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June 8, 2018 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, Le Roy.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept applications for incentives for two projects at the agency’s June 7th board meeting and direct the staff to set public hearings. The combined projects would create 20 new jobs and approximately $7.6 million in capital investment.

J. Rental is seeking sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions of approximately $723,000 to build a new 60,000-square-foot facility on 19.5 acres in the Apple Trees Acres business park in Bergen. The $6.3 million project would create 15 new jobs. The company will be investing $14 for every one dollar of public benefit.

Lancor Development Corp. is proposing to invest $1.3 million to build a 12,000-square-foot facility in the new Le Roy Food and Technology Park. The project would create five new jobs and retain seven jobs. Lancor is seeking sales and property tax exemptions of approximately $122,000. For every $1 of public benefit, the company is investing $28.5 into the local economy.

“We are very excited to see the first development at our latest shovel-ready site in Le Roy,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “We have worked collaboratively with our local government partners to get the park off the ground. With the first tenant committing to the site we are fulfilling the GCEDC’s mission to rejuvenate manufacturing, grow the local tax base, create jobs and grow the overall regional economy.”

In 2013 the GCEDC board moved forward with a plan to create the 75-acre shovel-ready park in the Town of Le Roy. This project was identified to reverse the generational decline in manufacturing in Le Roy including the loss of nearly 500 jobs (-17.6 percent) in the last five years. Upon successful build-out of the park up to 1,000 jobs could be housed there in the long term, with anticipated manufacturing facility space at full build-out of approximately 600,000 square feet.

May 30, 2018 - 1:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, STAMP, Alabama, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) today announced the launch of its Facebook (facebook.com/wnystamp) and Twitter (twitter.com/wnystamp) accounts. The social media initiative is being supported by a grant through National Grid.

WNY STAMP is the development of New York State’s second shovel-ready mega site (1,250 acres) designed for nanotech-oriented manufacturing (semiconductor, flat panel display, solar/PV), advanced manufacturing, and large scale bio-manufacturing projects. The site is located in the New York Power Authority’s low cost hydropower zone and is serviced by redundant, highly reliable power.

Located just five miles north of the New York State Thruway (I-90) exit 48A, the site is easily accessible to the region’s 2.3 million residents.

WNY STAMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages will be used to promote the latest updates regarding the site, photos and video content of community leaders discussing the site and surrounding area, what resources the site has to offer to prospective businesses, and more.

“We’re excited to launch our social media and share the story of what will be a major job creator for residents of Western New York,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “The sky is the limit for what WNY STAMP can offer to our region and these communication channels will allow us to further connect with prospective businesses and members of our community.

“National Grid has invested over $1 million in the WNY STAMP site to support the attraction of high-technology businesses to our area,” said Ken Kujawa, regional executive for National Grid. “The buzz surrounding the WNY STAMP continues to grow, and telling the story through social media channels furthers the awareness of the incredible potential this site gives to our area.”

The Genesee County Economic Development Center manages WNY STAMP.  For more information on WNY STAMP, head to WNYSTAMP.com

About the Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC): The GCEDC is the primary economic development agency in Genesee County, NY.

The GCEDC’s mission is to assist local economic development efforts by serving in a conduit financing capacity enabling the issuance of taxable and non-taxable debt to benefit the growth, expansion, ongoing operations and continued viability of for profit business enterprise in Genesee County thereby helping to maintain a sustainable long-term economy.

The Batavia/Genesee County region has been recognized for 15 consecutive years by Site Selection magazine as a top 10 micropolitan in the United States and is rated number three by Business Facilities Magazine as a top metro area for food processing and manufacturing growth.

May 23, 2018 - 8:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, news, GCEDC, notify.

While it still may be a long shot for 1366 Technologies to build its solar wafer manufacturing plant in Genesee County any time soon, there is apparently an ongoing conflict between the company and the Department of Energy. Some industry observers seem to think it could hinder the company's plans to build its first factory in Southeast Asia.

E&E News reported earlier this month that unnamed DOE sources say the agency is pushing patent claims. (See, also, PV Magazine.)

DOE officials believe the United States has a possible claim on 1366 technology tied to grants DOE had given the company over the past eight years. In a review of the 1366 product exclusion petition under the solar tariff, DOE said "it came to light" that the company also had patents not reported as part of its DOE funding process.

DOE and 1366 would not provide documents describing in detail the conditions attached to DOE's grants.

"The department takes seriously its responsibility to protect its intellectual property rights and the parties' obligations under funding agreements," said department press secretary Shaylyn Hynes.

Laureen Sanderson, spokesperson for 1366, wouldn't comment on the dispute except to say, "We are working with the DOE to resolve any misunderstanding."

In 2009, when the DOE was part of the Obama Administration, the department made a $150 million loan guarantee to 1366. That was apparently contingent on the company securing a U.S. site for manufacturing and raising $100 million in private financing. The company selected a site in Alabama's Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- AKA the STAMP project -- (though a DOE spokesperson later denied 1366 had made such a selection) but fell about $10 million short as of the fall of 2017 in its private investment goal.

