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June 27, 2022 - 5:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in New York Bus Sales, GCEDC, business, news, notify, batavia.

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Press release:

New York Bus Sales broke ground on a $4.5 million multi-use 20,000 sq. ft. facility today at West Saile Drive and Call Parkway in the town of Batavia. The facility will include office and training space and repair and storage areas.  It is intended to support school districts and bus operators across Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions convert their fleets from diesel fuel to all-electric.  The project has also pledged to create 24 full-time jobs.

Based in Chittenango, New York Bus Sales is one of the largest Blue Bird school bus dealers in North America. The company’s facility will service customers, including school districts to help transition their bus fleets from diesel fuel engines to all-electric bus fleets. New York has mandated that the approximately 50,000 school buses in the state by 100 percent electric by 2035.

“New York Bus Sales is excited to be leading the charge on school bus electrification in New York State and truly appreciates everyone at the Genesee County Economic Development Center and National Grid for helping make this first-of-its-kind project a reality,” said Sean Finnerty, President, New York Bus Sales.  “As the state begins converting its school bus fleets to all-electric, New York Bus Sales is proud to be at the forefront of this very exciting journey and looks forward to helping school districts across Western New York make the transition to all-electric school buses.  Genesee County’s favorable business climate and its central location between Buffalo and Rochester made Batavia an ideal location for our new facility.”

The GCEDC board of directors approved a request by New York Bus Sales for approximately $400,000 in incentives and National Grid assisted in the installation of charging stations and technology as part of the company’s DCFC Per-Plug Incentive Program.

“New York Bus Sales is yet another project as part of the emerging green economy in Genesee County as evidenced by the current construction of Plug Power’s green hydrogen facility at STAMP, the opening of a research and development facility for more efficient and renewable wind turbine bases in Bergen, and various solar projects across the county as well as other projects in the pipeline,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

“Our Make-Ready Program provides a range of technical assistance and funding for electric vehicle charging projects across our upstate New York service territory,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “Working with New York Bus Sales is a great example of a company making a commitment toward innovation and sustainability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions while supporting New York State’s climate emission mandates.”

One of the first electric school buses will be delivered this summer to the Lake Shore School District in Erie County. The school district received funding from the Truck Voucher Incentive Program through NYSERDA. Electric buses are nearly identical to diesel engine buses, with the new EV vehicles have a quieter engine along with more technological capabilities and most importantly, significantly reducing emissions.

Top photo: Ken Kujawa, WNY regional director for National Grid, Greg Post, Town of Batavia supervisor, Shelley Stein, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature, Assemblyman Steve Hawley, State Senator Ed Rath, GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde, and John Johnston, VP of New York Bus Sales. 

Photos by Howard Owens

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Steve Hyde

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John Johnston

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Greg Post

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Shelley Stein

June 21, 2022 - 5:47pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, BOCES, news.

Press release:

Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be hosting a free three-day dairy processing bootcamp at the Genesee Valley BOCES from June 28th through June 30th for Genesee County high school students.  The program is designed for career ready individuals seeking opportunities in the dairy manufacturing and dairy processing industries. The program starts each day at 8:00 AM and concludes at 3:30 p.m.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center and the Workforce Development Institute provided the funding for the program. The bootcamp program will connect high school graduates with local manufacturers such as HP Hood, O-AT-KA Milk Products and Upstate Milk Cooperative in Batavia, and Yancey’s Fancy in Pembroke.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our local high school graduates to get on a successful career pathway without having to immediately go to college and perhaps avoid incurring student loan debt,” said Chris Suozzi, Vice President of Business & Workforce Development, Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). “The participants will be receiving top tier instruction from Cornell University which will include hands-on training simulation experience, plant tours and more.”

There are currently over 100 available dairy manufacturing and dairy processing positions at these Genesee County businesses with average starting salaries of approximately $20 per hour. Human resource representatives from the various companies will be on hand to explain career path options, job duties and the application process.

“We have instructors with years of experience in the dairy field and bring an extensive amount of knowledge to this program,” said Cornell Dairy Processing & Marketing Specialist, Anika Zuber Gianforte. “The dairy industry is in need of workers, this bootcamp is the perfect opportunity for someone who is on the search for a well-paying and debt-free start to their career.”

To register for the upcoming Cornell in High School Dairy Processing Bootcamp visit https://cals.cornell.edu/dairy-processing-bootcamp.

Students must be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree to participate. Additional information is available atgcedc.com/workforceprograms.

June 10, 2022 - 5:46pm
posted by Press Release in Brickhouse Commons, J&R Fancher Property, GCEDC, pembroke, news.

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Press release:

J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC broke ground this afternoon on their 14,000 sq. ft. mixed-use development in the town of Pembroke at Buffalo East Technology Park. The 2-story mixed-use building will be built on 2.6 acres located less than a mile from Interstate 90.

The $1.7 million investment includes 6 market-rate 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments on the second floor, and a 7,000 "vanilla" box interior space to attract commercial tenants.

