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May 19, 2017 - 1:00pm

There should be no lack of motivation for Dairy Farmers of America to start production back up at the former Muller Quaker Dairy plant in Batavia it acquired in January 2016 for $60 million.

That was a big outlay on a plant that is considered state-of-the-art, is USDA certified, close to milk supplies, in the midst of a transportation hub, and cost PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group more than $200 million to construct.

There is also more milk being produced than there are places to process it in the Northeast and that has led to some milk dumping so it doesn't get added to the market supply.

Finally, there is the whopping $655,155 tax bill DFA paid in 2017 over and above what their obligation could have been with a new PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement, which is wholly contingent on Kansas City, Kansas-based DFA putting the plant to productive use.

Genesee County Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde notified officials with City Schools, Genesee County and the Town of Batavia in January that those jurisdictions could expect suspension of the PILOT agreement Muller Quaker received to build the plant because there was no clear indication what DFA planned to do to live up the basic premise of the PILOT, which is that there would be people working at the plant.

"They will pay full taxes until it's back in productive use and people are back to work," Hyde told The Batavian. "DFA has been good with us and good to work with, but we want to see the plant back in productive use, and they want their members to be able to ship milk to that plant."

The Batavian obtained copies of the letters sent to local officials through a FOIL (Freedom of Infomation Act letter) request. The letters show that City Schools received an extra $427,397, the county received $180,476, and the Town received $47,282.

Hyde said the payment requirement was consistent with the original terms of the PILOT and would not have come as a surprise to DFA.

As for DFA's plans, spokeswoman Kim O'Brien said the plans are taking shape. It's a lot of work to bring a number of big players together to get a plant like this back into production, but she said DFA would announce its plans within weeks.

It's unclear if DFA will operate the plant itself, partner with other companies, lease it or sell it, and O'Brien said she couldn't comment beyond acknowledging that DFA would make an announcement soon.

There are reportedly other major players in the dairy industry interested in the plant and Shelly Stein, a co-owner of Stein Farms in Le Roy, a DFA member, said it's common knowledge that DFA has had the plant on the market, but she also doesn't know what DFA's plans are. She said she's just eager to see it processing milk again to help alleviate the oversupply problem for dairy farmers.

"In the dairy business, there are a lot of partnerships and relationships that go into running plants like this, and that's the model DFA uses," Stein said. "I believe that is still the thought process and as a member of the cooperative, I look forward to that plant being up and running, but at this point, all of the stars have to line up. The size of that plant means it's not going to be an overnight fix."

Sarah Noble Moag, of Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, and also a DFA member, said they are eager to see the plant reopen, but they also understand why it's taking so long to get something going.

"After having seen Muller Quaker come in with its business plan and fail, we want to see something for our local economy and our local jobs that is more stable, and if that takes a little more time to plan, then so be it," Noble Moag said. "We all know in this business how long those negotiations can take, especially for an asset that size."

According to documents obtained by The Batavian as part of a FOIL request, there was active communication between GCEDC and DFA, but in July, the communication, at least the written communication, abruptly stopped. We are told that's an accurate reflection of the state of things from that point forward, that there isn't any communication not part of the response to the FOIL request.

In February of 2016, DFA officials were diligent about making sure its logo was added to the business part sign along Route 5. In March, Chris Suozzi, VP of business development, started trying to find out from DFA officials what their plans were so he could put together a new incentive package that recognized the expense of the retooling of the plant.

Jackie Klippenstein, with DFA, asked for clarification on possible incentives on April 28, telling Suozzi, "it appears discussions at the end of the hall are intensifying."

In response, Suozzi wanted to know how much DFA was planning to invest in the plant. 

The number he got back was $250,000 for equipment and $100,000, rough estimate, for labor.

On April 29, 2016, he emailed Jackie Klippenstein to try and clarify DFA's plans.

"Based on other food processing facilities in our county, that number appears low, unless you're making yogurt," Suozzi wrote. "Can you share what products will be produced? Maybe I can understand better. Will you be using existing equipment from Muller Quaker Dairy? Do you already own equipment that you're bringing in? If so we will need to understand the capital expense."

He also asked, "is the 150 jobs to start or is a ramp-up schedule over the course of time (i.e. 2-year ramp up)?"

Suozzi apparently didn't get a response and followed up on May 3 and suggested a phone call.

Klippenstein responded May 10 and said, "We aren't quite ready -- but I expect information in the next 2-3 weeks. Stop and go, stop and go ... sorry but feeling optimistic."

Suozzi again followed up on June 1, 2016, and Klippenstein responded, "Thanks for checking in. I've been told July is the golden month when things will start to come together -- decisions made."