To what degree that was the real sticking point in negotiations is hard to say based on available information, but at the beginning of the year 1366 announced it was withdrawing its application for the loan guarantee and planning a factory in Southeast Asia.

The ongoing conflict with the DOE came to light when 1366 applied for an exemption for its component in a planned tariff on solar panels manufactured in China.

A DOE spokesperson contacted by The Batavian last week did not respond to a request for comment.

If 1366 were to shift focus again and seek to return to STAMP the company would, of course, be welcome, said Steve Hyde, CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center. He said GCEDC has not been contacted by the company, however. If it did come to that, just because of the passage of time, there would need to be new negotiations.

"But I’m sure that things could be put in place that are very similar," Hyde said.

It's unclear, and 1366 isn't saying, how far along the company is with its Southeast Asia plant.

May 18, 2018 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, business, news.

From the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

Ignite Buffalo invites small businesses throughout Western New York to apply for the chance to grow your business.

We know how challenging it can be to build and grow a small business. How do you secure funding? How do you make the most effective decisions? How do you find the best suppliers, employees, and partners?

To help you navigate these and other challenge our partners have launched Ignite Buffalo.

It's a chance to tell your business story to possibly secure over a year's worth of business mentoring, training, and up to $100,000 to develop and grow your small business in Western New York.

This grant opportunity is presented by 43North in partnership with national and local partners, including: facebook, M&T Bank, Intuit Quickbooks, AWS, WordPress.com, WOO COMMERCE.

A total of 27 grants will be awarded, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

All applications must be submitted by June 13 at 12 p.m. EDT.

Click here to learn more and apply.

April 27, 2018 - 3:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, downtown, batavia.

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Staff from the Genesee County Economic Development Center hosted staff from Invest Buffalo Niagara and other interested local officials on a walking tour of Downtown Batavia yesterday afternoon.

Rachel Tabelski, marketing director for GCEDC, said Invest Buffalo Niagara is the marketing partner for GCEDC for all of its shovel-ready development sites.

"The tour helps make them more aware of the assets we have in our city," Tabelski said.

The tour started at Eli Fish Brewing Company, which Invest Buffalo Niagara visited last year just as construction was beginning. They then walked to the Old Courthouse for a proclamation ceremony. Next, they visited two of the potential DRI projects, the Masonic Temple and GO ART!.

The Invest Buffalo Niagara staff will use the information they gathered and the pictures they took to create digital media content that will be used to help market Batavia to businesses looking for site locations.

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April 25, 2018 - 3:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, news, STAMP, GCEDC, notify.

After an apparent inability to reach an agreement with 1366 Technologies that would have paved a path for the company build its solar wafer plant in the STAMP project in Alabama, an attorney for the Department of Energy is threatening legal action against the startup for planning its factory in Southeast Asia.

John T. Lucus, acting general counsel for the DOE, submitted a letter to trade representatives last week in opposition to a request by 1366 for an exemption from a proposed tariff on solar panels manufactured overseas.

Citing a claim by 1366 in its application for the exemption that it is building a factory in Southeast Asia, Lucus wrote, "1366, however, made U.S. manufacturing commitments to DOE as part of millions of dollars in funding agreements with 1366. Constructing and operating the Southeast Asia facility is likely contrary to 1366's U.S. manufacturing commitments to DOE. DOE takes this matter very seriously and is currently looking into 1366's compliance with its DOE funding agreements."

A spokeswoman for 1366 declined to comment.

"We are not providing comment on the letter at this time as we’re working to consult with the DOE to gain additional clarity," said Laureen Sanderson.

The letter from Lucas makes it sound like the DOE either released funding or followed through on commitments to help fund the $700 million plant 1366 had hoped to build in Genesee County.

In fact, 1366 withdrew its application for funding late last year and announced its plans to build a plant overseas instead of in the U.S. after the DOE failed to finalize a 2011 agreement for a $150 million loan guarantee.

After 1366 selected Genesee County for its facility, the company sought to renegotiate part of the agreement. The negotiations were put on hold following Donald Trump's election and did not resume until well after Secretary Rick Perry was confirmed. According to sources, the DOE was unwilling to make any changes to the agreement, specifically as it related to a requirement that 1366 raise $100 million in private investment. At that point, the company had raised $80 million.

The other part of the agreement used by the DOE to justify withholding the loan guarantee was that the company had not selected a location in the United States for its manufacturing facility even though 1366 had signed documents with both the Genesee County Economic Development Center and Empire State Development naming STAMP as its future manufacturing home.

The 1366 manufacturing process is patented and touted as potentially disruptive to the energy industry because it eliminates waste, lowers costs, and boosts power efficiency. It was developed at MIT.