“Genesee County continues to support housing growth and community investment and we are very excited to support their vision through our development,” said J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC CEO Randy Fancher. “Our development is in a strategic location that we are confident can help attract prospective workers to one of the many businesses in the surrounding area, including the existing businesses in the technology park.”

Local officials praised J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC’s investment, citing the opportunities revealed in various housing studies. The addition of market-rate housing for recent projects is a critical component to realizing the benefits of economic development in Genesee County, said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.

“We’re very excited to work with a local homegrown company that values our community and vision of the future,” said Hyde. “With J&R Fancher Property Holdings and other significant investments of late in our housing stock, we’re seeing investments that are essential to our growth and the increasing number of career opportunities at companies across the county.”

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service.

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June 3, 2022 - 3:53pm
posted by Press Release in O-AT-KA Milk, business, batavia, GCEDC.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved an agreement supporting O-AT-KA Milk Products LLC’s 3,200 sq. ft. facility expansion in the town of Batavia at its board meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

O-AT-KA Milk Products proposed $3.1 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions. The project is proposing to create two new jobs at a leading employer in Genesee County’s food and beverage manufacturing ecosystem.

O-AT-KA Milk Products has been a part of the Genesee County community since 1959. Some of their products include dairy-based beverages, evaporated milk, butter, milk powder, and other dairy products. This investment allows O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC to diversify its offerings of dairy-based beverages.

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC requested approximately $208,109 in property, sales, and mortgage tax benefits. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local fiscal benefits over 10 years from project-related payroll and increased tax revenues, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

May 31, 2022 - 6:12pm
posted by Press Release in O-AT-KA Milk, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider O-AT-KA Milk Products LLC’s 3,200 sq. ft. facility expansion in the town of Batavia at its board meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

The proposed $3.1 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase the capacities of cream-based liquor beverages and future expansions. The project is proposing to create two new jobs at a leading employer in Genesee County’s food and beverage manufacturing ecosystem.

O-AT-KA Milk Products has been a part of the Genesee County community since 1959. Some of their products include dairy-based beverages, evaporated milk, butter, milk powder, and other dairy products. 

“We are pleased to see O-AT-KA Milk Products’ continued growth and increasing capacity for value-added products,” said GCEDC President & CEO Steve Hyde. “The success of O-AT-KA Milk Products and our entire food and beverage cluster has produced outstanding benefits to our agricultural community and the nearly 1,000 workers employed in Batavia, the Dairy Hub of the Northeast.”

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC has requested approximately $208,109 in property, sales, and mortgage tax. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

A public hearing for the initial application was held in the town of Batavia on May 23.

The June 2, 2022, GCEDC Board meeting will be held remotely at 4 p.m. A livestream and on-demand recording of the meeting also will be available at www.gcedc.com.

May 9, 2022 - 12:25pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, water, news.

Press release:

Genesee County officials announced that approximately $3.5 million in funding has been secured for three water projects across the county.

Genesee County received an inter-municipal grant for $1.213 million from the New York State Environmental Facilities Fund for remaining pump station upgrades related to the county’s Phase 2 Water Project.  The pump stations are located on North Road in Le Roy and in Scottsville, Riga, and on Morgan Road in Chili.  This funding completes Phase 2 construction and will increase water supply to Genesee County by 2 million gallons per day (MGD).

The City of Batavia received approximately $2.2 million in funding through the New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) also administered by the Environmental Facilities Fund. 

The funding will be used for upgrades at the City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant and is a joint project between the City of Batavia and Genesee County to help restore lost efficiency at the plant, which is needed to meet peak demands.

The Town of Alexander also received a grant of $132,000 to aid the construction of Water District #6.

Genesee County continues to seek federal and state funding to assist in the implementation of Phase 3 of the Countywide Water Program. Under the Master Plan developed for water, the Phase 3 project further increases regional supply by another 3.1 million gallons per day but, more importantly, replaces a threatened water supply. Phase 3 is currently estimated to cost $132 million.

“There is significant demand for water across the county among residents, the agricultural community, food processing and the advanced manufacturing sectors. Meeting that demand requires significant upgrades in infrastructure,” said Genesee County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.  “We have a solid plan to help us meet the demand. Now we need the funding.”

May 6, 2022 - 4:20pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors advanced 3 projects with proposed investments of more than $31.5 million in Genesee County at its board meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

The GCEDC Board of Directors accepted an initial resolution for La Fermière’s proposed $25 million project to construct a 50,000 sq. ft. yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The proposed project adds to Batavia’s Dairy Hub of the Northeast, supporting over 900 direct jobs, over $500 million of capital investment, and over 1 million square feet of dairy processing facilities.

La Fermière has pledged to create up to 68 jobs over the first 3 years of operations in Genesee County.  Founded in France, the company has been active in US markets since 2018.

“We are ready to move to the next step. The next level for us is to make our very first big investment in the US and building a new state of the art facility here,” La Fermière US Vice President Lucas Praticci said in a presentation to the GCEDC Board.

