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April 14, 2021 - 3:17pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, news, NY-27, wny stamp.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) joined a bipartisan group of representatives and senators to call on President Biden to prioritize funding and policies in his FY2022 budget proposal that bolster domestic semiconductor manufacturing and supply chains.

“Domestic production of semiconductors is an economic and national security priority,” Jacobs said. “China is investing billions of dollars into developing this technology and mass manufacturing. We cannot afford to rely on them or other foreign manufacturers.

"We saw this year the devastation when foreign supply chains break down, and given the sensitive, classified, and consumer technologies powered using semiconductors, we must ensure a robust domestic manufacturing program is developed to protect security.”

Specifically, the letter calls for prioritized investment into initiatives outlined in the CHIPS for America Act that was enacted into law as part of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act. The legislation creates incentives to support semiconductor research and development and the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.

“Nationally, these investments are critical to our economic development, global competitiveness, and national security," Jacobs said. "Locally, these investments also have the potential to aid in the economic development of Western New York by supporting assets such as the STAMP plant in Genesee County that are readily available to host high-technology manufacturers.

“I am encouraged the President has recognized the importance of secure supply chains and domestic manufacturing; I urge him to prioritize these needed investments.”

To read the letter to President Biden, click here (pdf).

April 8, 2021 - 11:53am
posted by Press Release in Sen. Charles Schumer, news, wny stamp, Alabama.

Press release:

After fighting for and securing Plug Power’s new hydrogen fuel cell "gigafactory" in Rochester, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today (April 8) announced his support to secure a $520 million federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to be used in constructing a network of green hydrogen facilities.

This includes the planned 68-job green hydrogen production facility at the Western New York Science, Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Park -- STAMP -- site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo.

Schumer first wrote to the DOE in November 2020 to advocate for the DOE to approve a loan guarantee through its Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Last month he doubled down in urging the new Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to provide support and resources to help make Plug Power’s plans to build its hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County's Town of Alabama a reality.

The DOE has since approved Plug Power, which initially submitted its Part I application in November 2020, to submit a Part II Application for a loan guarantee under the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program which is the next step in the multistep process to ultimately secure a DOE conditional commitment and final loan guarantee agreement.  

Senator Schumer said, “Securing this federal loan guarantee will be a win-win to supercharge Plug Power to new heights by supporting its planned 68-job hydrogen fuel production facility at the WNY STAMP site in Genesee County while also creating the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities to produce carbon-free fuel-cell power.

"I’m glad the DOE has now given Plug Power the green light to pursue a federal loan guarantee. I’ll continue to support Plug Power to the fullest in securing this loan guarantee and creating North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility right here in the heart of Western New York. “

The $520 million loan guarantee will support Plug Power’s construction of five new green hydrogen production facilities to create the nation's first green hydrogen production network. The facilities will vary in size, producing between 10 to 60 tons of green hydrogen fuel per day up, totaling approximately 180 tons per day of liquid hydrogen production capacity.

Plug Power plans on starting with the construction of a $290 million production facility at the WNY STAMP site, which will produce 45 tons of green hydrogen daily, create 68 new jobs, and rank as North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility.

Schumer previously noted this new network of green hydrogen fuel production facilities, including the facility at STAMP, can be a national model in efforts to achieve the Biden Administration’s goal to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create quality clean-energy jobs.

Plug Power’s new production facility at STAMP would produce green hydrogen to supply fuel-cell-powered equipment and vehicles such as freight transportation and logistics handling equipment – some powered by fuel cells that will be manufactured at the upcoming Plug Power "gigafactory" slated to open in Rochester this summer.

Schumer said Plug Power can lead the charge in dramatically reducing our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions with the construction of its first green hydrogen production facility at the STAMP campus.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, currently employs more than 400 workers in New York to innovate, manufacture and assemble hydrogen fuel cells including about 300 workers in the Capital Region at its headquarters and Capital Region manufacturing sites in Latham and Clifton Park, and about 70 workers at its Rochester manufacturing site.

In 2020, Schumer successfully fought for Plug Power to build their new "gigafactory" in Rochester, which will manufacture hydrogen electrolyzers, used for the production of hydrogen fuel, and hydrogen PEM fuel cells used to produce electricity to power transportation equipment. Slated to open in the middle of next year, the "gigafactory" will add another 375 employees to Plug Power’s New York workforce.

March 26, 2021 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, news, wny stamp, Plug Power.

Press release:

Plug Power Inc.’s development of North America’s largest green hydrogen production facility at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) received final approval from the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors at its March 25 meeting.

Plug Power Inc. plans to build the $232.7 million green energy technology facility at a 29.884-acre site at STAMP, with a proposed initial operation creating 68 new jobs at an average salary of approximately $70,000.