On July 6, 2016, Suozzi again requested a project update and the documents obtained by The Batavian, which we are told are complete, contains no response from Klippenstein or anybody else from DFA.

As part of the documents obtained by The Batavian, there is a state form DFA was required to fill out which lists employees and wages paid for 2016. The NYS-45-ATT shows DFA had seven employees at the plant with a total payroll of $408,006. The names of the employees are redacted, but the top gross pay was $72,195, with one other employee earning more than $70,000, two making more than $50,000, one making $41,883, and three earning at least $35,000. Their job duties are not listed as part of the form.

Hyde, like other officials we've talked to around the county, remains optimistic that the plant, so big, so well situated and well suited to dairy processing, will eventually be put to productive use. It's just a matter of time.

"It's not perfect what happened, but we have a couple hundred million dollar processing plant that is essentially new and largely funded on the backs of PepsiCo and Theo Muller," Hyde said. "We'll eventually have a production facility in there. It's a great asset to have in our community."

Stein, who is also a county legislator, agreed.

"It’s an asset that continues that get a lot of traction," Stein said. "I’m glad it’s in DFA’s hands. It’s the largest dairy cooperative in the nation. As a member, when a deal is worked out, whomever or whatever it’s going to be, it's going to be good for all milk producers in the area one way or another because it’s still milk."

May 9, 2017 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Eco, John Kennedy School, schools, education, news, GCEDC.

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With song and dance, Mr. Eco entertained students at John Kennedy School this morning, providing lessons along the way about the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

The event was sponsored by the Building Technologies Division at Siemens and hosted in conjunction with the fourth-grade innovators' STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming at John Kennedy School and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Mr. Eco uses hip-hop, sing-along, dance and between-song patter to emphasize the active role people play in creating a sustainable environment, decreasing energy usage, increasing recycling, and working to keep communities free of litter. He has performed for more than 135,000 children across the United States, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, St. Lucia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

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May 5, 2017 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. Meanwhile, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors approved revolving loan funds for capital projects at the Batavia Brewing Company and Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC.

Genesee Valley Transportation will invest approximately $1 million to expand its dry dock facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy. The expansion project will help retain 10 jobs.

“GVT is a critical component of the region’s transportation infrastructure,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “This infrastructure is another asset that our sales and marketing team can utilize to sell and promote the region for economic development opportunities.”

The GGLDC Board approved requests for two loans from its revolving loan program.

The Batavia Brewing Company requested a $150,000 loan from the Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund (Redevelopment Loan Fund) to assist with its $3.6 million rehabilitation project at the historic Newbury building in Downtown Batavia. The company will convert the upper floors to apartments, create a brewing area in the basement, and build a taproom and restaurant as well as incubator space for FreshLAB on the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associates LLC received approval for a $50,000 loan as part of a $275,000 business project. It is a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada.

“The revolving loan program continues to provide our small businesses opportunities to expand and grow,” said Thomas H. Felton, GGLDC chairman. “It is an important resource our agency can provide to our small business sector, which is the backbone of our regional economy.”

The GCEDC and GGLDC board meetings were conducted on May 4 in the Innovation Zone at 99 MedTech Drive in Batavia.

May 3, 2017 - 11:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) and the Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC) Board of Directors will consider taking action on three projects at its meeting on May 4 in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, Batavia, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives to Genesee Valley Transportation for the proposed expansion of the company’s cross dock facility. The $1 million capital investment will expand the facility from 25,000 square feet to 37,160 square feet in order to meet increased customer demand. The estimated amount of incentives is $142,138 and for every $1 of public benefit the company is investing $4 into the local and regional economy.

Two companies are seeking to tap into the GGLDC’s revolving loan program. Batavia Brewing Company, located in the renovated Newberry building in Downtown Batavia, is requesting a $150,000 loan to rehabilitate the second and third floors for high-end apartments as part of a $2.6 million project. The basement will be converted into a brewing room and a bar and restaurant and space for FreshLAB tenants are planned for the first floor.

Liberti, Valvo & Associate LLC, a manufacturers' sales representative agency that specializes in quality safety and utility products in markets in New York, New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Ontario, Canada, is seeking a $50,000 loan for a $275,000 business project.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

May 1, 2017 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, environment, schools, education, business, news.

Press release:

International recording artist, environmentalist, and educator, Mr. Eco, will be visiting John Kennedy Primary School on Tuesday, May 9th at 9:30 a.m. for a special performance. Mr. Eco combines hip hop music with lyrics that inspire children to be environmentally conscientious.

The event is being sponsored by the Building Technologies Division at Siemens and hosted in conjunction with the fourth-grade innovators STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programing at John Kennedy School and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC).