La Fermière plans to produce French yogurt and dairy dessert products using fresh milk and cream at the facility.

“We have a unique product, and we are very proud to bring this culture and our culture here to the US,” Praticci said.

La Fermière is requesting $1.8 million in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance.  The project is estimated to generate $54.9 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $43 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

A public hearing on the proposed project will be scheduled in the town of Batavia at Batavia Town Hall.

The GCEDC accepted an initial resolution from O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC for a 3,246 sq. ft. expansion of its existing facility in the town of Batavia.

The proposed $3.5 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase the capabilities of cream-based liquor beverages. The expansion proposes to create two new jobs.

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC is requesting approximately $214,406 in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

A public hearing on the proposed project will be scheduled in the town of Batavia at Batavia Town Hall.

The GCEDC also approved a final resolution for Apple Tree Acres, LLC. The $3.15 million project will construct a stand-alone 50,000 sq. ft. facility in the Apple Tree Acres business park. Apple Tree Acres, LLC plans to create three new jobs.

Apple Tree Acres, LLC has been granted approximately $490,225 in property, sales, and mortgage tax exemptions. The project is estimated to generate $2.8 million in economic activity, equal to $6 of economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

May 2, 2022 - 4:57pm

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider three projects proposing approximately $31.6 million of financial investments in Genesee County at its board meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

The GCEDC Board of Directors will consider an initial resolution for La Fermière’s proposed $25 million investment. La Fermière plans to construct a 50,000 sq. ft. yogurt manufacturing facility in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

The proposed project adds to Batavia’s Dairy Hub of the Northeast, which supports over 900 direct jobs, over $500 million of capital investment, and over 1 million square feet of dairy processing facilities.

La Fermière has pledged to create up to 68 jobs over the first 3 years of operations in Genesee County.  Founded in France, the company has been active in US markets since 2018.

La Fermière is requesting $1.8 million in property, sales, and mortgage tax assistance.  The project is estimated to generate $54.9 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $43 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

If the project application is accepted, a public hearing for the proposed agreement will be scheduled in the town of Batavia.

The GCEDC will also consider an initial resolution from O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC regarding a 3,246 sq. ft. expansion of its existing facility in the town of Batavia.

The proposed $3.5 million investment will house two new 18,000-gallon tanks to increase the capabilities of cream-based liquor beverages. The expansion would create two new jobs.

O-AT-KA Milk Products, LLC has requested approximately $214,406 in property, sales, and mortgage tax. The project is estimated to generate $3.5 million of local economic benefits over 10 years, equal to $27 dollars in economic activity for every $1 of public investment.

If the project application is accepted, a public hearing for the proposed agreement will be scheduled in the town of Batavia.

The GCEDC will also consider a final resolution for Apple Tree Acres, LLC. The $3.15 million project includes construction of a stand-alone 50,000 sq. ft. facility in the Apple Tree Acres business park. Apple Tree Acres, LLC proposes to create 3 new jobs.

Apple Tree Acres, LLC is requesting approximately $490,225 in property, sales, and mortgage tax exemptions. The project is estimated to generate $2.8 million in economic activity, equal to $6 of economic activity for every $1 of public investment. A public hearing on the proposed agreement was held on Feb. 2 in the town of Bergen.

April 30, 2022 - 12:03am
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, rrh, batavia, business, Health Care.

Press release:

The Genesee County Funding Corporation (GCFC), an affiliate of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), approved tax-exempt bonds to support projects by Rochester Regional Health (RRH) expanding healthcare services in Genesee County and throughout New York State at its April 28th board meeting.

The tax-exempt bonds approved by the GCFC support the construction of a 105,393 square-foot healthcare facility on Oak Orchard Road in the Town of Batavia and 56,147 square feet of related ground floor parking.

In Batavia, Rochester Regional Health will offer outpatient cardiac care, women’s health services, primary care, urgent care, outpatient surgical services, gastroenterology, outpatient radiology and other outpatient services.

The Batavia project is projected to create approximately 70 full-time equivalent jobs with an average salary of $110,000, and over 200 construction jobs.

In addition to new bonding, the project also includes improvements of machinery, equipment and other tangible personal property, the refunding or refinancing of all or a portion of the outstanding principal amounts of existing bonds, and the construction of a 96,189 square-foot healthcare facility in the town of Potsdam in St. Lawrence County.

The projects will generate over $172.6 million of economic benefits to Genesee County and other communities over 10 years, including $161.4 million of payroll for temporary and ongoing jobs, and $11.2 million of tax revenues.

April 13, 2022 - 4:28pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, news.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) released its 2021 annual report demonstrating significant investments made throughout Genesee County during the past year. Themes from the Annual Report include the revitalization of downtowns, acceleration of workforce development and the impact of shovel-ready sites in Genesee County.

During 2021, groundbreaking events, expansion projects and new activity occurred across Genesee County, including major projects at the Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP), Apple Tree Acres, and preparedness for future growth at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and Gateway II Corporate Park.  These projects will have an estimated economic impact of $647 million.