Plug Power Inc. also will invest $55 million to help build a 345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid. The substation will support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP’s 1,250-acre mega-site.

“The investments by Plug Power Inc. will advance our region’s expanding green hydrogen economy, create good jobs aligned with our county’s workforce training programs, and advance major infrastructure that is accessible to future projects,” said GCEDC President & CEO Steve Hyde.

“This project by Plug Power, along with the team effort by the GCEDC Board of Directors, the Empire State Development, the New York Power Authority, and National Grid, show our capacity to advance regionally significant projects at STAMP.”

Under the incentives application approved by the GCEDC Board, Plug Power Inc. will contribute approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure development under a 20-year agreement.

In addition to Plug Power, the GCEDC Board also approved or accepted applications from five projects totaling another $420 million of capital investment in Genesee County.

The GCEDC Board approved final incentives for Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) for a $9.7 million community solar project on Norton Road in the Town of Elba. The project will generate 5MW of power and generate approximately $518,803 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.

The board also approved final incentives for Solar Liberty for community solar projects on Tesnow Road in the Town of Pembroke at a capital investment of $7.7 million. The projects will generate 4MW and 5MW of power and will generate approximately $856,024 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Akron Central School District over the proposed 15-year agreement.

Finally, the GCEDC Board of Directors accepted initial applications for two other projects:

  • Excelsior Energy LLC is proposing to invest $345.55 million in a utility-scale solar project on multiple properties in the Town of Byron. The project will generate 280 MW of power. Excelsior has negotiated a 20-year tax and community host agreements, including payments of $6,500 per MW, with a 2-percent annual escalator, to Genesee County, the Town of Byron, and the Byron-Bergen School District.
  • DePaul Special Needs Apartments LP is proposing to invest $3.75 million to expand by 20 living units an existing special needs housing campus in the City of Batavia. The project would increase annual PILOT payments by approximately $6,000 per year for the remainder of the facility’s existing PILOT schedule.

UPDATE: We asked Jim Krencik, marketing director for GCEDC, to clarify the tax abatements for these projects. He provided the following. The "Property Tax Payments" followed by tax savings is the PILOT on the project (payments in lieu of taxes). The sales tax exemption is an exemption on sales tax for materials used in construction.

Plug Power

  • Approved Property Tax Payments
    • $2.3 million / year
    • $46 million / 20 years
  • Estimated Savings
    • $117.7 million property tax savings / 20 years if assessed at cost of construction ($232.7 million)
  • Anticipated assessment is much more likely to be $60-90 million
    • ·        $2.3 million / year = 0 percent abatement on a $65 million assessment
  • $1.1 million sales tax exemptions

Excelsior Solar

  • Proposed Property Tax Payments
    • $1.8 million / year 1, increases by 2 percent annually
    • Based on $6,500 / megawatt
    • $44 million / 20 years
  • Estimated Savings
    • $21.4 million property tax savings / 20 years
    • On solar panels only, land with panels on them are assessed separately
    • $11.2 million sales tax exemption
March 5, 2021 - 10:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Plug Power, GCEDC, business, wny stamp.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors accepted an initial application for incentives from Plug Power Inc. for a proposed $232.7 million green energy technology facility at Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) at its March 4 board meeting.

The project, announced by Plug Power on Feb. 25, will produce green hydrogen using an electrolysis process of water utilizing renewable hydropower.

Under the terms of a proposed 20-year PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) agreement, Plug Power would pay approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure, including Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.

Plug Power will also invest $55 million for the construction of a 345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid to support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP.

“Plug Power’s vision at STAMP includes over $100 million of investments into our municipal partners and site infrastructure," said Steve Hyde, GCEDC president and CEO. "These investments further enhance the strengths of our 1,250-acre mega site.

"At STAMP, projects can access low-cost power that is 100-percent renewable and reliable, at a site that is located, zoned and built for projects to succeed within their timelines.”

Plug Power would initially create approximately 68 new jobs at an average starting salary of approximately $70,000 plus benefits, totaling over $95 million in wages over 20 years. For every $1 of public benefit requested, more than $4.3 of planned investment and spending is estimated for the project, and totaling approximately $500 million over 20 years.

A public hearing will be scheduled on the proposed incentives.

The GCEDC Board of Directors also approved a purchase and sale agreement with Plug Power Inc. covering approximately 29.884 acres at STAMP for the proposed project.

In other actions:

The GCEDC board approved $906,000 of incentives to support LandPro Equipment LLC’s planned $9.2 million project to acquire and develop a 14-acre parcel to build a 50,000-square-foot facility for a full-service regional John Deere facility. The planned facility would primarily be used for operations and training, with a portion of the facility used for retail. The project proposes to create five new jobs and retain approximately 60 jobs in Genesee County.