Mr. Eco’s songs emphasize the active role we all have in creating a sustainable culture, decreasing energy usage, increasing recycling, and working to keep communities free of litter. He has performed for more than 135,000 children across the United States, Canada, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, St. Lucia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

“Conveying how important it is to take care of our environment to children at a young age is critically important,” said Christopher Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

“We want to ensure that our students develop environmentally friendly habits early on and we are really looking forward to having Mr. Eco teach them this in such a fun way. We are also very proud of our fourth-grade innovators program and the STEAM course work they have completed this year, so this will be a natural extension of what these students have been learning.”

Siemens’ sponsorship of the concert is in keeping with its support of student achievement, STEAM and sustainability.

“We are excited to honor the students at John Kennedy and the leadership at Batavia City School District for their outstanding accomplishments this year,” said Joseph Peters, Northeast zone manager, Siemens’ Building Technologies Division.     

“An important component of economic development is mitigating the impact of construction projects and other infrastructure work on the surrounding environment,” said Chris Suozzi, vice president of Business Development at GCEDC.

“We need to prepare the future workforce of our county and region to understand this delicate balance so that we can continue growing the economy while protecting the environment.”

For more information about Mr. Eco please visit www.mreco.org.

April 24, 2017 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that William Kent Inc. in Stafford will conduct an auction for items in vacant structures on the site of STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park. The items to be auctioned are from 6758 Allegany Road; 6725 Crosby Road; and, 6840 Crosby Road. 

The auction will be held online from April 27 through May 2.  All items purchased must be removed from the properties by May 12.  The auction will precede asbestos removal and demolition of the structures.

The agreement between the GCEDC and William Kent Inc. states that the auction company will receive 10-percent commission of the sale of all items. William Kent Inc. also may deduct their fee from the gross sales receipts resulting from the sale of the items. The notice of the auction was published in The Batavia Daily News, Genesee Valley PennySaver (Oatka and Batavia editions) and the Lake Country PennySaver.

“There are items in the vacant structures that have some value and funds from the online auction will be used to mitigate costs associated with preparing the site for development,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president, GCEDC.

Since 1970, William Kent Inc. has conducted thousands of auctions across upstate New York from farm and commercial properties to estates and antiques.

For more information about the online auction please visit www.williamkentinc.com.

April 20, 2017 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, batavia, Ellicott Station, news, corfu, pembroke, Yancy's Fancy.

Members of the County Legislature expressed support yesterday for two projects that will need some financial backing to move forward.

Mark Masse, VP of operations for Genesee County Economic Development Center, presented the projects to the Ways and Means Committee. There was no formal vote, just a sense of the committee that he should come back at a later date with formal resolutions for the Legislature to vote on.

The first proposal is loan/grant support for Ellicott Station, the proposed brewery, tap room and beer garden at the former Della Penna building on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

GCEDC is proposing using the local development corporation's revolving loan program to provide $210,000 in assistance. Half of the funds would be a term loan, the other half would be a loan that would become a grant if specified project criteria are met.

The money originates from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The brewery and tap room -- a $700,000 project overall -- is the anchor tenant of the $15 million Ellicott Station renovation, and is anticipated to create 15 full-time equivalent jobs, with 75 percent of the jobs going to low- to moderate-income people.

In the past, similar programs have assisted Yancey's Fancy, O-AT-KA, and P.W. Minor.

While the Legislature must approve the loan/grant, the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. would administer the loan and monitor it for compliance.

The CDBG criteria require two public hearings, one before approval to consider whether other projects might be more worthy of the funds, and one during the project to take testimony on whether there are any violations of the program requirements.

The other project moving forward is an expansion of the sewer plant in Corfu. Right now it's processing 135,000 gallons of sewage per day, which is the plant's capacity.

The two travel plazas off the Thruway on Route 77 want to start using the facility and, more importantly, Yancey's Fancy, with production facilities on Main Road and a new one just down the street, wants to expand capacity. 

GCEDC has already approved a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) for the expansion, but the lack of capacity at the Corfu plant is holding up the project.

The expansion would consist of adding two processing units capable of handling 75,000 gallons per day (the twin units are needed so use can be rotated for cleaning and maintenance) at a cost of $2.7 million.

The county and school district would be asked to give up some tax revenue (for the county, about $272,000 over 11 years) to help fund the project. The Town of Pembroke currently has a zero-rate property tax, so its share of funding would only kick in if it passed a property tax over the next 11 years.

The travel plazas would pay about $1 million in hook-up fees, the GGLDC has already committed $100,000 to design and engineering plus another $40,000 a year over 11 years, and the balance of about $500,000 would be covered by grants.

The expansion would create 15 new jobs, Masse said.