Highlighting one of the largest investments in 2021 is Plug Power. The $232 million investment will be home to the first large-scale green hydrogen manufacturing facility in North America. Plug Power is now under construction at STAMP, Genesee County’s 1,250-acre mega site located in the town of Alabama.

“Significant progress and financial investments were made in Genesee County in 2021 and one of the main reasons is our shovel-ready sites,” said Steve Hyde, GCEDC President and CEO. “Our local, county and state government partners and the private sector have done a great job in collaborating to bring in new jobs and capital investment as well as retaining jobs at existing businesses.”

The GCEDC assisted in two significant expansions of homegrown businesses in 2021, including Craft Cannery and Liberty Pumps both located at Apple Tree Acres. Craft Cannery was able to double its production capacity as a result of new equipment it purchased through assistance from the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corporation (GGLDC).

Liberty Pumps broke ground on the company’s third major expansion since 2000 at Apple Tree Acres. The company’s $13.5 million materials center started construction in October 2021 and is expected to create 30 new jobs. The family-owned company currently has over 300 employees.

Another highlight from the 2021 Annual Report focuses on workforce development, especially among high school students. 

The GLOW region has been equipping students and future employees with the appropriate educational tracks for careers in the food and beverage, advanced manufacturing, and skilled trades sectors among others.

Since the launch of GLOW With Your Hands, there has been a 30% increase in student participation and a 73% increase in participation of the Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program from 2021 to 2022. This in turn is helping companies across the County to hire locally for hundreds of job openings.

“One of the biggest reasons employers operate in Genesee County is because of our people. We are centrally located between two major tech hubs and have career-focused programs preparing students in growing industries with great career opportunities,” said Chris Suozzi, GCEDC VP of Business and Workforce Development. “Programs such as GLOW With Your Hands, Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship, and Cornell in High School are preparing the next generation for positions in these sectors.”

April 6, 2022 - 8:24pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, GCEDC.

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Twenty-two small businesses in Genesee County will be splitting a pool of $875,000 through the first round of the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund initiative set up to help for-profit ventures with 25 or fewer employees recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Batavian obtained the list of businesses today in advance of a press release scheduled to go out on Thursday from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. The GCEDC, in conjunction with Michael Zimmerman of The Harrison Studio, is facilitating the program that is bolstered by a Community Development Block Grant of up to $1 million.

“The project applications were considered on a first-come, first-served, so we had a tremendous response in the business community,” said Jim Krencik, GCEDC marketing director. “There was definitely a need -- based on the negative impacts we had from COVID in 2020.

“It was encouraging to see that many businesses did pick up in 2021. But as we look towards 2022 and hopefully a strong overall recovery this summer, helping these business accelerate their plans is a very rewarding experience. Most critically, it’s about the impact it will have on these businesses.”

Awards range from $10,000 to $75,000, and are predicated upon adding full-time equivalent jobs and/or meeting established income guidelines, Krencik said.

“Basically, if you're able to have one FTE (full-time equivalent job), you are eligible for up to $25,000; two, you are eligible for up to $50,000 and three, you are eligible for up to $75,000,” Krencik explained. “But there were also cases where a company had under five employees, and the owners of the company could get up to $25,000 without directly having to add a job because they were supporting a workforce and meeting income guidelines.”

The initial grantees and their awards are as follows:

  • First Wave Technology, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Sweet Betty’s, Le Roy, $20,000.
  • Pro Construction, Bergen, $25,000;
  • Red Roof Inn, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Terry Hills Restaurant, Batavia, $75,000;
  • LaQuinta, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Hodgins Engraving, Batavia, $60,000;
  • Rivers Performance, Batavia, $10,000;
  • Chap’s Elba Diner, Elba, $50,000;
  • Craft Cannery, Bergen, $60,000;
  • Sikes Enterprises, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Caryville Inn, Oakfield, $25,000;
  • Center Street Smokehouse, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Smokin’ Eagle BBQ, Le Roy, $50,000;
  • John’s Service, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Alleghany Services, Alabama, $60,000;
  • Eden Café, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Copperhead Creek Bar, Batavia, $75,000;
  • Byron Hotel & Trailhouse, Byron, $50,000;
  • Empire Hemp, Batavia, $15,000;
  • Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Byron, $60,000;
  • The Spa at Artemis, Batavia, $65,000.

Contacted tonight, Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said he is pleased that his office and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce were able to work with the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (an arm of the GCEDC) to provide capital to these businesses.

“This is a great example of local officials working together to develop a program that delivers resources to local businesses,” Landers said. “Working collaboratively, we were able to identify outside funding, develop a program that qualifies for said funding and implement a program that delivers resources while complying with the various funding rules and regulations.”

Krencik said seven other projects were deemed eligible but came in too late for this round. He said those seven businesses are at the top of the list “for any additional or unexpended funds that would be coming, either from projects that aren’t expending the entirety of their grant or if we are successful in getting additional funding for this program.

“However, we are aware that it'll be very competitive as many communities are pursuing second rounds of funding as well.”