The factory in Alabama was expected to employ as many as 1,000 people at full capacity making just solar wafers, not solar panels, and the company said all of the initial customers would be overseas and not in the United States.

The letter from Sanderson to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding the Trump administration's proposed tariff on solar panels says the company is seeking an exclusion on the portion of any panels imported into the U.S. using direct-to-wafer technology. The wafer comprises 70 percent of a panel's expense, Sanderson said.

The exclusion application also states that 1366 still plans to build a factory in the United States at some point that will employ 700 to 1,000 people.

The company said the exemption would give the U.S. solar industry "breathing room" in order to compete in the global market.

In the request summary, 1366 states:

The greatest barriers facing U.S. companies today come from a trade imbalance that places U.S.-based firms at an obvious disadvantage, scaring off private investors, stifling on-going U.S.-based manufacturing innovation and forcing U.S. companies to negotiate product sales and technology licensing agreements with foreign, state-funded companies from a position of weakness. The U.S. now has a very real opportunity to correct this imbalance and right the course for U.S. manufacturers and innovators so that they, in turn, can focus on job creation.

SolarWorld, based in Bonn, Germany, and one of two companies (along with Suniva, which has since gone bankrupt) that lobbied for U.S. tariffs of 30 percent on solar panels, opposes the 1366 exemption. While acknowledging the innovative manufacturing process employed by 1366, SolarWorld's Timothy C. Brightbill says the final product is indistinguishable from existing wafers.

SolarWorld itself has received $121 million in state and federal grants and tax breaks and another $61 million in loan guarantees. SolarWorld is also struggling and is currently seeking bankruptcy protection in Germany.

SolarWorld is also opposing an application by Panasonic/Telsa for an exemption for a part used in solar panels manufactured in Buffalo.

April 19, 2018 - 8:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, GCEDC, batavia, business, news.

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Students at Genesee Community College competed today in a business idea pitch competition. with a couple of hundred dollars in prize money at stake from StartUp Genesee Committee of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

In all, 17 individuals and teams competed, including Gino Vos, above, who pitched his idea of a tourism-related T-shirt company in his home of Kurasoleno, in South America. He won second place in the "Most Likely to Succeed" category.

The winner in that category was Glenn Holmes, with Livestock Haulage Company. Holmes is also an international student from Ireland.

The "Most Creative" prize went to Josh Berranco, Nathan Maniscalko, and Richard Estes, with the TV Show, "Spooky Kooky Investigation Inc." (see video below)

Second in "Most Creative," Paige Biggins, hockey for children with special needs.

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Casey Smalls, a GCC fashion student, pitched a new natural eyelashes product.

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Zoe Falsone, Paul Elliott, and Dave Inzinna, a TV show, "Music Then, Now, Forever."

March 30, 2018 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, corfu, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for two projects that would result in $1.3 million in capital investment, the creation of 10 new jobs and retention of 29 jobs at its March 29th board meeting.

The GCEDC also accepted an application for assistance that would result in a capital investment of approximately $800,000 that would create six new jobs and retain 14 jobs.

Genesee Lumber Company was approved to receive approximately $57,000 in sales and mortgage tax exemptions. The company plans to demolish an existing structure to make way for a new 7,158-square-foot warehouse in the City of Batavia.

The new warehouse will store lumber and other building products to better serve customers in Genesee County and surrounding regions.

Genesee Lumber will make a $300,000 capital investment creating three new jobs and retaining 29 jobs. The project in turn will contribute to the Batavia to Prosperity (B2P) and Reinvestment Fund.

Town Center Plaza LLC was approved for approximately $77,000 in sales, property and mortgage tax exemptions in order to build a new grocery store in the Village of Corfu on a site that was a former grocery store that has been closed for several years. The new 20,000-square-foot facility is a $1 million investment that will create seven new jobs.

While the grocery store is a retail project, it qualified for financial incentives because the store will be located adjacent to a highly distressed census tract. Both the Village of Corfu and Town of Pembroke passed resolutions supporting the project.

The GCEDC board also voted to accept an application from Xylem (formerly Godwin Pumps). The company is proposing to expand its existing facility of 18,282 to 26,382 square feet. The expansion would result in a capital investment of approximately $800,000.

Total incentives being sought are approximately $100,000 and as such would require a public hearing. Xylem is planning to consolidate Rochester operations into Batavia as well. It is estimated that for every one dollar of public benefit, that Xylem will invest $63.80 into the local economy.

“These projects are the foundation for our local economy and just some of the many local business success stories across Genesee County,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of Business Development, GCEDC.

March 26, 2018 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for two project as well as consider accepting an application for another.

Genesee Lumber Company will demolish an existing structure to make way to build a 7,158-square-foot warehouse addition to their operation in the City of Batavia. The $300,000 capital investment project would create three new jobs and retain 29 jobs. Genesee Lumber Company is seeking approximately $57,000 in incentives. If the project is approved, it will contribute to the Batavia to Prosperity (B2P) and Reinvestment Fund.

