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July 18, 2017 - 5:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, GCEDC, batavia, business, news, notify.

johnkanebhphoodjuly2017.jpg

(Photo of HP Hood Chairman John A. Kaneb taken this afternoon at his company's new processing facility in Batavia's Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.)

With existing plants at capacity and demand growing, HP Hood was looking for a facility the company could get up and running quickly for long-shelf-life dairy and nondairy products, said its Chairman John A. Kaneb today in an exclusive interview with The Batavian at the company's new processing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. 

The plant was built in 2012 for $206 million as a joint venture between PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group and became known as the Quaker Muller Dairy plant.

Now, it's the HP Hood plant, which Hood acquired June 30 from Dairy Farmers of America for $54 million.

Kaneb said Hood knows Upstate New York well -- with four existing plants -- and knew the area had a good supply of raw milk, so when the plant became available, Hood took a keen interest.

"This plant happens to be located fairly well for us -- not ideally -- but fairly well," Kaneb said.  "The availability of the plant, that overcame a lot of, let's say, whatever reluctance we would have because we have to do a lot of very expensive repurposing here. We're moving from a plant that was designed for mass production of lots of yogurt to two fluid products. So that there were some warts and such, but we're very happy to be here."

The staff at Genesee County Economic Development Center made the whole process easy, understood it needed to be expedited, and that added to Hood's interest in locating in Genesee County, Kaneb said.

"Your economic development people here are superb," Kaneb said. "I mean they really are good and they're knowledgeable and they're friendly to business. Hopefully, we will not disappoint them."

Scott Blake, senior vice president of operations for HP Hood, added that the GCEDC staff provided a wealth of information on the area, businesses, and people, which helped them get comfortable with the decision to open a plant here.

HP Hood has committed to creating 230 jobs at the plant. They will take on the original PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) agreement signed by Muller Quaker to receive $7 million in tax abatements over 10 years. The state is also providing a $2 million capital grant from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

If employment goals are met, Hood is also eligible for $5 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. 

The 170-year-old, Lynnfield, Mass.-based company is adding 100,000 square feet of refrigerated warehouse space to the plant, which is already 363,000 square feet. After the expansion, with retooling the plant, and the purchase price, Hood will have sunk nearly $200 million into the new facility by the time it goes into production in early 2019.

There has been a rumor recently that the Hood plant could eventually employ 500 people. That's too far down the road to think about, Kaneb said, and he doesn't want to promise that level of growth. He believes they will hit the 230 employee target, but in the first priority is hiring 140 people over the next 12 months.

"I think we're we're confident that it will be reached, but I don't want to get into when we get to 230 or 250 or whatever," Kaneb said. "As far as going beyond that, I hope so. I will tell you that the only other situation that's halfway comparable to this is a greenfield plant we built from the ground up in Winchester, Virginia. We built that in basically 2000 to 2001. Today, 17 years later, here it is employing about 600 people. This plant has the acreage and, et cetera, et cetera, to do something like that, but that took 17 years."

(For photos of the Winchester plant, click here.)

Kaneb is a former Navy man. He graduated from Harvard in 1956, before joining the Navy, with a bachelor's degree in Economics. He acquired a controlling interest in Gulf Oil, tripled its sales to $4.5 billion, and got out of the business in 2005.

The Kaneb family acquired HP Hood in 1985.

It was almost happenstance that the family got into the dairy business, Kaneb said. The only way to grow the oil business was through acquisition, and with growth opportunities limited, they were sitting on excess capital that needed to be put to work. Hood was a great brand and as a native New Englander, Kaneb grew up drinking HP Hood milk. So did his children. But the company had fallen on hard times.

"(Hood) was a company with a great reputation and a great name," Kaneb said. "It was in some difficulty. In fact, a lot of difficulty. As we looked at we thought it might benefit from management that was highly motivated and with energy, et cetera. We thought we could bring some money to the table. We said, 'you know this isn't the business we know but it doesn't look like a complex business. It looks like a basic blocking and tackling business.' "

Since the acquisition, HP Hood has grown to $2 billion in annual sales and has opened new facilities around the Northeast and around the country, such as Virginia, California and Minnesota.

Hood’s portfolio includes its own brands and licensed products. The familiar names include Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, Lactaid, Baileys Coffee Creamers, Hershey's Milk and Milkshakes, and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.

When the Kaneb family took over Hood, they replaced much of the management, though they also identified some bright young talent, such as Blake, Kaneb said. Since then, Hood's executive team has been stable.