Previously: Genesee CARES officials report that 12 businesses have applied for pandemic-related relief thus far

March 30, 2022 - 1:59pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, pembroke, business, Buffalo East Tech Park.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors approved financial assistance for a proposed $3.25 million project in the Buffalo East Tech Park at its board meeting on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC plans to build a 52,332 sq. ft. facility in the town of Pembroke business park. The warehouse will include a 45,000 sq. ft. pre-engineered steel warehouse building with 7,332 sq. ft. office space.

This project will create four full-time positions and generate an estimated $9 in economic activity for every $1 of public investment. The project requested approximately $900,000 in sales, mortgage, and property tax exemptions.

A public hearing on the proposed project was held on March 21 in the town of Pembroke.

Located less than a mile from Interstate 90 Exit 48-A at State Highways 5 and 77, the Buffalo East Tech Park has previously enabled the construction of facilities for Yancey’s Fancy and Professional Turf Services.

March 29, 2022 - 11:43am
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, news, pembroke.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider a final resolution for a proposed $3.25 million financial investment by J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC at its board meeting today.

J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC is proposing to build a 52,332 sq. ft. facility in the town of Pembroke at the 67-acre Buffalo East Tech Park. The warehouse includes a 45,000 sq. ft. pre-engineered steel warehouse building with 7,332 sq. ft. office space.

The project would create four new jobs and generate an estimated $9 in economic activity for every $1 of public investment. The project has requested approximately $900,000 in sales, mortgage, and property tax exemptions.

A public hearing on the proposed project was held on March 21 in the town of Pembroke.

The March 29, 2022, GCEDC Board meeting will be held remotely at 4 p.m. A livestream and on-demand recording of the meeting also will be available at www.gcedc.com.

March 27, 2022 - 4:51pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, tech wars, workforce development, news.

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By Chris Suozzi

This has been a great season for introductions – from Von Miller signing with the Bills to seeing over 650 students from our middle schools and high schools at the Tech Wars competition.

I can’t wait to see #40 on the field in Orchard Park. He’s a once-in-a-generation talent joining at just the right time.

But as I work with the growing companies across Genesee County, acquiring talent with a $120 million contract is not the model we follow. We don’t have to!

That’s because there are hundreds of STEM-focused students at our local schools graduating every year. At Tech Wars, they all showed their technical abilities, problem-solving skills, and excitement at taking on new challenges.

These students, and the younger kids that were at STEAM Jam that same day, need to know what opportunities are ahead of them.

In Genesee County, students have the option of great careers that come with a high quality of life and no college debt.

Multiple examples of those opportunities were mixed into the Tech Wars program and all the conversations around the halls.

Genesee Valley BOCES and the electro-mechanical trades program gave live demonstrations of their new mechatronics equipment. This is what our employers are using for re-training their teams, and that students are using to be ready for job shadows and internships the growing pre-apprenticeship program!

This simple activity created so much excitement. Younger students were amazed as graduating seniors showed off the mechatronics equipment, and the opportunity to take a cool hands-on tech learning opportunity.

These programs need repeated communication and momentum. Every year we’re excited to have a new class graduating, and a new group of students discovering what’s possible in the back half of their school years.

It was great to see Bill Hayes and Turnbull Heating & Air Conditioning at Tech Wars. Bill and his team are incredibly active in supporting workforce development. When students go through our technical training programs, there are so many skilled trades opportunities that open up. Having people like Bill ready to bring them on board is incredible.

There are also great construction and manufacturing career opportunities. La Fermière announced their project the day before Tech Wars, with plans to hire up to 135 workers in their first 5 years of operations. Many more workers will be involved in building their French yogurt manufacturing facility.

That long-term outlook is critical. At the GCEDC, we’re focused on continuing the momentum of aligning career paths from local companies to our students.

The partnership with our local companies’ workforce demands with custom programs has effectively bridged the gap between students’ career paths and developing skills employers need.

Closing out this school year, the custom programs are expanding.

Cornell in High School will start right after graduation. In less than a week, up to 40 students from Genesee County and surrounding communities will be trained by Cornell in the skills that will launch them into careers at companies like O-AT-KA Milk Products, Upstate Niagara, Yancey’s Fancy and HP Hood.

If students take advantage of this program, they’ll be well on their way to having the financial freedom to not only have a new #40 Miller jersey, but the new truck for the season-opening tailgate. I’ll see them there!

If that sounds good, I encourage students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors to contact me at [email protected] and to get ready for success.

Chris Suozzi is the Vice President of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center

Video previously by The Batavian, previously published

Video Sponsor
March 18, 2022 - 7:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in techwars, GCEDC, news, education, notify.
Video Sponsor

During Tech Wars at GCC on Thursday, The Batavian spoke with Chris Suozzi, VP of business and workforce development for GCEDC, about how companies that are opening new operations here -- such as La Fermière and PlugPower -- as well as those that are expanding.

With labor markets tight, Suozzi said the future workforce of Genesee County can be found at events like TechWars, among the kids being turned on to engineering and technology.

