manufacturer of consumer goods. Koolatron’s distribution center has operated in Batavia since 1979 and plans to add 25,000 square feet to its existing 45,000-square-foot facility in order to increase production and expand its global footprint.

The company was approved to receive a total of $172,096 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The capital investment for the project is approximately $750,000. Since the company is receiving incentives of more than $100,000 there will be a public hearing at a time, date and location to be determined.

March 2, 2016 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news, darien lake theme park resort.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider a final resolution for Darien Lake Theme Park Resort’s Tourism Destination Project as well as an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc.’s Koolatron project, at its March 3 board meeting.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort is planning to add two new park attractions, including a six-flume water slide and new roller coaster train for its 2016 operating season. The projected capital investment for both park projects is approximately $2.8 million. The company is seeking a total of $189,200 in sales tax exemptions for the construction and installation of the new rides and enhancements.

The board will also consider an initial resolution for Mega Properties, Inc., which provides distribution services to the United States for Koolatron Corporation, a Canadian-based manufacturer of consumer goods. The company’s distribution center has operated in Batavia since 1979 and plans to add 25,000 square feet to its existing facility in order to increase production.

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

February 26, 2016 - 1:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, batavia, news, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC.

Press release:

Brian Eller, COO of 1366 Technologies, the Massachusetts-based solar company and first tenant of the Town of Alabama's STAMP (Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park), will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) on Friday, March 4, at Batavia Downs.

Registration and networking begins at 11:30 a.m. and the event will conclude at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Other speakers include: 

·         New York State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer;

·         New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley;

·         Genesee County Legislature Chairman Raymond Cianfini;

·         Tom Kucharski, president and CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise; 

·         Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman; and,

·         Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC

“We are excited to welcome Brian Eller of 1366 Technologies to speak at our annual meeting as the company invests its capital and resources right here in Genesee County, which is expected to create approximately 1,000 new jobs,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO.

“We look forward to celebrating the future economic impact of 1366 Technologies in our region, as well as recognizing our many public and private sector partners who have made played a critical role in helping us grow our local economy within the past year.”  

The GCEDC will unveil its 2015 report and announce the recipient of the annual Economic Development Partner of the Year Award.

Tickets cannot be purchased at the door, and seating is limited. For more information or to register please contact Rachael Tabelski at 585-343-4866or at [email protected].

February 8, 2016 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC.

The annual meeting and luncheon of the Genesee County Economic Development Center is planned from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4, at Batavia Downs in the Paddock Room. Cost is $20.

Keynote speaker is Brian Eller, COO of 1366 Technologies. Honored guests planning to attend are Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Steve Hawley and GC Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini.

This is an excellent opportunity to network with economic and elected leaders from around the region and get an exclusive preview of what the economic landscape holds this year.

The year 2015 of a landmark year for Genesee County and the meeting will feature highlights from it.

Please register in advance by contacting Rachel Tabelski, GCEDC Marketing & Communications director, at: [email protected] or by phoning her at 343-4866, ext. 12.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

February 4, 2016 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, pathway to prosperity, business, bdc, GCEDC.

A plan hatched by the City, the Batavia Development Corp. and the Genesee County Economic Development Center to redirect some money generated by economic development into brownfield area cleanup received the support Wednesday of the county's Ways and Means Committee.

The committee approval means the proposal will be voted on by the full County Legislature at its next meeting.

The plan, unique in the state, called Batavia Pathway to Prosperity, will create a fund from PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments that can be used for environmental clean up on properties within the city's brownfield opportunity area, a 366-acre designation covering the city's core.

A PILOT provides a business undertaking local economic development (creating jobs, increasing the tax base, adding to local economic growth) with a break in taxes for the increase in assessed value on the property being developed. Typically, if a business puts a new building on vacant land or adds onto an existing building, the assessed value of the property will increase, which means higher property taxes paid to the city (town or village), school district and county. A PILOT reduces those taxes in exchange for payments to the taxing jurisdictions. The payments could be in the range of 70 percent of what the increase in taxes would have been without the PILOT. The property owner still pays 100 percent of the taxes on the original assessed value. PILOTs typically run for 10 years on a graduated scale, with property taxes due increasing every two years over the life of the PILOT.