Legislator Mike Davis, who works in the dairy industry, pointed out how important this project is. Yancey's Fancy's parent company is based in Pennsylvania and has already looked at expanding in that state. The plan here is to expand the original production facility on Main Road by 6,000 square feet and increase production of natural cheese.

The other Pembroke facility is used for processing cheese.

Dairy farmers are finding there is a local shortage of milk processing facilities, so the expansion will help local dairy farmers, Davis said. 

"I would say this is important to us all the way around," Davis said.

April 14, 2017 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in START-UP Genesee, batavia, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

The next START-UP Genesee Think and Drink event will take place at Genesee Community College (GCC) featuring small business resources and access to capital specialists. The FREE event is the fourth of series of networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and small business professionals. The event hosted by GCC will take place in Room T119 from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.

The program will include remarks by the following:

  • Barb Shine, a leadership development trainer and serial entrepreneur. Shine will offer highlights of GCC’s upcoming Small Business Ownership Series, a program recommended for all entrepreneurs as well as current managers of small business.
  • Peter M. Casey, Esq., who is a START-UP Genesee sponsor and partner at DelPlato Casey Law LLP and Batavia Development Corporation Board officer, will address legal considerations when starting a business.
  • Leanna DiRisio, The Hidden Door owner, and Sam Campanella, certified business adviser for the Small Business Development Center, will share their stories about starting and growing a business.

“The course was intentionally designed for the busy self-starter who might be wondering where to begin or for the early stage operator needing a little more guidance,” Shine said. “Our goal is to shape an action plan for your business initiative.”

“It’s vital to consider the business structure as you enter a venture and equally critical to protect your assets,” said Casey.

Representatives from local banking institutions will be on hand and other creative lending sources will be on display.

START-UP Genesee is intended to assist all types of businesses from early stage planning to site selection, access to capital and product development or diversification.

The Think and Drink series is sponsored by:

  • Canandaigua National Bank
  • Tompkins Bank of Castile Insurance Agencies
  • Feed Maxick CPAs
  • Merrill Lynch of Batavia
  • University at Buffalo New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics, Life Sciences and Material Informatic
  • Del Plato Casey LLP
April 11, 2017 - 11:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, wny stamp, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced a new round of bids for site work at STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids was published April 11.

The work will include: asbestos abatement and demolition of a former two-story residence at 6758 Alleghany Road; a former two-story residence at 6725 Crosby Road; a former one-story residence at 840 Crosby Road; and, two barns and removal of debris from a structure that was a former residence.

The bids will be unsealed and read at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, located at 99 Medtech Drive in Batavia. Bids also can be accessed by contacting Debbie Button-Vanderwall (585-402-7511) from Clark Patterson Lee, which is the engineering firm overseeing the bidding process.

“While we will not be conducting a pre-bid meeting; those interested in submitting a bid can arrange for a site visit to see the structures,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “It also should be noted that for this specific work the Project Labor Agreement will not be applicable.”

March 28, 2017 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC)  will take action on three projects at the Board’s meeting on Thursday, March 30.

Coach Tony's, a specialty sauce food processor, is seeking to build a new 5,000-square-foot building on three acres within Apple Tree Acres. The company has been operating out of a leased facility in the Town of Bergen. Coach Tony’s is requesting that the GCEDC Board accept an application for sales tax, mortgage tax and property tax abatements. 

The board also will consider approving a final resolution for tax exemptions in the City and Town of Batavia for O-AT-KA.  In 2016, O-AT-KA made a capital investment of approximately $20.9 million for a 200,000-square-foot warehouse expansion. The capital cost increased $850,000 and as a result the sales tax increased $68,000. 

Finally, the Board will consider a final resolution for approval of a GAIN Loan Fund for Jr. Maple, which owns and operates a maple syrup production farm in Batavia. The farm started with 800 taps, and has grown to 4,800 taps in just three years. The company is seeking a GAIN! Loan fund of $30,000 to purchase a more energy-efficient boiling system to enhance its operations.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public and will take place in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 30th.

March 20, 2017 - 1:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) today announced that bids for infrastructure work at STAMP have been released. A legal notice announcing the bids will be published March 20.

The GCEDC also will host a pre-bid conference on March 29 at 10 a.m. at the MedTech Centre’s Innovation Zone so that interested parties can ask questions about specifications for the bids and other relevant information, including MWBE requirements and the Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

“We are extremely aware of the fact that the funding for the infrastructure work involves taxpayer money and as such this is going to be an extremely transparent process,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “We fully anticipate having shovels in the ground in a couple of months.”