He pointed to the $700,000 mechatronics training equipment acquired by BOCES on display at TechWars as one of the ways Genesee County is leading the state in workforce development.

GLOW with Your Hands, he noted, has also been a huge success and is also setting the pace in New York for workforce development. 

This summer, GCEDC starts up the Cornell in High School Program, which will provide training and job experience to 40 high school seniors in dairy science and sanitation in a boot-camp format.

Also this summer, people 18-24 will be able to participate in a tech-job training program that includes 16 hours of free classroom training and a 24-hour paid internship, each week for six weeks, that will lead to a paid apprenticeship with a participating local company. 

Both Suozzi and Rich Monroe, who is leading the mechatronics program at BOCES, mentioned several students who have successfully completed workforce development programs.  One went from selling car parts at $12.50 an hour to an apprenticeship at Barilla Pasta at $15 an hour and in less than a year with the company is now making $28 an hour.  Another student went from working at a convenience store to a job at USG where he started at $22 an hour and is now making $25 an hour.

All with student debt, Suozzi noted.

"It’s not to just go get a job," Monroe said. "It’s to further their education and to get more skills and make them more viable in the workplace."

March 16, 2022 - 7:54pm

Officials of the Genesee County Economic Development Center are asking Genesee County legislators to consider expanding the “jurisdictional reach” of a locally controlled funding unit to facilitate $218 million in bond funds for Rochester Regional Health’s expansion projects.

Speaking at the legislature’s Ways & Means Committee meeting this afternoon at the Old County Courthouse, GCEDC President Steve Hyde encouraged passage of a resolution that would permit the Genesee County Funding Corp. to act as a conduit bond issuer for a business enterprise – either for-profit or not-for-profit – located in Genesee County that has operations directly or through affiliated entities in other counties in New York State.

The resolution, which was passed by the committee and forwarded to the full legislature, calls for an expansion of the “mission and public objective” of the GCFC to promote economic development and expand the jurisdictional reach by making the GCFC eligible to issue bonds for projects outside of Genesee County.

If passed, Rochester Regional Health, which operates United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia along with health care facilities in other counties, would be the beneficiary of the amendment to the GCFC’s current certificate of incorporation.

Hyde said that RRH is planning to invest $42 million in Batavia, primarily on the construction of a 105,000-square-foot medical center off Route 98, north of the city, and another $50 million or so on an expansion in Potsdam (St. Lawrence County).

“That’s almost $100 million in new money plus they are refinancing existing debt,” he said, pointing out that the issuance of the bond through GCFC would enable RRH to get a tax-exempt corporation interest rate instead of a taxable rate. “If not, they would have to seek multiple bonds in a number of communities and the fees would be much higher.”

He said RRH leadership approached the GCEDC “to use our GCFC, which is a county affiliate that we manage on your (the legislature’s) behalf.” The GCFC board consists of five members, all appointed by the legislature.

Mark Masse, GCEDC senior vice president of operations, said Genesee County has seen tremendous growth of companies with locations in other counties.

“This won’t affect the county’s bond rating,” he said. “It is similar to a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) with no risk to the county.”

Hyde said RRH is focusing on the adaptive reuse of its North Street and Bank Street campuses, including expanding senior health care at the Jerome Center and possible razing a couple buildings on North Street because parking is an issue.

“And there will be more specialties at the new medical center, such as cardiac care and surgical (improvements),” he said.

Should the legislature vote in favor of the resolution, it would not change the fact that every project connected to the GCFC would have to be approved by the governing body and a public hearing would have to be held for tax exempt circumstances, Masse said.

County Attorney James Wujcik said the resolution’s wording was appropriate, adding that the expansion of the GCFC territory “makes Genesee County more attractive for investment.”

March 16, 2022 - 11:32am

Press release:

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that La Fermière, a family-owned French yogurt and desserts company, will establish its U.S. production operations in New York State. The company has committed to constructing a 45,000 square-foot yogurt and dairy desserts production facility at Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, with plans for future, additional expansion. As a result, La Fermière, expects to create up to 135 New Jobs in the region. Additionally, the company will utilize millions of pounds of milk provided by New York dairy farmers to create its globally renowned dairy products. Agribusiness is a core pillar of the locally designed Finger Lakes Forward plan, a comprehensive plan that is working to revitalize and grow the regional economy.

"We’re proud to welcome La Fermière to Genesee County, bringing jobs and opportunity to the Finger Lakes region,” Governor Hochul said. “This investment shows that our bold economic recovery plan for the Finger Lakes is working, attracting new businesses and helping communities across the region grow and thrive."

Empire State Development is assisting this project with up to $1.35 million​ in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits in exchange for job creation commitments. Genesee County, Greater Rochester Enterprise, and Invest Buffalo Niagara are providing support for the company’s growth in New York State. The total project cost has been placed at $25.8 million dollars. The company expects to be operational at the site by November of 2023.

