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Legislators say final state budget will include $33 million for development of STAMP project

By Howard B. Owens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hyde praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for backing STAMP.

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

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

“The commitment of $33 million in the state budget to the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the town of Alabama in Genesee County continues the significant momentum to bring the next generation of nanotechnology manufacturing to Western New York.

“To secure such support for what is truly a transformative economic development project for Buffalo and Rochester and all points between takes the work and dedication of so many people, but it starts with Governor Cuomo who has made the revitalization of the Western New York economy as one of his top priorities.

“We want to gratefully acknowledge the support of the New York State Senate and in particular Senators Michael Ranzenhofer and George Maziarz.  The Senate was there for STAMP at the very beginning and continues to be a great advocate.

“We also want to acknowledge the leadership of Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and the members of the Western New York Assembly delegation for their tireless work in advocating for STAMP.

“This effort would not have been possible without the support of our various partners, including organized labor and the dozens of trades unions who contacted the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader and the Assembly Speaker on behalf of STAMP.

“To our economic development partners at the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and Greater Rochester Enterprise to the leaders of the five community colleges in the region, including Erie Community, Finger Lakes Community, Genesee Community, Monroe Community and Niagara County Community colleges, we had a diverse and unified coalition of business, labor and higher education supporters to make this funding a reality.

“Finally, I want to acknowledge the support of the members of the Genesee County Legislature and in particular Chairman Ray Cianfrini as well the towns and villages of Genesee County, especially the town of Alabama. They all work extremely hard to make our region a better place to live and work.

“Our work at STAMP is just beginning but we have made great strides in just the last few weeks.  You only have to look down the thruway at Global Foundries to see first-hand the enormous economic benefits that the nano-technology industry is having in the Capital District.  If we can replicate that model at STAMP, then the Western New York economy will be transformed for prosperity for generations to come.”

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