Clark Patterson Lee is issuing the bids and will manage construction inspection for Phase I work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The engineering firm will also be issuing bids in the near future and managing construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of routes 63 and 77. 

The firm will review the bids for the road and water infrastructure work and make recommendations to the GCEDC Board for approval.

March 3, 2017 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, STAMP, business, news.

Staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center responded to 120 leads of businesses looking for locations to set up new facilities, CEO Steve Hyde told members of the County Legislature during his annual review of the agency's progress before the Ways and Means Committee.

The pipeline of high-tech businesses that are looking for the kind of location the STAMP project in Alabama provides includes at least two "whales," Hyde said.

That has kept staff busy, especially in a year when work continues to prepare STAMP for ground breaking this spring.

"We're one of the few counties in the state with lots of sites to choose from," Hyde said.

Those include not only STAMP but the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Apple Tree Acres, Buffalo East, Gateway II, Upstate Med-Tech, Oatka Hills and now the Le Roy Food and Tech Park.

"Our body of work is as big as it's ever been at the agency," Hyde said.

It was a tepid year for job growth, Hyde said, and uncertainty around the Federal election in 2016 had many businesses sitting on their hands waiting to see what happened, but he thinks Genesee County is well positioned to move forward in the new era of technology-led growth.

While technology jobs tend to optimize for efficient production, there will be opportunities for people who want to live and work in Genesee County.

"You've got to go after these high-tech jobs because they're good paying, well-paying jobs for kids from high school degrees and technical training all the way up to PhDs," Hyde said. "They don't create as many jobs per square foot, but they create a lot of jobs for what we're used to in Genesee County."

This year will be a big year for implementation, Hyde said, especially on STAMP, with the beginning of a phased approach to a $40 million investment in roads, water, sewer, gas and electric at the site.

The agency is awaiting federal approval of a natural gas pipeline project that has apparently been delayed by the transition of White House administrations.

"There are not enough sitting commissioners Federal Energy Regulatory Committee to approve our little pipeline with natural gas," Hyde said. "Of course, they can approve the Dakota Pipeline but not that little stuff. That didn't get done."

There's also a delay in Department of Energy funding assistance for 1366 Technologies and without securing that funding, 1366 has delayed its own announcement of when it will be breaking ground on its solar wafer manufacturing facility in Alabama.

Meanwhile, to help support STAMP with a qualified labor force, GCEDC is working with area colleges and universities on a program called STEM to STAMP, which will provide course work suitable for the kind of jobs expected to be created at STAMP.

There's also a lot of interest at area high schools in filtering that coursework down to that level of education, including at Pembroke, Oakfield-Alabama, Batavia, and Byron-Bergen.

"We're all talking about, 'How can we take this model where we can take this curriculum that's developed by universities and colleges and bring pieces of that course work down into our secondary schools?' " Hyde said.

Given the potential of STAMP to create 11,500 good-paying jobs in high tech, Hyde said the agency continues to push state and federal officials for support.

"We're not getting there unless we continue to find ways to secure infrastructure funding, to expand the capacity, so I can go out and sell them and try to bag the big whale," Hyde said.

The GCEDC will host its annual meeting at noon today at Batavia Downs.

March 3, 2017 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Valley Transportation, GCEDC, batavia, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) voted to accept an application for assistance from Genesee Valley Transportation at the board’s meeting on March 2. GVT is looking to add approximately 12,000 square feet to its cross-dock facility in the City of Batavia because of increased customer demand.

In 2010, the GCEDC provided assistance to GVT for the construction of a 25,000-square-foot dock facility where rail cars are loaded and unloaded and then product is transferred to tractor-trailers.  The warehouse features a 280-square-foot indoor rail siding, 27-foot-high ceilings and 22,000 square feet of floor space. GVT is investing $1.011 million to expand the facility and will retain 10 jobs in the process.

“One of the attractions of doing business in Genesee County and Batavia is easy access to transportation routes and GVT provides just that to customers that rely on rail to ship their products,” said Paull Battaglia, chairman, GCEDC.

For every one dollar of investment through the expansion project, it is estimated that there will be a four dollar return. Since the incentives total more than $100,000 a public hearing must be conducted.

February 28, 2017 - 1:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, byron-bergen, schools, education, news, business, GCEDC.

Press release:

When members of the Class of 2018 graduate from Byron-Bergen and Le Roy Central school districts next June, their high school transcripts will include a certificate, endorsed by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, indicating completion of a training program in professional skills.

With support from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation and the America’s Best Communities grant, a timely program is being developed in the two districts to provide graduating seniors with a repertoire of skills that employers perceive as lacking in the majority of first-time job applicants.