Located in the Town of Batavia, Genesee County, the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park was developed as the largest food and beverage greenfield in the northeastern U.S. to connect the region’s agricultural production, talent and transportation networks. The 250-acre Ag Park and the surrounding area has become the Dairy Processing Hub of the Northeast, with more than 1 million square-feet of operations and approximately 1,000 workers employed across multiple production and supply chain companies.

Founded in Marseille, France in 1952, the company was purchased by Groupe Tarpinian in 2002. In the mid to late 2010s, La Fermière began working with a New York state-based co-packer in an effort to bring its sustainably packaged French yogurt to the U.S. market. The company had considered site locations throughout the country for its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility but selected New York, thanks to the focused support from both the State and its regional economic development partners. 

La Fermière President and CEO Jean-Jacques Tarpinian, said, “We are very excited to launch this project of building our very first yogurt and dessert production facility in Batavia, New York. The great support of the state and GCEDC team really helped us in our decision. The Batavia site meets our main requirements for success: quality milk and large cream supply, logistics hub and workforce availability. Being close to local farmers, at the heart of milk production, was key for us, as we will use up to 6 million gallons of milk every year. Our five-year presence in the U.S. market expanded beyond our expectations. This state-of-the-art facility will help us achieve our very ambitious goal in the U.S. market, which offers large opportunities by manufacturing the best all natural yogurts and desserts, with innovative recipes and process.” 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “La Fermière’s new plant in Batavia will boost farmers, add great-paying local jobs that will support the dairy industry’s continued growth and success, and further strengthen the region’s agricultural base. The company’s decision to establish its production facility here is further proof that New York State is an agribusiness leader.”

Steven G. Hyde, President and Chief Executive Officer for Genesee County Economic Development Center said, “La Fermière’s decision to locate their U.S. operations in Genesee County demonstrates that investing in shovel-ready sites like the Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park draws great companies to New York. We are excited to work with La Fermière to see this project to succeed as we continue to grow our food and beverage-manufacturing workforce. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership, businesses are finding the right sites and ready communities in New York for their growth.” 

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We are proud to welcome La Fermière to New York State as they expand their business in Genesee County, a major win for dairy in New York State. By choosing New York, La Fermière has highlighted the strength and diversity of our state’s dairy industry, which continues to attract new businesses and produce delicious, world-class dairy products for all to enjoy. Having La Fermière’s U.S. production facility located in New York will create new jobs and increase demand for New York dairy farmers’ milk, which is certainly a win-win for our dairy farmers and our communities. We look forward to partnering with La Fermière as they put down roots here and look forward to the continued success and expansion of the Genesee Valley Agribusiness Park.” 

Senator Edward A. Rath III said, "Creating jobs in our community is critical.  Our economy has struggled during the pandemic, creating new opportunities will help with revitalization. I commend La Fermière for bringing their production to Genesee County and I congratulate Batavia on this great opportunity." 

Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “The arrival of La Fermière into the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia is another sign that our region is truly a burgeoning agri-business hotspot within New York State. The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park’s ability to enable manufacturers to make use of our high quality, local dairy has helped springboard our rural economy into the next generation, getting more of our farmer’s product into grocery stores nationwide and providing jobs to our highly skilled workforce. It’s been an incredible asset to the development of our rural economy, and its success is a testament to the quality of what our farmers are able to offer to companies seeking to produce specialty products at a massive scale.”

Genesee County Legislature Chair Shelley Stein said, “Thank you to Governor Hochul for guiding La Fermière to Genesee County and building another opportunity for great careers for our youth. La Fermière and recent investments by O-AT-KA Milk Products, Dairy Farmers of America, HP Hood, Upstate Niagara Cooperative, and Yancey’s Fancy show that Genesee County is the ideal place for dairy processing growth. These investments have a tremendous positive impact for our farm families, highly skilled and dedicated farmworkers, robust agricultural economy, and welcoming communities.”

Town Supervisor Greg Post said, “The Town of Batavia is pleased to welcome another investment into our agri-business economy. La Fermiere’s high-quality products and operations are a great fit with our community’s hub of dairy processing, robust workforce training, and commitment to supporting business growth.” 

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair​s Bob Duffy, President and CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Denise Battles, President SUNY Geneseo said, “The dairy industry is a major driver of the local economy. This is tremendous news for Genesee County and for the region as a whole. We want to thank La Fermière for choosing to make this significant investment at the thriving Ag-Park as this project will create solid employment opportunities and, at the same time, support the robust dairy farming industry that is available throughout the Finger Lakes region.”

March 7, 2022 - 11:29am
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, news.

Press release:

Following a record-setting year of projects, Site Selection Magazine has ranked Batavia and Genesee County as the fifth most active micropolitan in the United States for business growth. Batavia and Genesee County continue to be recognized for financial investment and job commitments and economic impact at the region’s various shovel-ready sites.

Site Selection Magazine noted that the GCEDC assisted many businesses who made significant financial investments at its shovel ready sites across the county in 2021, including the Gateway II Corporate Park, Apple Tree Acres Business Park, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, Buffalo East Tech Park, and Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).