"(Blake) is certainly one of those stars who could take on more responsibility," Kaneb said. "We found those who had the skills that have helped us build the company into what it is today," Kaneb said. "It's really common sense, frankly, having a true partnership with your employees. If you want to put a motto on it, how we as owners look at the business and the employees, is that 'You take care of us, we take care of you.' Very simple."

Kaneb said he thinks that approach has been good for the company and it's what potential employees can expect in Batavia.

"You take care of us, we take care of you," Kaneb repeated when asked about company culture. "I mean, do your job and do it well and then you'll find the company will appreciate it and take care of you. We prize low turnover and we have low turnover, I would say, very low turnover, at every level."

As for the kind of corporate citizen Hood will be in Batavia, Kaneb said getting involved in the community is something Hood will strive to do, but the first order of business is getting the plant into production.

"First of all, get our business set up," Kaneb said. "We need to get to the level of employees we need to get going. I would call that, from my Navy days, as the shakedown period. Then we can be open to being a reasonably active corporate citizen. I don't think it's a great idea for us to do anything but get ourselves comfortable here, with the employees we need, and get our production going and so on. That should be our sole activity for the foreseeable future."

July 15, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in HP Hood, batavia, business, GCEDC, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Public Notice:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the Genesee County Legislature will hold a public hearing on the submission of an application for Community Development Block Grant funding from the New York State Office of Community Renewal to provide financing to assist in the establishment of milk processing operations at the former Muller Quaker Dairy facility at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the Town of Batavia, New York by HP Hood LLC.  More detailed information regarding the project will be presented at the hearing.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that the public hearing will be held at the Old Courthouse, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY on the 19th day of July, 2017 at 5:30 PM. All persons who wish to speak will be heard. Written comments are invited and will be accepted upon delivery to: Clerk, Genesee County Legislature, 7 Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020 prior to the hearing. The hearing location is in compliance with accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 10, 2017 - 9:32pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Andrew Cuomo, batavia, GCEDC, business.

Announcement: 

From Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:

Fellow New Yorker,

New York is one of the largest dairy producers in the country, being home to nearly 5,000 dairy farms and more than 600,000 dairy cows.

And the majority of the farms in the state are family-run operations -- that's why it's crucial the state invest in hard working New York families and ensure they have the support they need to succeed.

Tomorrow, I am announcing the details of a new partnership that will create hundreds of new jobs at an idle dairy facility in New York.

Join me tomorrow, July 11th at 12:30 p.m. as I unveil the details of this new investment.

WHAT: Announcing new investment in New York dairy industry
WHEN: Tuesday, July 11th at 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park
5140 Ag Park Drive, Batavia 14020

Thank you for your support, ever upward.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

July 7, 2017 - 5:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, bergen, Bethany, batavia, news, notify.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider approving incentives for three projects at its meeting on Thursday, July 13, in the Innovation Zone board room on 99 Medtech Drive, starting at 4 p.m.

The Board will vote on whether to approve incentives for a $7.1 million expansion for a new 40,000-square-foot warehouse and service center for West Seneca-based Freightliner Western Star.

The expansion will create 24 new jobs and the center will be located adjacent to the New York State Thruway and next door to the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP).

The GVEP graduates are seen as an "ideal" workforce for the new facility. Freightliner Western Star is seeking approximately $662,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The popular Coach Tony’s, which makes a wide variety of food sauces, is seeking to expand its operations in the Town of Bergen. The company is expanding and planning on constructing a 5,000-square-foot building on three acres at Apple Tree Acres. The project will create three new jobs. Coach Tony’s is seeking approximately $50,000 in sales, mortgage and property tax exemptions.

The third project for consideration by the GCEDC is a $170,749 GAIN! loan fund for First Light Creamery in East Bethany. The loan will be used to assist with its existing production of goats' milk cheese from local distribution to regional distribution by adding to their barn, and associated infrastructure, to house more goats.

The GCEDC Board meeting is open to the public.

June 20, 2017 - 8:46am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Station, savarino companies, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center will hold a public hearing at 4 this afternoon to consider financial incentives for the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in downtown Batavia. The public hearing will take place at City Hall.

The approximate 64,000-square foot development will be a mix use of 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 $17.6 million project is estimated to create up to 60 good paying full-time jobs.

The proposed incentives include $897,293 in sales tax savings, $128,232 mortgage tax savings and $537,398 in property tax savings. 

The project is being done through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program which was created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC.

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 increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating. 

Supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites. 

June 16, 2017 - 2:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, GCEDC, business, batavia.