The GCEDC board also accepted an initial application from Forefront Power LLC (Elba Solar) for a proposed $9.7 million community solar project. The project would generate 5 MW of power and is projected to generate approximately $518,803 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Elba, and the Elba Central School District over a 15-year agreement.

The GCEDC board also accepted applications from Solar Liberty for two community solar projects with a capital investment of approximately $7.7 million in. The projects will generate 4 MW and 5 MW of power and are projected to generate approximately $856,024 in new revenue to Genesee County, the Town of Pembroke, and the Akron Central School District over a 15-year agreement.

Public hearings will be scheduled on the proposed incentives for each of the community solar projects.

March 1, 2021 - 12:48pm
posted by Press Release in Plug Power, GCEDC, news, wny stamp, Alabama.

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) Board of Directors will consider accepting an initial application for incentives for Plug Power’s proposed $232.7 million green energy technology facility at Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) at its March 4 board meeting.

The facility would produce green hydrogen through an electrolysis process of water utilizing clean hydropower. The production facility would produce approximately 45 metric tons of liquid hydrogen on a daily basis and sold to customers to replace fossil fuels in the transportation sector.

Construction is anticipated to begin this summer.

Plug Power would initially create approximately 68 new jobs at an average starting salary of approximately $70,000 plus benefits, totaling over $102 million over 20 years.

The company is requesting $118.2 million in sales and property tax exemptions from the GCEDC. For every $1 of public benefit requested, more than $4.3 of investment is proposed by the company or $520 million over 20 years.

Additionally, under the terms of a proposed 20-year PILOT agreement, Plug Power would pay approximately $2.3 million annually to support local municipalities and infrastructure, including Genesee County, the Town of Alabama, and the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District.

Plug Power will also invest $55 million for the construction of a  345/115KV electric substation in partnership with the New York Power Authority and National Grid to support future expansion and growth opportunities at STAMP.

Plug Power and New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the proposed project on Feb. 25, which is also being supported by the New York Power Authority and Empire State Development.

A public hearing on proposed incentives will be scheduled if the Board accepts the project application.

February 26, 2021 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Plug Power, news, GCEDC, wny stamp, notify, business.

The construction of a hydrogen fuel production facility at WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park will have benefits for Genesee County that go far beyond the 68 jobs expected to go along with the $290 million project, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, in an interview this afternoon.

Besides positioning STAMP to potentially be a big part of New York's green energy future, Plug Power has agreed to invest more than $55 million in a 450-megawatt electrical substation that other potential STAMP manufacturers can tap into.

"This is a big, huge investment," Hyde said. "This will more than double our investment into infrastructure in STAMP."

While some infrastructure is already in place much of the infrastructure construction for STAMP has been on hold until an advanced manufacturer agreed to locate a plant in the 1,250-acre mega site. Now the business development team at GCEDC will be able to tell site selectors that critical infrastructure, such as the substation, will be in place by a time-specific date.  That may help some site selectors who have been kicking the tires of STAMP -- including, according to news reports, Samsung -- make a final decision about their construction plans.

STAMP has been Hyde's dream project for more than a decade and throughout all these years he has cheerfully repeated, "economic development is a marathon and not a sprint." He used the phrase again today.

And he's not across the finish line yet. There is still a purchase agreement to complete and get approved by the GCEDC board with Power Plug as well as ironing out the final figures on an incentive package to help bring down development costs for the company. Typically these include a PILOT (payments made in lieu of taxes), and tax abatements on construction materials.

New York has already committed to providing $2 million in tax credits for job-creation its Excelsior program. These are incentives the company will not receive unless they meet job creation targets.

Plug Power will tap into clean hydroelectronic power from Niagara Falls to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will be liquified, stored in tanks, and transported to Henrietta where Power Plug is building a hydrogen fuel cell factory. 

Many of those fuel cells will be used in forklifts and other warehouse equipment used by companies like Walmart and Amazon, giving those companies a cost-effective and 100-percent carbon-free source of energy for a key part of its operations.

Hydrogen fuel cells will also be available for long-haul trucking as well as other applications.

"We're going to be part of a 100-percent green, renewable energy ecosystem," Hyde said.

He said that will help make STAMP attractive to other companies participating in New York's push to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. 

That viewpoint mirrors the opportunity for STAMP to become an innovative hub for green energy with 1366 Technologies, which manufactures state-of-the-art solar wafer chips, announcing its intention to build a plant in STAMP in 2015. That proposal fell apart after years of delays because the Department of Energy would not sign off on a previously promised loan guarantee. Then Rep. Chris Collins apparently did nothing during that time to help push the project along with the DOE.