“We are constantly looking for strategies to develop our local workforce in preparation for emerging career opportunities,” said John Jakubowski, GCEDC Workforce Development consultant. “Honing professional skills gives our students the edge in a competitive market.”

Professional skills, sometimes referred to as “soft” skills, include effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, critical observation, and conflict resolution. While they may be difficult to quantify, their absence is obvious and problematic for conducting business efficiently and professionally.

“Our students are developing a growth mindset as early as elementary school,” said Byron-Bergen Superintendent Mickey Edwards. “We reinforce the belief throughout all grades that intelligence and character can be developed and that human potential really is without limits.

"With this new program for seniors on their way out our doors to higher education, the service or employment, we are equipping them with a refinement of skills to position them for success in whatever route they take.”

The professional skills training will rely on the expertise of school counseling staff, the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Business Education coordinator, and local employers as guest presenters. 

“When our students can interact with a company president or a human resources manager from our geographical area, they not only learn the importance of professional skills, they also get a feel for the wide variety of opportunities that exist close to home," said incoming Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly.

"With the exciting initiatives transpiring in projects like the Le Roy Food & Tech Park, we want our graduates to be ready to take advantage of any career path that presents itself. But professional skills are universally in demand and will serve our children well for a lifetime.” 

While the professional skills training program is being designed specifically for Byron-Bergen and Le Roy high school seniors, the model is highly replicable and can be adapted easily in other districts.

February 27, 2017 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Bethany, business.

Press release:

The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation has appointed Genesee County Legislator Gregg Torrey to the organization’s Board of Directors. Torrey represents the towns of Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion. 

Torrey is a commercial real estate agent and licensed real estate appraiser across New York state and is the managing partner of Springbrooke Properties LLC.

“I look forward to applying my years of experience in real estate to enhance opportunities for development at the various industrial parks throughout the county and in particular our continued efforts to make STAMP shovel ready,” Torrey said.

Torrey is past president of the Batavia Development Corporation and past member of the City of Batavia Planning and Development Committee. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Genesee County Soil & Water Conservation District, Genesee Cancer Assistance and the Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union.

A 1994 graduate of Notre Dame High School, he graduated from Canisius College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA in Finance.

Torrey and his family reside in Bethany.

February 27, 2017 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, news, Le Roy, Le Roy Food & Tech Park.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) continues to pursue a $1.2 million phase one shovel-ready project to build a business park on a 75-acre parcel in the Town of Le Roy. Similar efforts in the towns of Batavia, Pembroke and Bergen have yielded major corporate investment. The plan for the GCEDC is to replicate this business attraction model in Le Roy.

The GCEDC has purchased the land for the project, requested a rezoning of the property from the Town of Le Roy and has received an award through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process administered by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for $420,000 to begin site engineering and infrastructure construction.

The GCEDC estimates that at full build out, the Le Roy Food & Tech Park will have approximately 600,000 square feet for office, advanced manufacturing and distribution/warehousing space that could employ as many as 1,000 people.

“The GCEDC has a proven track record in making sites shovel ready through smart investments and market these sites to businesses locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and we are confident that this can be accomplished in Le Roy,” said Genesee County Legislator Shelley Stein (Le Roy). 

“Collaboration is critical to this type of effort and it’s good to see how our local government leaders and economic development and education professionals are working together to make this project a reality,” said Genesee County Legislator Robert J. Basuch (Elba, Byron and Bergen).

“We continue to move forward with the GCEDC to make this site shovel ready,” said Le Roy Town Supervisor Stephen R. Barbeau. “We have the real potential to create new jobs, secure new investment and grow the tax base in our community.”

“We think our strategy of building a shovel-ready site in Le Roy will enhance market opportunities for existing buildings and infrastructure in the vicinity of the park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “This is similar to the development strategy deployed around the county where shovel-ready parks are located at the edge of population centers.”

The Le Roy Food & Tech Park is located on a 75-acre parcel on Route 19 and West Bergen Road in the Town of Le Roy bordering the Village of LebRoy. The GCEDC estimates that when developed it will be able to attract companies and investment to the site that will enable additional commercial infill into the Village.

To prepare the local workforce for these new jobs, the towns are partnering with Le Roy Central School and Byron-Bergen Central School through a Professional Skills Training program.  The program is being funded through a grant from America’s Best Communities award that the towns of Le Roy and Bergen won in 2015. 

Professional skills include various interpersonal skills such as how to interact with people, emotional intelligence, verbal communications skills and other skills to help people perform in the workplace. The lack of professional skills has been identified by employers as one of the biggest challenges for the next generation of workers. 

“We need to work together to not only bring new jobs to our community but also to provide the next generation of our workforce the tools to be successful once they graduate from school,” said Donald S. Cunningham, Town of Bergen supervisor.