Press release:

Genesee Community College's Board of Trustees Monday evening approved its first-ever application for participation in the Start-Up New York program, which permits eligible companies to operate tax-free on or near SUNY campuses for 10 years. Trustees approved Tencar Inc. for participation, a medical equipment manufacturing firm founded in 2011 by Georgann M. Carrubba, of Basom, a 2003 graduate of GCC's Nursing program.

Tencar will operate in the Genesee County Economic Development Center's Med Tech Park, located on the south side of Hawley Drive, across from the Batavia Campus. Genesee Community College designated the Med Tech Park as part of the Start-Up NY zone two years ago.

The Start-Up NY application will now be forwarded to the New York State Empire Development Corporation and State University of New York for review and final approval. Reid J. Smalley, executive director of Workforce Development, said that approval may come within the next 60 days, permitting Carrubba to begin operating in the Med Tech Park.

Carrubba, who serves as CEO of the company, developed and patented an innovative ostomy device that prevents awkward leakage and odor among patients with colostomies and related conditions. The product is expected to go to market later this year. Product components will be 100-percent made in the United States, and Carrubba has concluded an agreement with the 3M Company to use its products in the manufacturing of TenCar devices.

The Start-Up NY program is open to new or expanding businesses that align their operations or products with academic disciplines taught at SUNY campuses and some private college and university campuses. Genesee Community College students in the Nursing, Fashion Design and Business programs will have the opportunity to learn product design, customer service, business operations, and entrepreneurship principles from TenCar. The company hopes to make internships available to GCC students and hire GCC graduates in the future.

Prior to the Board's decision, the College's Start-Up NY Committee scrutinized the company's plans and operations, and determined that the company's presence in the GCC Start-Up NY Zone would benefit the College and its students.

President James M. Sunser said that he and the staff were proud of Carrubba, and believed that TenCar, a graduate-founded company, is an especially appropriate choice for Start-Up NY participation. Several trustees praised Carrubba and said they believe her company's innovative product will make a significant difference in the lives of ostomy patients.

June 15, 2017 - 5:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in business, STAMP, GCEDC, construction bids.

Press release:

The process for the construction of infrastructure in and around the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) continues as the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced an advertisement for sealed bids for the construction of the STAMP main access road and widening of New York State Route 77/63.

Bids will be received by the agency up until 2 p.m. EST on June 27. 

The road work includes the construction of approximately 3,300 linear feet of new roadway and drainage for the STAMP main entrance between NYS Route 77/63 and Crosby Road, and an alternate bid that includes constructing a new northbound left turn lane on NYS Route 77/63, all located in the Town of Alabama.

“Bids for the road work are in addition to the bids that have been accepted , reviewed and awarded for water work to support STAMP,” said Mark Masse, senior vice president of operations at the GCEDC. “Over the summer we will see actual work being done to prepare the site which will only enhance the opportunities to market STAMP to emerging advanced technology manufacturing businesses.”

The issuing office for the road work bidding documents is Clark Patterson Lee, 186 N. Water St., Rochester (NY 14604). All inquiries should be made to Debbie Button-Vanderwall at [email protected] or at 585-402-7511. The bidding documents also can be viewed at this location on Monday-Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Only Written Requests For Information (RFI) will be accepted. If necessary, an Addendum will be issued by 5 p.m. EST on June 20. Requests should be made to Zach Anderson via email: [email protected] or facsimile: 585-232-5836.

This project is partially funded by Empire State Development. Prospective bidders should review the Empire State Development requirements included in the contract documents. The project also is subject to a Project Labor Agreement.

About the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC): The GCEDC is the primary economic development agency in Genesee County. 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 eight 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.

June 8, 2017 - 3:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, business, batavia.

Press release:

The marketing efforts of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) were recognized during the New York State Economic Development Council’s (NYSEDC) annual meeting in Cooperstown on May 24th and 25th.

The GCEDC received Certificates in Excellence in the categories of Multimedia Advertising and Printed & Electronic Newsletter and Honorable Mention in the Brochure and Annual Report categories.

The Multimedia Advertising Award is shared between the City of Batavia, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC. That award recognized the “Bet on Batavia” video produced in 2016 for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition

“We were very proud of the collaboration to produce the ‘Bet on Batavia’ video,” said Jason Molino, Batavia city manager. “We will once again utilize the video, and other social media platforms and strategies as we pursue funding from New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative."

“Collaboration is an extremely important component of economic development especially in presenting a unified vision for a community and region,” said Pierluigi Cipollone, president of the Batavia Development Corporation. “In this instance, the video told a powerful story about the uniqueness and pride we have in our city.”