Town Center Plaza LLC is seeking to bring back a grocery store to the Village of Corfu on a site that also was a former grocery store that has been closed for several years. The new 20,000-square-foot facility is a $1 million investment that would create seven new jobs. The company is seeking approximately $77,000 in incentives.

While the grocery store is a retail project, it qualifies to apply for financial incentives because the store will be located adjacent to a highly distressed census tract. Town Center Plaza LLC also is claiming that they will provide unique goods and services to the community that otherwise are not available.

Finally, the GCEDC board will consider accepting an application from Xylem (Golden Pumps). The company is proposing to expand its existing facility of 18,282 square feet to 26,382 square feet. The expansion would result in a capital investment of approximately $800,000. Total incentives being sought are approximately $100,000 and as such would require a public hearing. Xylem is planning to consolidate Rochester operations into Batavia as well.

The GCEDC Board meeting is at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 29th, in the Innovation Zone at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia. The meeting is open to the public.

March 11, 2018 - 11:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC.

We weren't able to cover Friday's annual meeting for Genesee County Economic Development Center, but we did cover CEO Steve Hyde's department review for the Legislature, which would cover much of the same annual review as Friday's meeting.

GCEDC released this promotional video on Friday for the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Alabama.

March 7, 2018 - 10:04pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, wny stamp, GCEDC, genesee county legislature, lawley insurance.

The leader of the Genesee County Economic Development Center said he is attempting to persuade a company “five times the size of 1366 Technologies” to put its stake in the WNY Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama.

“We’ve had five site visits” (with the company),” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and chief executive office, this afternoon at the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, later adding that the business is “five times the size of 1366 as far as investment and jobs go.”

“We will either be the bridesmaid or bride in this deal, and (if the latter) it would change the face of the community,” Hyde said, invoking a nondisclosure agreement. “While 1366 was a start-up, this company is very solid.”

Hyde and GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia said they were disappointed by the decision of 1366 Technologies, which manufactures solar wafers, to pull out of STAMP – a 1,250-acre, shovel-ready nanotechnologies site developed by the GCEDC.

“It took two years for the announcement that 1366 would be coming and another two years for them to pull the plug on that project,” Battaglia said after Hyde and CFO Lezlie Farrell gave the committee a quick overview of the GCEDC’s financial picture. “It takes a lot of work and effort with no guarantee that we will be successful.”

Hyde said that “fiscal pressures” in the form of decreased funding and a greater workload are “part of the challenges that are hard to overcome.” However, he said he is confident that a deal is in the near future.

“It’s just a matter of when, not if,” he said.

The GCEDC will be coordinating four projects at the STAMP site in the coming months in an effort to achieve what he called the “big house blueprint – big water, big sewer and big electric.”

GCEDC officials reported that the 2018 budget shows $26.9 million in revenue against $27.3 million in expenses, with $1.4 million budgeted for operations and $25.6 million for WNY Stamp.

Hyde said that the shortfall would be covered by annuity streams generated by HP Hood, which has moved into the former Muller Quaker yogurt plant on East Main Street Road.

He bemoaned the fact that financial backing from Genesee County has decreased by 31 percent since 2008 (currently at $193,513 annually) since the agency’s only two sources of funding are project revenues/origination fees and county support.

“The challenge is that we have is that we’ve been in an environment where the body of work has illuminated. The work activity, business development and sales, and workforce development – notably in food, beverage and agriculture – have more than doubled,” he said.

Hyde reported that in 2017, the GCEDC steered 16 projects that resulted in $240 million in pledged capital investment and 288 pledged job creation. Eight of those projects, generating $231 in capital investment, were in the food and beverage/agri-business sector.

For 2018, a key stated GCEDC goal is to secure additional investment to implement STAMP Phase II site and infrastructure development to help make the site globally competitive by better aligning infrastructure readiness timelines with market needs (market-ready/shovel-ready).

In an another development, the Ways & Means Committee engaged in a discussion with Lawley Insurance executives Reggie Dejean and Suzie Ott and County Information Technology Director Steve Zimmer about cyber liability insurance.

Cyber insurance has emerged as a result of increased activity by hackers or other criminals who gain access to a firm’s electronic network. Most notably, but not exclusively, it covers a business' liability for a data breach in which personal and/or confidential information, such as Social Security or credit card numbers, is exposed or stolen.

Zimmer said he didn’t think Genesee County has enough protection in this area.

“Cyber liability insurance would give us the financial resources to bring experts in,” he said, adding that he projected that if all data was lost at the Mental Health department, for example, it would cost up to $3.8 million to rectify the situation.

Currently, he said there are in excess of 700 users -- including volunteer fire department personnel -- on the county’s computer network, which presents the risk of someone opening an infected e-mail or attachment.