“There are a number of exciting initiatives taking place in Bergen and Le Roy and this project has the potential to really have a positive impact on both communities,” said Anna Marie Barclay, Village of Bergen mayor.

February 23, 2017 - 2:57pm

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Sometime in 2017, there may be beer on tap in the former JJ Newberry building on Main Street, Downtown Batavia.

Matt Gray (top photo, pointing toward the back of the room to his partner in the Batavia Brewing Co. venture, Jon Mager) made the announcement during a Start Up Genesee event at the location yesterday, and said that the Fresh Labs concept for the Newberry building is ready to go forward.

The blueprints are in place, permits pulled and a contractor selected and Gray believes all of the work -- a brewery, a restaurant and two additional full kitchens for start-up restaurants along with seven apartments on the second and third floors -- will be completed by the end of the year.

The Fresh Labs concept was taken on by Gray and Mager in cooperation with the Batavia Development Corp. to help achieve several local goals, he said -- bring more people downtown, provide a way for aspiring restaurateurs to start their businesses and help the city retain some of the $28 million being spent by local residents on food and entertainment in Rochester and Buffalo. 

Gray said Fresh Lab will give people looking to break into the restaurant business a supportive environment throughout the process of developing a concept, getting it launched and helping it grow.

"We want to take the person who has the drive and the skill and work them through the point where they're ready to launch," Gray said. "We will give them direction and resources but then we don't walk way."

Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for BDC, said the BDC is working on a competition, sort of a taste challenge, as part of selecting the first two businesses that will be given space in Fresh Lab.

The building, which was a mortuary before it was Newberry's (it was Newberry's for 70 years), is three stories high with a large basement. Each level is 10,000 square feet. There will be seven studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. Those floors were once office space for doctors, lawyers and at one time, Batavia Area Jaycees, according to the sign on one door.

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Start Up Genesee is organized by Genesee County Economic Development Center and this was the initiative's third event. Bob Capurso was at the first, where he spoke with Chris Suozzi about the business idea he had: producing Boy Scout grave marker medallions. Suozzi, a VP with GCEDC, helped connect Capurso with advisors who were able to assist him in getting his business launched. He's gone from a concept six months ago, to a design to a prototype and now he's had the first 50 medallions produced and ready for sale. 

“My main goal on this is not to make a ton of money on this, but to get the commemoration out there to the people who earned it through their dedication to scouting,” he said.

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Another local start-up at the event was Eichenfeld LLC, makers of the game MöbileSchlägen. The company will hold a Kickstarter fundraising campaign this Saturday at City Slickers starting at 7 p.m.

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January 31, 2017 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Tencar, GCEDC, business, batavia.

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The GLOW region isn't exactly a hotbed of venture capital activity, so any founder might find it hard to get that first round of funding that is so critical to the success of a startup.

For a woman founder, statistically speaking at least, the odds of getting that early-stage seed backing is even higher. About 3 percent of all venture-backed companies are headed by female founders.

That makes Batavia's Georgann Carrubba pretty unique. She now has access to $200,000 in seed funding through Launch NY and Excell Partners.

Carrubba was awarded the first $100,000 last year in a startup competition hosted by Launch NY in Rochester. Yesterday, at a press conference at the Innovation Zone in the Med-Tech Center, Carrubba was able to announce that Launch NY and Excell have each agreed to put in another $50,000 apiece.

“We strongly believe our product will be life changing for colostomy and ileostomy patients,” Carrubba said. “These types of investments demonstrate we have a viable medical device that is close to being ready for pilot production. We are extremely grateful to Excell Partners and Launch New York for this investment in our company.”

Launch NY is a state-backed incubator for tech startups in WNY and Excell is venture capital fund created by the state.

The goal of both organizations is to identify promising startups that will be based in New York and have the potential to grow into big businesses that employ lots of people.

"We all know, economic development is a team sport and Georgann has a team behind her," said Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners. "We want to be the wind at her back and we want to see her succeed so that this same team is standing up together in the future ringing the bell at NASDAQ."

That kind of growth is certainly Carrubba's goal, who intends to keep her business based in Batavia and manufacture the device she's designed for colostomy and ileostomy patients that she believes will help them enjoy the kind of active lifestyle that can be difficult with current colostomy bags.

She calls her product Choice Cap. Yesterday (pictures below), she showed off the latest design iteration, which is slimmer and more functional that earlier versions.

With the $200,000 in funding, she can begin production and marketing, but to really grow the company, she will need to find second- and third-round investors.  

The latest round of funding comes from a state grant dedicated to funding women-owned startups and Mazzullo said Tencar is the perfect business to receive the fund's support.