Among the projects cited by Site Selection Magazine were Plug Power’s $232 million financial investment at STAMP. Plug Power has commenced construction at the 1,250-acre mega site on North America’s largest green hydrogen project. The project is targeting to create 68 new jobs and will generate the largest contributions toward local municipalities and infrastructure of any commercial-industrial project in Genesee County.

"The Site Selection Governor's Cup Rankings once again confirm that Genesee County continues to build a strong and diverse economy,” said GCEDC Board Chairman Pete Zeliff. “I am proud of the work of our board and hard-working staff at the GCEDC to be once again recognized by Site Selection Magazine."

“Genesee County continues to demonstrate that our community is a great place to work, live and recreate through the significant financial investments being made by the private sector,” said Genesee County Chair Shelley Stein.

Projects assisted by the GCEDC in 2021 resulted in $343.5 million in financial investment and 171 new jobs being pledged. These projects are estimated to result in an economic impact of $645 million in Genesee County.

“Site selection professionals are increasingly seeing the Buffalo-Rochester Tech Corridor's talent, low-cost 100% renewable electricity, and sites like STAMP as a competitive combination of assets,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde.  “The efforts by Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly to commit funding to making sites like STAMP even more shovel-ready will make us even more competitive both nationally and internationally.”

This is the seventeenth consecutive year that Batavia and Genesee County have been recognized as the top micropolitan for business growth in the northeast U.S., and as a top 5 micropolitan in the U.S for the 11th time since 2005.

February 28, 2022 - 2:53pm
posted by Press Release in pembroke, GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider an initial resolution for a proposed $3.25 million investment by J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC at its board meeting on Thursday, March 3, 2022.

The J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC project includes the construction of a 52,332 sq. ft. facility in the town of Pembroke at Buffalo East Tech Park. The facility will include a 45,000 sq. ft. pre-engineered steel warehouse building with 7,332 sq. ft. office space.

J&R Fancher Property Holdings LLC plans to create four full-time positions and with the investment, the project is expected to generate an estimated $9 in economic activity for every $1 of public investment. The project would receive approximately $900,000 in sales, mortgage, and property tax exemptions.

A public hearing on the proposed project would be held in the town of Pembroke at Pembroke Town Hall if the project application is accepted by the board of directors.

March 3, 2022, the GCEDC Board meeting will be held remotely at 4 p.m. A livestream and on-demand recording of the meeting also will be available at www.gcedc.com.

February 8, 2022 - 3:46pm
posted by Press Release in GCEDC, business.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) announced that project agreements closed in 2021 resulted in $343.5 million in financial investments, including Plug Power’s $232 million clean energy facility to be constructed at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP).  The projects resulted in 171 new jobs being pledged and the retention of 75 jobs.

“The financial investments, job retention, and creation from these projects in clean energy, manufacturing and housing demonstrate the diversity of our local economy,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC.  “We anticipate further growth in these sectors moving forward in 2022.”

Plug Power’s $232 million investment into green hydrogen manufacturing facilities in the town of Alabama combines with over $55 million of infrastructure investments to support Plug Power and future projects at STAMP. The 68 pledged jobs in Phase I follow the ongoing construction at the site that commenced in October 2021.

Liberty Pumps announced a $13.7 million financial investment to expand its operations in the Apple Tree Acres business park in the town of Bergen with a pledge to create 30 new jobs.

Other manufacturing projects in 2021 include Land Pro Equipment starting construction on a 50,000-square-foot facility in the town of Batavia that will serve customers’ sales, parts, service and precision farming needs. LandPro, a John Deere dealer, will retain 62 jobs and make a financial investment of $9.2 million to build the facility.

At Gateway II Corporate Park in the town of Batavia, Gateway GS LLC is investing $2.3 million for a building tenant that will create 21 new jobs.  Valiant Real Estate USA LLC is investing $4.5 million to build a 20,000-square-foot facility on Saile Drive in the town of Batavia. The project would create 24 new jobs with an average salary ranging from $30,000 to $75,000 annually plus benefits.

Ellicott Station is moving forward with its clean-up and remediation of a brownfield site in the city of Batavia.  Savarino Companies is investing approximately $22 million to redevelop the site, which will include the construction of 55 residential units. Another housing project by Batavia Special Needs Apartments will provide a financial investment of $3.75 million to add 20 new units, retain 13 jobs and add 2 additional pledged jobs.

Other projects that contributed to financial investments in the county included land sales in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in the town of Batavia and at Gateway II Corporate Park to support future projects.

Incentives provided by the GCEDC for the projects were approximately $129 million in sales, property, and mortgage tax exemptions.  The return on investment of these incentives is estimated to be 5:1 for a financial return of approximately $645 million through projected permanent employment, construction employment, supply chain activity, and revenues to Genesee County’s municipalities and schools.

“The GCEDC Board is pleased to see that our organization has exceeded our economic development goals in 2021,” said GCEC Board Chair Pete Zeliff.  “Genesee County remains a favorable place for capital investment by the private sector due to our proactive activities to develop sites, infrastructure, and workforce talent.”

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