Dejean said cyber policies offered by Lawley have limits of $1 million, $2 million or $5 million, and cover data & network liability/third-party liability, web and print content liability, regulatory defense and penalties, cyber extortion (ransomware) and business interruption (loss of income). They also offer the ability to notify up to 250,000 people of a breach.

The committee made no commitment, but did get the figures -- annual premiums of: $21,663 for a $1 million policy; $27,078 for a $2 million policy; $36,061 for a $5 million policy with $100,000 deductible; and $32,818 for a $5 million policy with a $250,000 deductible.

When asked where the money would come from to pay the premium, County Manager Jay Gsell said initially it would come from the county’s self-insurance fund, “but going forward (if people are identified as causing problems) there could be some changes to financing the risk.”

Gsell, responding to a question about how to educate computer users, said he was in favor of formulating a policy, starting with the E-911 board to communicate the responsibilities associated with information technology.

“The education piece has to start sometime soon,” said Ways & Means Chair Marianne Clattenburg.

-- The committee also endorsed a resolution proposing a local law designating the opioid epidemic and its impact on Genesee County a "public nuisance" and to set a course to recover costs incurred by the county in providing related services.

The resolution, in part, states that "as a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, family and social services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation, and many other areas have significantly increased. Many of these costs are paid by the County. The purpose and intent of this Local Law is to allow the County to recover these costs ... whenever practicable, from the responsible party."

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 28 at the Old County Courthouse.

March 7, 2018 - 2:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

While Batavia and Genesee County have long been recognized as one of the top micropolitan regions in the United States, the area received its highest ranking ever as it climbed all the way to number 2 among 575 micropolitans across the country.  The annual rankings are compiled by Site Selection magazine.

Batavia was the only town in New York State to be ranked in the top 40 of micropolitans. It is the 15th consecutive year Batavia and Genesee County have been recognized. The ranking of “Top Micropolitans” is based on cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people which cover at least one county.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment and it once again demonstrates the commitment and collaboration among the public and private sectors to bring new investment and jobs to the region and just as important assisting companies that are already here in expanding and retaining jobs,” said Steve Hyde, president, and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

The GCEDC achieved 16 project “wins” in 2017 that generated approximately $240 million in investment.

Since 2003, the GCEDC has provided similar assistance and incentives for 449 projects which have generated $1.3 billion in capital investment and the creation and/or retention of approximately 4,528 jobs.

Full the full list of rankings, including some commentary about the region’s rise to second place, click here.

March 2, 2018 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 1366 Technologies, STAMP, GCEDC, notify, news.

Solar wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies has decided to build it's first full-scale factory in a foreign country rather than in Genesee County.

The innovative Masschuchett's-based company made its decision based on delays and uncertainty around a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy.  

"We have always wanted to have and intended to have factories around the world that were close to our distribution centers," said Laureen Sanderson, spokesperson for 1366. "We have decided to build the first one aboard. That doesn't mean the second can't be here in the U.S. and as those pieces come into place, the GCEDC will be the first call we make."

In a statement, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde said that while this is disappointing news, it's important to note that 1366 had not yet received any taxpayer dollars for is proposed facility and that work continues to prepare the STAMP site for eventual tenants.

“We remain extremely excited and committed to STAMP because there is a long pipeline of leads and great interest in the site by various advanced manufacturing businesses," Hyde said.

While 1366 had raised nearly $100 million in private equity, and has continued to raise investment funds, Sanderson said, and had committed to the STAMP site, after the change of administrations in January 2017, the Department of Energy never released funds for a loan guarantee promised during the prior administration. The DOE's position was that 1366 had not met its obligation to select a site and raise $100 million equity.

Because of the rapidly changing business climate in solar power, 1366 then wanted to renegotiate the loan agreement but no agreement was reached.

In its own budget proposal, the DOE slashed $330 million funding for the program, called Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, even though it is supported GOP-controlled Senate in its budget.

Nobody at 1366, however, is blaming the DOE for the decision to locate its first factory overseas. The company is simply withdrawing its request for a loan guarantee, Sanderson said.

"As we evaluated the loan guarantee, the additional time and expense beyond what we have already invested, for the negotiation process without any indication of the outcome of the loan guarantee after the negotiations were completed made it difficult to move forward," Sanderson said.

The Trump administration said it was protecting U.S. manufacturing jobs in the solar industry when it announced last month a tariff on solar panels. That tariff, however, has little impact on 1366 since it doesn't make panels, just the wafers that go into panels, and its primary market for wafers is outside the United States. If anything, it could have faced retaliatory tariffs from China on any wafers it shipped to that country.

Sanderson said the company will not yet to disclose the location of its proposed first factory.

The company is eager to get its advanced and innovated solar wafer manufacturing process into full production. The solar energy market is moving fast and 1366 wants to participate in that growth.

"It was difficult to make this decision and put the U.S. factory on the back burner but we were eager to get into production," Sanderson said. "The wafer is now the focus of the industry. It is the one thing that hasn't yet had the cost stripped from it."