The DOE will not be as heavily involved in this project and Rep. Chris Jacobs seems to have no reservations about supporting the project. He issued this statement this evening:

“Landing Plug Power is an incredible win for Genesee County and the entire region. Thanks to the great work of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, the STAMP site is attracting high-tech, innovative businesses to bolster our region and provide high-paying jobs to Western New York. This is only the beginning, and I’ll do whatever I can to help bring more opportunities to our area.”

The Plug Power plant is expected to produce 45 tons of hydrogen fuel on a daily basis. 

The New York Power Authority is supporting the project with: 

  • 10 MW allocation of low-cost hydropower from the Niagara Power Project;
  • $1.5 million from the Western New York Power Proceeds program;
  • 143 MW of High-Load Factor power that NYPA will procure for Plug Power on the energy market.

Power Plug is investing another $125 million in a facility in Henrietta to create fuel cells. The project is expected to create another 377 jobs for the region.

In a statement released yesterday, Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said, "Plug Power's future rightfully revolves around building the green hydrogen economy. We are grateful our home state of New York supports aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives. And, that Plug Power's green hydrogen solutions can make such an impact on positive environmental and economic climates in the state."

Original reporting isn't free. You can help us do more of it by supporting The Batavian.

February 25, 2021 - 3:25pm
posted by Press Release in wny stamp, GCEDC, Charles Schumer, news.

Press release:

After fighting for and securing Plug Power’s commitment to build their new "gigafactory" for hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing in Rochester last month, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities.

Plug Power plans on starting with the construction of a $290 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Plant) site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. Schumer said DOE’s engagement will be a win-win in opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain.

Schumer said with DOE support, the new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs.

“My message to the DOE is that with its support, New York’s own Plug Power can lead the charge in dramatically shifting the nation towards clean energy starting with the construction of its first green hydrogen production facility at the STAMP campus in Western New York,” Senator Schumer said.

“The facility would create over 60 new good-paying green-energy jobs, boost the Western New York economy, and serve as a jumping-off point to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities to produce carbon-free fuel-cell power.

"With DOE support, this new green hydrogen fuel production facility in the heart of Western New York between Rochester and Buffalo can be a national model in efforts to achieve the Biden Administration’s drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating and 10 million clean energy jobs.”

In his letter to DOE today, Schumer invited DOE officials to join him in meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE support, technical assistance, and resources can help supercharge Plug Power to new heights by making its plans to build its hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County a reality.

Additionally, the senator explained that the expansion is part of Plug Power’s planned green hydrogen network to develop vertically integrated hydrogen infrastructure across the United States positioning the New York-based company to lead the charge in dramatically reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Plug Power’s new production facility at STAMP would produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply fuel-cell-powered equipment and vehicles such as freight transportation and logistics handling equipment – some powered by fuel cells that will be manufactured at the upcoming Plug Power Gigafactory slated to open in Rochester this summer.

The facility would become the first nationally recognized green hydrogen production center and the first of its kind in the Northeast United States.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, currently employs more than 400 workers in New York to innovate, manufacture and assemble hydrogen fuel cells including about 300 workers in the Capital Region at its headquarters and Capital Region manufacturing sites in Latham and Clifton Park, and about 70 workers at its Rochester manufacturing site.

In 2020, Schumer successfully fought for Plug Power to build their new "gigafactory" in Rochester, which will manufacture hydrogen electrolyzers, used for the production of hydrogen fuel, and hydrogen PEM fuel cells used to produce electricity to power equipment. Slated to open in the middle of next year, the "gigafactory" will add another 375 employees to Plug Power’s New York workforce.

Senator Schumer’s letter to the Department of Energy appears below:

Dear Acting Secretary,

I am writing to seek the Department of Energy’s (DOE) assistance in the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities, starting with the construction of a $264 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. With a soon-to-be nearly 975 member New York workforce and a history of reliability and strong investment in the U.S. hydrogen economy, Plug Power is perfectly positioned to meaningfully contribute towards to Biden Administration’s goals of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating 10 million clean energy jobs.   

Plug Power is striving to build five new green hydrogen fuel production facilities across the U.S., including a proposed $290 million production facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advance Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) that will produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply the fuel-cells in advanced freight transportation vehicles and logistics handling equipment. Support and technical assistance from DOE now would create a win-win in both opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain. This new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs. 