The NYSEDC annually recognizes the economic development marketing efforts of its member organizations.

“These awards demonstrate creativity, impact, and visual appeal by our members who are effectively marketing their communities for economic development purposes,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of the New York State Economic Development Council.

“Economic development is extremely competitive with regions, states and countries competing against each other, so it is imperative that our marketing materials stand out among those making investment decisions in Batavia and Genesee County,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO, GCEDC.

“Our marketing team under Rachel Tabelski and the marketing professionals at our economic development partners do a tremendous job in distinguishing our region through the materials they collaborate on to produce.”

NYSEDC has been the state’s principle organization representing economic development professionals, businesses, and colleges and universities for more than 40 years.

June 2, 2017 - 11:04am
posted by Billie Owens in business, news, GCEDC, STAMP.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved the selection of LeChase Construction Services of Rochester at the agency’s June 1 board meeting. The GCEDC Board approved the selection based on the recommendation of the members of the GCEDC STAMP Committee.

The $3.18 million project includes the trenching and installation of approximately 50,000 square feet of pipe that will extend from the Town of Oakfield to the site of the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP). The work also will include connecting some households on Church Street and Maple Road in the Town of Alabama.

The project is being funded through $33 million allocated to STAMP by New York State to make the 1,250 mega-site shovel ready for advanced manufacturing operations, including 1366 Technologies.

“It’s exciting to see the first substantive infrastructure work that starts the process of making STAMP a shovel ready site,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “It really enhances our opportunities to market the site to those who are in the planning process of identifying shovel ready sites to build the next generation of advanced manufacturing facilities.”

June 2, 2017 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, business, GCEDC, Ellicott Station, savarino companies.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) accepted an application for assistance from the Savarino Companies for the redevelopment of Ellicott Station in Downtown Batavia at the agency’s June 1 board meeting.

The approximate 64,000-square-foot development will be a mix use of 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 $17.6 million project is estimated to create up to 60 good-paying full-time jobs. For every dollar of public sector investment there is an anticipated private sector investment of approximately $25.

The project is being done through the “Batavia Pathway to Prosperity” (BP2) program which was created through an inter-municipal agreement between the City of Batavia, Genesee County, the Batavia City School District, the Batavia Development Corporation and the GCEDC. 

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 increment financing (PIF), referred to as the “BP2 fund,” which is the first of its kind in New York State where all local taxing jurisdictions are participating.

Supported by the redirection of 50% of new project PILOT payments, the BP2 fund will play a critical role in generating development within the Batavia Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA), a 366-acre area within the City of Batavia containing five strategic redevelopment sites.  

”The collaboration among various government jurisdictions is simply smart economic development,” said Paul Battaglia, GCEDC Board chairman. “The BP2 program is an opportunity to attract development and jobs to the urban core of Genesee County and just as important, create vibrant neighborhoods in economically disadvantaged areas of the city.”

May 31, 2017 - 1:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Station, batavia, business, news, GCEDC.

As anticipated, Buffalo-based Savarino Companies has applied for financial assistance from the Genesee County Economic Development Center to help offset the costs of environmental cleanup and redevelopment of the long-vacant Della Penna property on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia.

The GCEDC board will consider the application for the $17.6 million rehabilitation project at its meeting tomorrow.

Savarino is planning to replace most of the structures on the property and replace them with a 64,000-square-foot development that will include apartments, office space and a brewery and restaurant.

Once completed, there will be 47 market-rate apartments on the border of Downtown Batavia and businesses employing at least 60 full-time workers.

The terms of the application were negotiated by the city and GCEDC during the process of attracting a developer for the brownfield project and include $897,293 in sales tax abatement on materials during construction, relief on $128,232 in mortgage taxes and $537,398 in property taxes.

Savarino has already announced an anchor tenant for the Ellicott Station project, Resurgence Brewing Company of Buffalo, which plans to use the facility to increase production of a new product, a sour beer, as well as serve on tap its full line of beers that have proven popular in Buffalo.

The project is part of the Batavia Pathway to Prosperity (BP2) initiative, which is a cooperative endeavor between the city, GCEDC, Batavia Development Corp., City Schools and Genesee County.

BP2 was created to offer a tax abatement known as a PIF (PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes incremental financing), which is the first of its kind in New York. Half of the PIF payments will be used to help fund future brownfield redevelopment in Batavia, with the other half being returned to the original taxing jurisdictions.

The Batavia Opportunity Area (the brownfield redevelopment area) covers 366 acres in the city's core and contains five strategic redevelopment sites.

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.”

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