For more than four decades, solar wafers have been made by grinding and polishing silicon wafers. The proprietary 1366 process involves pouring molten silicon into glass-like sheets, which allows for thinner, more efficient solar wafers, that are less expensive to make and produce no significant waste.

The MIT-incubated company selected 1366 for its first factory, in part, because it could be powered by renewable energy, the power generated by Niagara Falls.

Sanderson said now that its wafer is in production, the 1366 wafer is being validated in the market.

"In customer trials, on actual production lines, we have seen fantastic results with an average of 20.3 percent efficiency on production lines," Sanderson said.

Throughout a conversation with The Batavian this afternoon, Sanderson said repeatedly that 1366 still intended to build a factory in the United States and when that day comes, GCEDC will receive the first call. She praised the efforts of the GCEDC staff as well as Empire State Development and said this decision was in no way a result of anything GCEDC or ESD failed to do.

"We tried everything we could," Sanderson said. "Everyone tried and did everything they could to make a U.S. factory a reality."

She added, "There’s no doubt in our mind that STAMP is a world-class site. The talent in the region is exceptional and we know that everyone is working really hard to ensure that vision is realized in the community."

The company would have employed 1,000 local workers at full production.

Hyde said commitment to STAMP locally and throughout the state is as strong as ever.

“We also have a number of partners in the public and private sector who I know remain committed to STAMP," Hyde said. "This collaboration is critically important in our efforts, especially as we combine the resources of our economic development partners to market the significant attributes of the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas as one region.

“So, for the GCEDC it is business as usual in our ongoing efforts to get STAMP shovel ready and continuing to market the site to these businesses.”

Rep. Chris Collins issued a statement blaming 1366 for the deicsion without mentioning the DOE's attempt to defund the energy innovation program:

“While they would have been an economic asset to the community, one cannot help but wonder if 1366 Technologies was ever serious about opening a plant at the STAMP site in Alabama. Despite being approved over six and a half years ago and my office facilitating multiple contacts between 1366 and the Department of Energy, the company failed to complete the necessary requirements of their contract and has had to terminate its federal loan offer.

“Despite this result, I remain eager to work with state and local partners to assist in the success of the STAMP project. Genesee County remains an attractive place to locate a high-tech manufacturing business and I am confident the leadership in this community will make this project a success.”

After reading the statement from Collins, Sanderson had this to say: "It's important to understand we were very committed to New York. There was a lot of time and resources around making that U.S. factory a reality. We understand the impact this has on the community. That is not lost on us. That doesn't mean New York can't be a future location and it remains in our plans."

We have requests for comment out to the Department of Energy and Sen. Charles Schumer's office. We will update this story as appropriate.

February 2, 2018 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in GCEDC, news, batavia, business.

From the GCEDC:

The annual meeting and luncheon of the Genesee County Economic Development Center will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 9, at Batavia Downs in the Paddock Room.

Co-keynote speakers are Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara, and Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise.

According to the GCEDC, 2017 was a landmark year for Genesee County, and you are invited to learn more about how the center is connecting the "Buffalo-Rochester Metro Corridor" and advancing economic development regionally.

At the annual meeting, the GCEDC and its partners will be celebrated and highlights from 2017 will be reviewed; also, the economic landscape in New York State for 2018 will be discussed.

This is an excellent opportunity to network with economic and elected leaders from around the region. The GCEDC will unveil the "2018 Economic Development Partner of the Year Award."

Feel free to arrive an hour early, at 11 a.m., for an informal networking opportunity.

Batavia Downs is located at 8315 Park Road, Batavia.

To register for the event, click here.

For more information, contact Rachel Tabelski, Marketing & Communications director for the GCEDC, at [email protected] or phone 585-343-4866, ext. 12.

December 1, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in le roy hs, Le Roy, schools, education, news, GCEDC.

gcedcstemleroydec12017.jpg

John Jakubowski, workforce development consultant for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and Chris Suozzi, VP of business development for GCEDC, visited Le Roy High School today as guests of the Business Education Alliance's Career Lunch-N-Learn Series.

Jakubowski and Suozzi talked about career opportunities in STEM (Science, Tehcnology, Engineering and Math) fields, advanced manufacturing and nanotechnologies, and what it takes for a student to enter those career paths.

"The BEA Career Lunch-N-Learn Series is a tremendous opportunity for our students to interact with professionals in different fields, and we can't thank Karyn Winters enough for her organizing efforts and partnering with us," said Principal Tim McArdle. "It is these experiences that allow our students to focus on their future and learn about the many options they have.

"Today's speakers from GCEDC gave our students a chance to learn about amazing opportunities right here in our backyard so that we can retain the talent we are developing. I really commend Mr. Suozzi and Mr. Jakubowski for their efforts in promoting the WNY STAMP and also educating our students on career advice."