The new program would redirect half of the PILOT payments from projects in the city to an investment fund (a PIF) that would be available to property owners in the future who wish to redevelopment brownfield properties and need assistance with the environmental cleanup.

"This creates a fund that gives the BDC and the EDC working together and providing collective oversight the opportunity to look at broad range investment opportunities," said Steve Hyde, CEO of the GCEDC. "(The projects) still have to be for the public good, but (the property owner) can turn around and maybe do some creative financing type of things to really move some property and get them redeveloped and start to heal the poverty and blight down in our core."

Marianne Clattenberg, now a legislator but a former City Council president, said the city has needed something like this for a long time, but had other problems to solve first before something forward-looking could be brought to the table.

"We knew going in we could never do this by ourselves, that we needed partners and we needed to have everybody on board and engaged to bring the city back to where it needs to be," Clattenberg said. 

County Manager Jay Gsell said a program like this could spark a renaissance in the city.

"The need is unique and this is the kind of structural financing that gives the adroitness necessary to having this kind of money available," Gsell said.

The committee also approved a city plan to provide tax relief on so-called zombie properties. The program would provide a PILOT-like tax abatement on the increase in assessed value of a home that is currently vacant and has been vacant for some time that a person buys, renovates and then lives in. While the abatement isn't available to an investor who buys a zombie house, fixes it up and then rents it out, the abatement could be available to the next owner if that same investor fixes it up and then sells it to an owner-occupant. 

There are 50 to 60 such zombie properties in the city, not all of which can be saved, but some retain some value and could be renovated. The property must be single family, or converted to a single-family residence.

Hyde said the two programs together are the sort of thing that can spur economic development in the city's core and attract the Millennials who will be taking jobs at STAMP (Alabama's Science and Technology Manufacturing Park) to the city.

February 3, 2016 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pathway to prosperity, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

Officials from the City of Batavia and the Batavia Development Corporation will make a presentation to the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) at the agency’s Feb. 4 board meeting. The GCEDC Board of Directors is considering entering into an inter-municipal agreement to assist with the funding of new development projects in the City of Batavia.

The presentation will include an overview of the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (B2P) program and its role in leveraging economic development activity through a PILOT increment financing (PIF) initiative; strategies for redeveloping the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) sites; attracting new employers and jobs; increasing property values; and, exploring key market opportunities in the City of Batavia.

In addition to the presentation, the board will consider the acceptance of an application to set a public hearing for Darien Lake Theme Park Resort’s 2016 Tourism Destination Project. Darien Lake’s new project includes a six-flume waterslide and a new roller coaster train.

The total request for incentives for the Darien Lake project is $189,200 in sales tax exemptions for the construction and equipping of the new rides and enhancements. The total capital investment for both park projects is approximately $2.8 million.

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

December 29, 2015 - 5:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, Alabama, business, GCEDC.

Here's a portion of a press release from Empire State Development about a series of grants recently approved.

Empire State Development today announced that its Board of Directors recently approved $101.1 million in economic development resources for 23 projects that are spurring growth and opportunity in every region of the state. The funding supports projects that are creating 634 new jobs and retaining 1,531 existing New York State jobs – many of which have already been created or retained. The approved assistance is leveraging more than $822 million in private investment and other public funding to support local businesses and projects that are strengthening local economies today, while building a strong foundation for future economic growth and job creation.

“The funding approved by the Board is supporting regionally significant projects that are fostering growth and creating new opportunities statewide,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Whether it’s by aiding business expansion and retention, supporting local revitalization projects, or bolstering regional tourism, the funding approved today will boost economic activity from New York City to the Finger Lakes.”

...