"Tencar and Georgann exemplify -- are the poster child for -- why this fund was created," Mazzullo said. "It’s an opportunity to invest in very promising technologies in the region that are women-owned in an area that is going to have job creation. It hits all the high-water marks for what you want in economic development in our region -- promising technology, women-owned, job creation."

Carrubba, a nurse by profession, first came up with the idea for Choice Cap in 2011 and got serious about developing a business in 2014. It's been a long process, she said, but worth the effort. She believes she will make lives better for patients and employ more people locally.  

She's been through tons of meetings, presentations and planning to get to this early-stage funding level, but that's not unusual said Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY. In fact, it's normal.

"A reporter asked me, ‘well, it’s been a long time,’ and, (she replied) 'well, no not really,' " she said. "This is what it is like and a lot of people don’t realize it. Entrepreneurship has become such a cool thing for people to do, but the hard work, and the 24/7, and the angst and the ‘Can I make it through the next step?’ that is something people don’t appreciate fully.”

Carrubba said she knows she's not done with the hard work, but yesterday's announcement was a milestone in the process so far.

"I'm ecstatic," she said. "There are so many strong, qualified, educated people behind me. I could not be happier. It could not have played out any better."

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Theresa B. Mazzullo, CEO of Excell Partners

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Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY

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January 20, 2017 - 9:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in STAMP, GCEDC, Alabama, business.

What started over a decade ago as a concept to market a site for the emerging advanced manufacturing industry became a reality as the Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) approved contracts to prepare bids for infrastructure work at STAMP. The first phase of infrastructure funding is part of the $33 million allocated to STAMP --  -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park -- from the Buffalo Billion.

“This is a watershed moment for STAMP,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Paul Battaglia. “We are finally going to start putting shovels in the ground to begin the process of building a next-generation site to bring advanced manufacturing companies to our region.”

The board approved a contract for $380,000 to the engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection for Phase I and Phase II work for water infrastructure, including enhancements to the Town of Alabama water system. The board approved a second contract for $165,000 to Clark Patterson Lee to prepare bids and handle construction inspection on roadways within the STAMP site and the main entrance off of Route 77. The firm will oversee the drafting, issuance and review of the various bids for the road and water infrastructure work.

“It’s one thing to say to corporate site selectors and economic development officials that you have a site for potential development as opposed to having a site that is shovel ready with road and utility infrastructure already built,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “Our site immediately rises to the top of the list among those making decisions about where they are going to build the next new advanced manufacturing facility.”

It is anticipated that the bidding documents for the water and roadway will work be released in mid-February with actual work to begin on site in late spring.

The GCEDC board meeting was held on Thursday, Jan. 19.

January 18, 2017 - 3:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Pathway to Prosperity, GCEDC, batavia, news.

Press release:

The “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2), the program created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation (BDC) and the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) was showcased at the annual conference of the New York State Economic Development Council in Albany on Jan. 18.

Batavia City Manager Jason Molino, GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde, GCEDC Vice President Chris Suozzi and GCEDC Marketing Director Rachel Tabelski participated in the presentation at the conference to economic development officials from across New York State.

BP2 was conceived to pool resources in order to invest in distressed areas in the City of Batavia. The BP2 program will be implemented though PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating. B2P is supported by the redirection of 50 percent of new project PILOT payments.  

“This was a great opportunity to showcase what is really a unique economic development partnership that we hope other cities like Batavia could implement in partnership with their respective economic development agencies,” Molino said. “The Batavia Development Corporation is playing a key role in leading economic development efforts for the city and as a liaison with the GCEDC and others involved in this partnership.”

“The B2P initiative demonstrates the continued collaboration between the public and private sectors in Genesee County,” said Julie Pacatte, B2P economic coordinator. “It’s extraordinary that all levels of government in Genesee County recognize the importance and priority for the economic well-being of the city of Batavia. It’s a partnership that has already shown early returns.”

The first project to be supported by the B2P program is the $15 million redevelopment of the Ellicott Station site in Batavia. The development will include mixed-use residential, office and retail spaces; a brewery; small beverage warehouse and hops processing facility; entertainment and event area; outside seating; and integration of the new Ellicott Trail pedestrian pathway. The development is expected to create up to approximately 60 – 120 new jobs and approximately 120 jobs during construction. The developer is Savarino Companies in Buffalo.

 “The B2P will help our agency market and attract investment to the most economically distressed areas of the city,” Hyde said. “Through the Ellicott Station development, we have a tangible project to demonstrate the benefits of the B2P program to others interested in development opportunities in Batavia and Genesee County.”

To learn more about the City of Batavia’s Brownfield Opportunity Area, visit www.bataviaopportunity.com.

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