The purpose of the series, McArdle said, is to expand beyond the traditional career day and expose students to information about various careers throughout the year.

"We have taken the traditional one day 'career day' and infused it in and throughout the school year," McArdle said. "Each of our teachers are tasked to host one professional to speak to their classes in an experience we call Career Chats.

"Each Career Chat speaker also stays for an after-school session in the library open to all students. Our students also participate in off-campus field trip opportunities visiting local business/industries through our Student Success Center and staff initiated opportunities."

Another resource available to students and parents is Naviance, in which counselors work with students on career and self-exploration throughout the school year both at school and at home. 

To prepare the local workforce for jobs like what is anticipated at WNY STAMP -- Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- the district has partnered with Byron-Bergen Central School in a Soft Skills Training program.

The program is being funded through a grant from an America’s Best Communities Award that the Towns of Le Roy and Bergen won in 2015 and is coordinated with Jakubowski and Loren Penman. Seniors in both districts are exposed to four different lessons from local professionals this spring.  

"Our goal is to not have one week go by without our students having a chance to hear from a professional in the field. It is vital we maintain this important commitment for the development of our graduates."

gcedcstemleroydec12017-2.jpg

November 8, 2017 - 3:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that the agency was presented with the Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award at the New York Community College Trustees (NYCCT) annual awards ceremony on Oct. 21. The GCEDC was nominated for the award by the Genesee Community College Board of Trustees.

The Edward J. Pawenski Business/Industry Partnership Award is the highest recognition that can be bestowed upon a business or individual and recognizes a partnership and commitment with a community college. Pawenski was one of the founding Trustees at Niagara County Community College.

“The growth and success of Genesee Community College is due in large part to our long-standing collaboration and partnership with the GCEDC,” said GCC President James M. Sunser, Ed.D. “We are training our students to meet the demands of the ever-changing workplace especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors.”

The GCEDC and Genesee Community College have collaborated on programming and curriculum related to agribusiness and advanced manufacturing among others. The goal of the collaboration is to prepare the next generation of workers to fill jobs for businesses operating in the Genesee County Agri-Business Park and the anticipation of businesses opening in the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

“On behalf of our Board and staff, the GCEDC is honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. “Our partnership with Genesee Community College is critically important to our efforts to economic development efforts in Genesee County.”

The NYCCT is a voluntary nonprofit association of community college trustees established to strengthen the effectiveness of New York’s community college trustees as an active force in the development and implementation of public policy impacting community colleges. The NYCCT represents the appointed board members who govern the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

October 27, 2017 - 12:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2018 at its board meeting on Oct. 26, with anticipated cash outflows of $2.5 million.

“The mission of the GGLDC is to foster local economic development by making real estate development investments that prepare sites in Genesee County for new corporate tenants,” said Tom Felton, chairman of the GGLDC. “The GGLDC also provides strategic investment funding to support the GCEDC’s ongoing economic development program.”

The anticipated 2018 expenditures of the GGLDC include operations and maintenance for the MedTech Centre building, site/corporate park maintenance, an economic development program support grant to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), and professional services.

Other significant items include: an $890,000 pass through grant from the New York State Department of Transportation that furthers the ability of the tenants of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park (Ag Park) to access rail; $655,000 is debt service payments supporting development at the Ag Park and the MedTech Center building; as well as $352,000 in expenses related to wastewater treatment facility upgrades in the Village of Corfu in partnership with the Town of Pembroke, supporting the Buffalo East Technology Park.

A major source of revenue is rent of $670,000 from the MedTech Centre facility. In addition, $205,000 will be received through the Empire Pipeline Community Benefit Agreement. Additional cash receipts will include $295,000 in principal and interest payments from several companies repaying loans made in previous years.

“The GGLDC will be working to actively market our shovel-ready parks in conjunction with the Genesee County Economic Development Center in 2018. We have been working with a few projects that we anticipate will come to fruition by the end of 2018,” Felton said.

October 23, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider final applications for three projects at the agency’s board meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, in the Innovation Zone board room at 99 Medtech Drive. All GCEDC Board meetings are open to the public.

The Board will consider final approval of incentives for a $450,000 capital investment by Manning Squires and Hennig in the Town of Batavia; a $4.5 million capital investment by Darien Lake Theme Park in the Town of Darien; and, a $4.3 million capital investment by O-AT-KA Milk Products in the City of Batavia.

Manning Squires and Henning is once again seeking to expand its footprint in the Town of Batavia. Earlier this year, the company invested $2.2 million for a 9,5000-square-foot expansion. The company is planning a Phase II component to expand to approximately 14,500 square feet, including a $450,000 investment for the purchase of construction related to equipment for which it is seeking approval of $36,000 is sales tax exemptions.

Darien Lake is seeking $360,000 in sales tax exemptions as part of a capital investment of $4.5 million for a new ride set to open in 2018. The tourism project will help retain 398 jobs at one of the Buffalo Niagara and Finger Lakes region’s most popular resorts.