Finger Lakes Region 
Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing (Finger Lakes Region - Genesee County) – $5,000,000
The Genesee County Industrial Development Agency, doing business as Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), will use a grant of up to $5,000,000 for the cost of land acquisition,  engineering, and soft costs related to infrastructure development for 1366 Technologies, Inc., the first tenant of the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in Alabama, NY. 1366 Technologies is a solar energy company with an innovative approach to manufacturing the silicon wafers that are the building block of solar cells. The company chose the STAMP site out of 300 possible locations due to the site’s positive momentum and commitment to growing manufacturing interests. This project will be completed in August 2016 and aligns with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s plan in that it supports advanced technology and manufacturing and is identified as key to the region in the Industrial Development and Infrastructure category. 

December 18, 2015 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) authorized a public hearing for 1366 Technologies, Inc., and approved a final resolution for an amendment to an original application for assistance from Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., at the agency’s Dec. 17 board meeting.

1366 Technologies, Inc., plans to build its first commercial Direct Wafer™ production plant at the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama.

The project includes the construction of a new 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that will grow to eventually create 1,000 full-time jobs and approximately another 5,000 construction and indirect and induced jobs. The total economic impact is preliminarily estimated to be in the range of $1.5 billion over the next 10 years.

1366 Technologies, Inc., is seeking approval for approximately $34.7 million in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions. The planned capital investment will total approximately $700 million.

“As the largest economic development project in the history of Genesee County, 1366 Technologies will undoubtedly be a game changer in establishing our region as a major high-tech manufacturing hub,” said GCEDC Chairman Paul Battaglia. “This project also will create hundreds of manufacturing jobs and indirect supply chain jobs not to mention hundreds of jobs throughout the construction process.”

The GCEDC board also approved amended incentives for Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc., a well-known general contractor in Finger Lakes and Western New York regions. The company will expand its corporate offices and maintenance facilities in the Town of Batavia by up to 5,000 square feet, as well as renovate its existing shop and office space.

The project was approved for sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax exemptions totaling $215,529 in incentives. The project’s capital investment is approximately $2.2 million.

“We are pleased to see continued investments being made to improve the facilities of existing companies like Manning Squires Hennig in the Town of Batavia,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC. “We remain committed to help existing businesses in the County expand their operations in our ongoing efforts to enhance the business climate throughout the region.”

In other agency business, the board approved a 2-percent salary increase for all GCEDC staff for 2016, as well as an increase for the GCEDC office manager.

December 10, 2015 - 5:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Muller Quaker Dairy, GCEDC, batavia, business.

It's a tough time of the year for people to lose jobs, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee Economic Development Center, but there is a silver lining on the dark clouds hanging over the Quaker Muller Dairy Plant.

A large dairy processing organization is close to closing a deal to purchase 320,000-square-foot plant, which cost PepsiCo and Muller Group an estimated $200 million to build. 

"We expect it won't take long and they will employ lots of folks," Hyde said. "Probably more than Muller Quaker and it will be good for Western New York dairy farmers."

While details of the plant closing are not available, some sources indicate it won't close immediately, even so, right before Christmas is a hard time to hear you might be out of a job soon, Hyde acknowledged.

"It is a sad day, especially this time of year, and we're all very sad about it, but there is a silver lining," Hyde said.

The GCEDC is already working with the Job Bureau to find suitable replacement jobs for Muller Quaker employees, along with job search assistance and transition training, Hyde said. There may be a job fair to assist workers. Hyde noted there are a lot of local job openings right now.

While Pepsi and Muller made a substantial investment in the plant, they did so with the backing of the state and the local IDA. The state promised Pepsi/Muller some $14 million in tax credits, but those tax credits were contingent on meeting specific job creation goals.

Quaker Muller never went beyond its Phase I goals, which was a bit less than 200 jobs, Hyde said, so the company received "only a fraction" of the anticipated tax credits though Hyde did not have the exact amount of tax credits awarded immediately available.