Plug Power is focused on serving the zero-emissions material handling, transportation, and industrial sectors with low-cost green hydrogen fuel that is generated using 100% renewable, zero carbon energy. This project aims to strengthen our country’s economic, environmental, and national security by utilizing domestic energy resources, including low-cost renewable energy from solar photovoltaic, wind, and hydro-electric generation facilities to produce green hydrogen. It will decrease the need for energy imports while creating industry and employment growth opportunities across a variety of markets.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, employs over 1,217 across the world, including over 600 employees in New York with another 375 expected to be added in the coming years at the company’s new gigafactory slated to open in Rochester, NY this summer. The company is focused on building the hydrogen economy as the leading provider of comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions. Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology, deploying approximately 40,000 fuel cell systems, more than any other company in the world.

I would welcome the opportunity to host DOE officials for a meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE can provide technical assistance, support, and resource access to this cutting-edge company to help drive the construction of this new WNY green hydrogen production facility, a strong step towards a nationwide green hydrogen supply chain.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff with any questions you may have.

February 11, 2021 - 6:57pm

At first glance, one might think that a major metropolitan area such as Austin, Texas, or Phoenix, Arizona, would have major advantages over the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park – better known as STAMP – when it comes to convincing an international corporation to build a semiconductor facility in the Town of Alabama.

But not so fast, says Steve Hyde, chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, who participated in a video interview with Howard Owens, publisher of The Batavian, earlier today.

Hyde, when given the opportunity to “sell the STAMP site,” didn’t hesitate -- coming up with several reasons why it would be beneficial for a company such as Samsung, for example, to build a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant at STAMP.

Recent published reports indicated that Samsung was considering STAMP – as well as the Austin and Phoenix areas – for a new semiconductor plant and that the Albany-based Plug Power was planning on operating a “green hydrogen” facility at the Genesee County park.

“STAMP can really compete and they (potential tenants) have got to take a serious look at us,” Hyde said. “That’s why we’re seeing opportunities in a big way right now in the marketplace.”

Hyde backed up that statement by pointing out that STAMP is located between two metropolitan areas (Buffalo and Rochester), has a growing and hungry workforce, and has access to low-cost green energy, and also the fact that New York does not impose “personal property taxes” on manufacturing equipment – a significant savings to these mega companies.

“There are very discreet advantages here in Western New York that you want to seize upon and emphasize,” Hyde said. “And they also need to consider that against some of the challenges in a market that has been a boomtown for 25 years (speaking of Austin) … that you have incredible competition for the workforce there right now.”

He noted that in Austin, the home of Tesla, Oracle, Texas Instruments and Samsung, big companies are competing for the same set of workers.

“Plus, the infrastructure there is overwhelmed and the congestion is crazy. So, there’s some challenges there relative to workforce,” he said. “When you look at us, we’re at a distance of a mile a minute you can literally travel on the highways. And there’s a well-qualified workforce from New York’s second- and third-largest metros. And for the pay rate at STAMP (estimated at $75,000 to $100,000 annually) … those workers will drive 30 to 45 minutes.”

Hyde also said another big advantage is that New York doesn’t charge “personal property taxes.”

“All of the manufacturing equipment in Texas is taxed as personal property taxes. So, when you really look closely at it, we’re going to be really aggressive on the incentive side with the state … and will be far less expensive than Austin because we don’t tax the equipment that will be two-thirds the cost of the project,” he explained.

He also pointed out that this area has good workforce solutions, noting that area colleges, including Genesee Community College, and Genesee Valley BOCES are building degree programs for high-tech industry.

“These big projects that we’re talking about, whether it’s a big renewable project or semiconductor, (they’re) huge power users,” Hyde said. “They want green power and we’ve got the New York Power Authority and we’ve got Niagara Falls less than 30 miles away. We have some of the lowest-cost green energy available in all of North America – like half of what it costs in Austin.

“So, you look at power, you look at operating costs, our labor is about 10 percent cheaper than Austin right now because the market has run up so much. Those factors are a huge part of the cost profile of running an operation like this.”

Hyde’s comments come in the face of a story in the Buffalo-based Investigative Post that indicates Samsung is leaning toward Austin as the site for the microchip factory that would employ about 1,800 people.

According to the Investigative Post report:

  • Austin “appears to have a leg up, as it is already home to Samsung Austin Semiconductor, which has 2,500 employees;
  • Samsung has purchased 250 acres of land next to its existing facility and has applied for zoning variances, and is seeking more than $1 billion in incentives to build there. It quoted Nate Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying Samsung’s odds of expanding there are “north of 90 percent.”
  • Roger Kay, a market analyst with Boston-based Endpoint Technologies Associates, said that Austin has “the inside track” and suggested other sites, including STAMP, “are most likely involved to help the company drive up the value of incentives in Austin.”

Hyde remains optimistic, stating:

“We’ve been eating this elephant a bite at a time as capital becomes available. You know what, though, we’re finally just now arriving at the season where we built the initial pieces of the infrastructure for the site and we can accommodate smaller projects. But we’ve got all of the big infrastructure fully designed, fully permitted and fully ready to build … and now the big projects are inside that window.”