The GCEDC board also will consider final approval of a 20,000-square-foot expansion project by O-AT-KA as part of a $4.3 million capital investment at the company’s plant on Ellicott Street. O-AT-KA is requesting approximately $370,000 for sales tax and property tax exemptions. The project, located in the City of Batavia, will help retain 308 jobs.

October 6, 2017 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved incentives for Triple O Mechanical in the Town of Bergen and 212 West Main Street Inc. in the City of Batavia at its Oct. 5 board meeting. The agency also accepted applications from Darien Lake and O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative.

Triple O will invest $400,000 to expand its existing facility from 6,960 square feet to 14,614 square feet, which will create one new job and retain 19 jobs. The company will receive sales and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $75,000. Triple O provides heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and electrical services for residential and commercial customers.

212 West Main Street Inc. is investing $895,000 for a new Arby’s Restaurant, which will include renovations of the interior and exterior of the existing building as well as the purchase of equipment. While a retail project, the 212 West Main Street project qualifies for incentives since it is located adjacent to a highly distressed area of the city. 212 West Main Street Inc. will receive sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions totaling approximately $66,500.  The new restaurant will create five new jobs.

An application for assistance was accepted by the GCEDC on behalf of Darien Lake Theme Park Resort for a new ride set to open in 2018. Darien Lake is seeking $360,000 in sales tax exemptions as part of a capital investment of $4.5 million. The project will help retain 398 jobs at one of the Buffalo Niagara and Finger Lakes regions most popular resorts.​

The GCEDC board also accepted an application from O-AT-KA for a $4.3 million capital investment for an approximate 20,000-square-foot expansion of the company’s plant on Ellicott Street. The company is requesting approximately $370,000 for sales tax and property tax exemptions.  The project will help retain 308 jobs in the Town and City of Batavia.

Since both O-AT-KA and Darien Lake are requesting incentives of more than $100,000, public hearings for both projects will be scheduled.

“Genesee County continues to see major business growth and investment in our existing companies,” said GCEDC Board Chair Paul Battaglia. “All of these projects send a positive message that Genesee County is open for business and a great place to grow.”

September 26, 2017 - 3:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, Alabama, STAMP, GCEDC.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer on Monday urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve the Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement with Genesee County in order to keep an important water infrastructure project on track.

Schumer said that with the agreement now up for renewal, it is essential that FERC approve the extended agreement to finance new water infrastructure at Genesee County’s Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park (STAMP), bringing good paying jobs to the Rochester Finger Lakes region and investing in New York State’s critical infrastructure.

“Genesee County’s PILOT agreement is vital to keep water infrastructure construction at STAMP on schedule and put new jobs in the pipeline,” Senator Schumer said. “FERC must act quickly and approve this petition to ensure that the timely construction of new water infrastructure is not held up by bureaucratic red tape.

"This agreement is a win-win for job creation and the hard working people of Genesee County, allowing the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed with vital upgrades to the STAMP business park.”

Schumer explained that the original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032.

This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement.

This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. Funding provided to Genesee County by Empire Pipeline under this PILOT agreement is required by Genesee County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) to finance Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve STAMP and timely action by FERC is needed to ensure the construction timeline is not delayed.

A copy of Schumer’s letter appears below:

Dear FERC Chairman Chatterjee:

I write to request that you take swift action on the Petition (Docket CP06-5, Sub Docket 013) filed by Empire Pipeline Inc. to approve its revised and extended PILOT (Payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Genesee County, NY, which is necessary to finance new job-creating water infrastructure at Genesee County’s STAMP (Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Business Park) business park. 

The original PILOT agreement between Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and Empire Pipeline was approved by FERC and implemented in 2007 as part of Empire Pipeline’s investment to construct a new gas compression station in the Town of Oakfield in Genesee County. This agreement is now up for renewal through 2032. This request does not include any new construction, but is solely an amendment and extension of the original PILOT agreement. This renewal agreement was approved by Genesee County and Empire Pipeline in 2016 and is currently awaiting final approval by FERC. 

Timely approval of this agreement is necessary to ensure that the construction of new water infrastructure, which is crucial to economic development in the region, can proceed on schedule. The $4 million in proceeds paid by Empire Pipeline to Genesee County under this renewal agreement are set to be used to finance new job-creating water line investment in Genesee County. Specifically this funding is required to complete the financing of the Phase 2 construction of new water lines to serve the forthcoming STAMP business park, a 1,250-acre site that Genesee County is transforming into a shovel-ready business park to attract new manufacturing business and jobs. As the Phase 1 water construction is now underway, I request FERC expeditiously schedule this Petition for action in order to enable the Genesee County Economic Development Center to proceed on its Phase 2 schedule without delay. 

Thank you for your attention to this request. 

Sincerely, 

Charles E. Schumer

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