The project was also eligible for $11 million in tax abatements related to the improvement of the former farm field, mostly in the form of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes on the increase in assessed value. Such tax abatements are not a direct subsidy but are only realized if the project is built and the property tax assessment goes up. The next owner, assuming there is one, will inherit the PILOT.

There were also federal grants that have gone into the creation of Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park that did not directly benefit Quaker Muller, but provided infrastructure, such as sewer and roads, to make the plant construction possible.

Hyde said it's impossible to say, at this point, when this dairy processing organization might complete its acquisition of the plant, but he is optimistic the deal will go through. 

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: Empire State Development has issued the following statement: “Empire State Development will be working with the new plant owner, DFA (Dairy Farmers of America), to restart operations soon.”

UPDATE 6:20 p.m.: Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he was briefed on the plant closing last night and only recently learned of DFA's purchase plans. He's hoping DFA will rehire the displaced Muller workers. "I'm not sure what the future holds, but we're moving forward and I hope this shutdown is short term." 

UPDATE: Statement from DFA: "DFA has agreed to acquire the Muller-Quaker Dairy Plant in Batavia, NY. The acquisition is a strategic one for DFA as it is in an important milkshed for us. This facility creates multiple potential milk handling and dairy manufacturing opportunities. We are currently exploring these."

Previously: Developing: Muller Quaker plant reportedly closing

October 30, 2015 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, GGLDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2016 at its board meeting today with anticipated cash outflows of $2.4 million. Funding will be realized primarily through grant revenue (restricted to the project for which the funding was awarded), rents and loan repayments. 

Major sources of revenue includes a $750,000 grant from the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal program for the p.w. minor project and the remaining balance of a $200,000 grant from New York State Empire State Development. The balance of the ESD grant will be used for the development of the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP). 

Rent revenue of $672,000 will be generated from the MedTech Centre facility and common area maintenance fees from the Buffalo East Tech Park and Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag-Park). In addition, $672,200 in revenue will be received through the Empire Pipeline PILOT Increment Financing (PIF) and grant revenue from the United States Economic Development Administration that is restricted to support development at the Ag-Park.  

Additional revenues include $14,000 in grants from National Grid and $498,600 in principal and interest payments from several different companies for loans made in previous years.

Anticipated 2016 expenditures include the distribution of the state grant to support the p.w. minor project and building maintenance, an economic development program support grant, professional services and site/corporate park maintenance.

In 2015 the GGLDC made progress on a number of projects including: the widening of Route 63 to support commerce in the Ag-Park; assisting Bergen and Le Roy in securing an America’s Best Communities grant to create an economic development revitalization plan; and, completed enhancements to Buffalo East Tech Park, including roadway installation and improvements to the Route 5 entrance. The improvements at the Buffalo East Tech Park enabled the construction of Yancey’s Fancy new $20.6 million facility. 

“Thanks to the County’s assistance and our funding partners, the GGLDC has been successful in completing many projects,” said Thomas H. Felton, chairman of the GGLDC Board of Directors. “We continue to see significant attention from new businesses interested in locating in our County, and we are excited to work with our partners to bring new jobs and investment here.”

October 21, 2015 - 4:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

From Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center:

As we take a collective breath from this month’s exhilarating announcement about 1366 Technologies becoming the first tenant at the Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama, we can look back as a community and realize what a magnificent accomplishment this is for Genesee County.

Governor Cuomo’s announcement created a buzz unlike anything we have experienced in recent times; and why not – the first tenant at STAMP is the largest economic development project in the County’s history. It triggers the first phase of what we believe will be a transformative economic development game changer for the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions for generations to come.

The public and private sector support throughout the 10 years to bring STAMP from a concept to this first development has been building steadily. This support gained steam and momentum especially over the last 24 months when it became a crescendo after a coalition of local and state government officials, organized labor, regional business and economic development agencies, higher education and others helped secure $33 million in the state budget as part of the Fiscal 2014-2015 budget deliberations last year.