February 11, 2021 - 12:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Steve Hyde, GCEDC, news, wny stamp, batavia, live stream, video.
Video Sponsor

Interview with Steve Hyde, CEO of GCEDC. We'll talk about the state of economic development in Genesee County, touching on the ag park, Downtown Batavia, and STAMP. We're scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

January 23, 2021 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in samsung, wny stamp, news, business.

South Korean technology company Samsung is reportedly eyeing WNY STAMP, along with two locations in Texas, for the construction of a $13 billion chip manufacturing plant.

Citing The Wall Street Journal (paywall), The Hill reports, Samsung aims to become the leader in the $400 billion industry and needs a plant in the Uniited States to make that happen.

Sen. Charles Schumer was in Alabama in August to discuss a congressional push to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the United States as a matter of national defense. The National Defense Authorization Act has not yet been funded.

The Hill reports that Samsung is looking to negotiate with federal officials for financial incentives to build the plant in the United States because it would be cheaper to develop its product in other parts of the world. 

Reportedly, Samsung’s goal is to have a chip-making plant operational by October 2022 and to employ 1,900 people.

May 15, 2020 - 8:51am

The Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night recommended approval of a zoning text amendment to allow mixed-use buildings in the Town of Pembroke Interchange District, but not before a discussion on the practice of placing housing units in industrial parks.

Tom Schubmehl, a member of the planning board and Pembroke resident, said he had some reservations about the Town Board’s application to modify zoning in the Interchange District -- a wide area around Thruway Exit 48A, extending to Route 5 along Route 77.

“Is there any other district in the county industrial districts that allows residential use? Schubmehl asked, directing his question to County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari.

Oltramari said that the Interchange District was different from a traditional industrial district.

“It can have commercial and it can have industrial … it has the Flying J (Travel Center). It has other things like that and includes an industrial park from the EDC,” Oltramari said, adding that he couldn’t think of other similar areas in the county that permit mixed-use facilities.

Schubmehl said he couldn’t either and said “it is a concern of mine that we start letting residential fill in this space. It's going to be no different than the rest of Pembroke.”

“I know it has no bearing on the impact of inter-community that we're discussing here tonight as a County Planning Board, but as a resident of Pembroke, I think it's bad idea,” he stated.

$3 Million Commercial/Resident Project Proposed

The Genesee County Economic Development Center is touting a $3 million commercial/residential project at its Buffalo East Technology Park, which is situated in the Interchange District.

J & R Fancher Property Holdings LLC has proposed building a 32,254-square-foot, three-story facility on two acres in the park, and is waiting for a public hearing and GCEDC board vote on its application to receive more than $600,000 in property, sales and mortgage tax incentives.

According to the GCEDC, the project consists of 17 market-rate, one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors, with space for four commercial tenants, as well as indoor parking and a fitness center on the ground floor.

Chris Suozzi, GCEDC vice president of business development, was on the planning board’s Zoom videoconference meeting last night, and pointed out that his agency worked with the Town of Pembroke on attracting the venture.

“They were all in favor for it,” Suozzi said. “Certainly, there's a housing shortage need in Genesee County. If anybody hasn't seen the housing study that LaBella (Associates) put out, (it’s) on the Genesee County website. And there's a big shortage of housing.”

GCEDC: 'Live, Work, Play' Model

Suozzi said the GCEDC is promoting a “live, work, play model” and that housing – particularly at industrial parks -- is an essential component in that thinking.

“And I know the location … in Pembroke is a great location because it's across from the school and already has a Tim Hortons that wasn't part of the EDC project, but it has that ability to be right next door to it and also has 7.9 acres in total that is being proposed, of which 2 (acres) are buildable and the other 5.9 are wetlands,” Suozzi offered. “They're all protected. It's a green space.”

He went on to say the project will generate tax revenue for the Town of Pembroke and reiterated that the town board is endorsing it.

Schubmehl then asked Suozzi if the GCEDC was going to consider residential at the WNY Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) in the Town of Alabama.

“Well, you know, if the town said yes, I would certainly look at it, but it's not really up to Chris Suozzi and it’s not up to the EDC -- it's up to the municipality,” he said, again referencing a housing shortage.

“We look at economic development as a whole, and we bring in these companies … and the workers are living in Rochester and Buffalo, (so) we’re not optimizing the economic benefit of Genesee County,” he said. “And that's what that housing studies are showing; (that) there's a big need and we're missing the boat in terms of that revenue staying right in our county.

“So, to me, this is a new world right now and housing’s a big part of it, and the 'live, work, play' model is starting to change what's going on Downtown Buffalo right now … It's because all these old factories are being recondition and rehabbed and the millennials are jumping all over them and they're seeing growth in their workforce.”

Director Promotes Mixed Use for STAMP Site

Oltramari said he could foresee mixed-use buildings at the STAMP site, especially in a technology district closest to the hamlet of Alabama.

“I could see mixed-use buildings in that because the whole point of that is sort of having like an actual link between the hamlet and the business park,” he said. “You could have commercial businesses on the bottom floor, sort of like a main street kind of scenario. And I think that's been the vision for, you know, that kind of part of the park for a while now. So, I think even the town would be in favor of that at STAMP.”

Schubmehl asked whether or not the “live, work” model was actually in the proposal in front of the board, which prompted Oltramari to say he didn’t see it as a major issue.

“I think the era of separating uses, just for the sake of it commercial from residential or, you know, the whole reasoning behind that is to keep incompatible uses apart,” he said. “I don’t see that as a reason anymore, especially in the business parks.”

Planning Board Chair Laraine Caton then asked for a vote and all members, including Schubmehl, voted in favor of the request.

“No, I'm not opposed to it for the purposes as a planning board, we’re worried about inter-community problems here,” Schubmehl said. “And that's not an inter-community problem.”

In other action, planners:

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit for Jesse and Jolene Coots of Le Roy to operate an ATV, automotive event, hill climb, mud bog and time trial course on 10 acres of a 110-acre vacant parcel of land that they own on Perry Road in Pavilion.

The applicants said they plan to hold events two or three times this year (with the schedule dependent upon the COVID-19 pandemic).

The board’s modifications focus on the applicant obtaining written documentation from NYS Department of Conservation that the project will not be encroaching on wetlands as well as a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for the potential Federal Wetlands. It also asks that the Coots submit an application for 9-1-1 Address Verification to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office to ensure that an address is assigned that meets Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

-- Recommended approval with modifications of a special use permit request from Waifin Properties LLC of Clarence Center to operate a contractor’s yard in a Commercial District at 850 Main Road, Pembroke.

The proposed yard would encompass a 100-foot by 100-foot area on a 7.6-acre lot.

The board said the applicant is required to surround equipment and materials storage area with a fence of at least 8 feet high that has a gate, which shall be closed and locked except during working hours.

October 10, 2019 - 8:18pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Planning Board, propane, wny stamp.

The Genesee County Planning Board tonight voted in favor of a special use permit for a family-owned propane business that is branching out to the Town of Le Roy.

The board unanimously approved the permit for Wendt’s Propane & Oil to install an above-ground propane distribution center at OATKA Hills 1 Commerce Park on North and Lake Roads in Le Roy, agreeing that the project should pose no significant county-wide or inter-community impact.

It was recommended, however, that Town of Le Roy officials alert the fire district of the plan and that the applicant submit documentation pertaining to 9-1-1 address verification requirements and to meet Enhanced 9-1-1 standards.

Company President Paul Wendt and his son, Trevor, sales manager, attended the meeting along with David Ciurzynski, of Ciurzynski Consulting LLC, in Attica.

“Our office is in Sanborn but we have been delivering more and more this way,” said Paul Wendt, noting that the Le Roy facility will be their first venture away from Niagara County. “We found a nice piece of property in Genesee County and we thought that it would be good to expand.”

Wendt said three employees initially will work at the Le Roy site, which (mirroring its home base) will provide propane and oil service for commercial, residential and agricultural customers.

According to documents filed with the planning board, the plan is to develop around six acres of the parcel for the above-ground storage tanks and 9,600-square-foot warehouse and truck garage building. The rest of the 11.9-acre tract will remain undeveloped, with an eye on creating walking paths and green space.

Ciurzynski said they hope to have the tanks installed in November and have the building up by next spring. First, they have to get the Town of Le Roy's approval of the special use permit and then apply for the necessary building permits.

The Wendts’ project is set up in two phases – the first to get the site ready for the installation of a pair of 30,000-gallon storage tanks, with four additional locations for future expansion, and the second to put up the warehouse and truck garage.

In other action, planners recommended:

-- Approval of a special sign permit for a third sign at Metro Mattress at 4187 Veterans Memorial Drive in the Town of Batavia. While the maximum number of signs normally is two, the board felt the extra sign would not cause any problems.

Documentation submitted by Craig Tesler of Premier Sign Systems showed three freestanding lighted signs would be affixed to the building – at dimensions of approximately 4 x 10 feet, 3 ½ by 24 feet, and 3 ½ by 7 ½ feet.

-- Approval of an ice cream stand to be operated by Amanda Smith, of Darien, on property owned by John Mroz at 9114 Alleghany Road (Route 77) in the Town of Pembroke.