Like any effort of this magnitude, you need a solid foundation of support, or else the effort crumbles. The foundation for STAMP was built at the local level and in particular the annual funding provided to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) by Genesee County. This foundation was further enhanced and enabled through the longtime support of the Town of Alabama.

Last week the Governor and other state leaders as well as local and regional elected officials, regional economic development partners and others from the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan regions came to Batavia to celebrate this monumental achievement. I wanted to take this opportunity on behalf of the GCEDC Board and staff to thank the Town of Alabama for its steadfast support of our efforts to make STAMP a reality. 

From the town’s representatives in the state legislature, Senator Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Hawley, to Genesee County Legislative Chairman Ray Cianfrini to the members of the town board: Supervisor Dan Mangino, Deputy Supervisor Janet Sage, Council members Bill Cleveland, Pam LaGrou, Kevin Fisher and Planning Board Chair Ron Gilbert – thank you! The work of the town was further enhanced through the participation of town officials Sage, Fisher and Gilbert on their STAMP Committee.

It also should be noted that elected officials represent the interests of the constituents in the communities they represent. In this regard, the town has been extremely forthcoming in sharing information about STAMP to residents. These meetings also have provided town residents a forum to provide their feedback and comments. It is a process that we look forward to continue to work with the town on now and in the future as we move to implement our first project on the STAMP campus.

There is an old saying that local government is where the rubber meets the road. In this instance, local government in the Town of Alabama is where the silicon meets the solar wafer.

October 21, 2015 - 3:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, oakfield-alabama, schools, education.

oastemoct202015.jpg

Before the start of the school year, John Ioge figured he was interested in a career in civil engineering, maybe mechanical engineering or perhaps the medical field or even teaching. Whatever it was, he figured he would eventually wind up in a job far from home.

Now, the sophomore at Oakfield-Alabama is honing in on a career in mechanical engineering and feeling pretty certain he will be able to find work in Genesee County.

The developments recently with WNY STAMP as well as a new course at O-A in STEM is driving much of John's change in thinking.

"I now realize there are going to be jobs in this area," John said. "At one point, I didn't think I was going to stay here because there's not any jobs, but now there will be jobs at home. So why not stay home? Why not stay where my family is?"

O-A Principal Lynn Muscarella sought to start the STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for students just like John. She realized that with STAMP coming to Alabama, she wanted to make sure Oakfield-Alabama students had a good grasp of career opportunities in STEM.

"Last year I had seniors who weren't even aware of what is happening in their own backyard," Muscarella said. "I said, I can't allow this to happen. These kids are right here, so why not get them somewhat prepared to think about what's going to be here so they can stay if they want to."

STAMP stands for Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park, a 1,340-acre parcel in Alabama that the Genesee County Economic Development Center and its economic development partners from throughout the region are marketing as an ideal location for high-tech manufacturing.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in town to announce the first new development in the park, 1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts-based company that will construct a new plant to make silicon wafers for solar energy panels. The plant will employ from 600 to 1,000 people once fully operational, perhaps as soon as early 2017.

The STEM classes at O-A are part of the sophomore-year curriculum for the first time and will run throughout the school year with classroom time every other day for the participating students.

The instructors are Kathy Rushlow and David Porter, with Rushlow developing most of the course.

Seven weeks after the start of the school year, Rushlow is seeing some progress among her students, many of whom came to class without a clear understanding of what sort of degrees colleges offer and what their post-high-school educational options are.

"I think they are much more aware of what STEM is and what the different career choices are in the STEM field," Rushlow said. "I think that's been eye-opening."

The classes aren't intended to give students any kind of training that will lead them to a particular job; rather, it's an overview to expose them to the array of options available to them if they decide STEM might be something of interest.

The class also reinforces the importance of the other coursework in high school.

"It's surprising to them to see there's a second side to that coin, that even in the medical fields, they need that science and math, that background, on top of the medical information," Rushlow said.

oastemoct202015-2.jpg

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