-- Approval of a site plan review for relocation of a doctor’s office to a building owned by Nancy Crocker at 7133 W. Main Road (Route 5) in the Town of Le Roy. The 4,460-square-foot structure sits on 3.1 acres and meets medical code requirements, the owner said.

-- Approval of the final subdivision to transfer a roadway at the WNY Science &Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park from routes 77 and 63 to Crosby Road (STAMP Drive) in the Town of Alabama from the Genesee County Economic Development Center to the Genesee County Highway Department.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

January 4, 2017 - 9:14pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Town Board, wny stamp.

The near completion of a revised Comprehensive Plan, the imminent placement of a state-of-the-art solar wafer manufacturing plant at the WNY Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the Town of Alabama, and a steady stream of proposed housing and building projects have Supervisor Gregory Post believing that 2017 will be a banner year for the Town of Batavia.

“While you notice that little has changed from last year in terms of protocols, policies and procedures, I think next year will be more exciting … you’ll see some significant changes,” Post said Wednesday night after the Batavia Town Board organizational and special meeting at Town Hall on West Main Street.

Post said that he expects 2017 to be a “very big and very exciting year” for the municipality and he bases his expectations on several factors, including:

-- The progress the town has made on its revised Comprehensive Plan, which is expected to be finalized by the spring;

-- Action by the Genesee County Economic Development Center to bring1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts solar wafer manufacturing firm, into the STAMP site;

-- Developments such as the Southwest Water District project and the termination of several PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) that will increase the town’s revenue in the form of taxes paid by companies doing business in the town.

“I think we’re at a breakpoint … we’re relatively stable and ready to hit that next bump (in economic activity),” he said.

Post said the plan that the board has put into place is designed to keep the tax rate at the current level for the next few years -- $2.64 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for 2017 – as long as revenues go up as expected. He did admit, however, that the negotiations between Genesee County and the City of Batavia on their sales tax allocation agreement as it pertains to water usage could negatively affect the town.

“We’re basing things on the current agreement,” Post said. “(Changes) could have a dramatic impact upon the town’s revenue.”

As far as the Comprehensive Plan is concerned, Post said the town is in prime position for growth “because we’ve been working the hardest for the longest period of time on the plan and its overlays.”

The town’s Comprehensive Plan governs decisions on zoning, capital improvements and budgeting, addressing key issues such as land use, natural resources, agriculture and farmland, parks and recreation, housing, economic development, transportation and government services. It last was updated about seven years ago.

Post also indicated that the board is considering a proposal by David Ficarella of Lovers Lane Road to build a three-story, 110-unit senior apartment complex off Route 33 near Donahue Road, west of the city.

Ficarella, working with Calamar Enterprises of Wheatfield, asked the town to provide breaks in property assessment over a 10-year period in return for the opportunity to generate more than $1 million in county and school tax revenue while also getting a sewer system that it could tap into in the future.

“There is always a way as long as there is an equitable benefit,” Post said in response to a question whether the town would entertain such a request. “We’re in the initial stages; we haven’t said no to anything.”

The project also would involve the extension of Edgewood Drive to Pearl Street and beyond, something that Post said town officials would be talking about in the near future.

In addition to this project, Post said the town is fielding dozens of building and zoning requests from business owners and residents. 

In action during the special meeting, the board:

-- Renewed an agreement with Arcadis of New York Inc., of Fairport to provide annual operation and maintenance engineering services at the Town of Batavia Landfill Superfund Site near Galloway and Kelsey roads at a cost of $17,022, slightly more than the $16,982 that was agreed to for 2016.

Seventy-five percent of the cost will be paid by the City of Batavia and the other 25 percent will be covered by the Town. The work involves project coordination and reporting along with groundwater sampling and monitoring.

-- Contracted with WorkFit Medical, of Rochester, to provide drug- and alcohol-testing services for employees at a cost of $100 per employee plus other service fees, such as physicals, immunizations and blood work per a predetermined schedule.

-- Contracted with Royal Employer Services, a program of Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, for counseling services at a cost of $320 for 2017.

-- Authorized Joseph Neth, assistant engineer, to participate in the 2017 Leadership Genesee program at a cost of $2,100.

During its organizational meeting, the board:

-- Made the following appointments -- Linda Eick, Wayne Townsend and Marcy Crandall to the Town Board of Ethics; Louis Paganello to the Planning Board for a six-year term; Andrew Young to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a four-year term, and Donna Morrill as an alternate member of the ZBA for a two-year term.

-- Approved salaries of elected officials as follows – Supervisor, $30,000; Deputy Supervisor, $15,000; Council members, $10,000; Town Clerk/Tax Collector, $66,229; Highway Superintendent, $18,035; Town Justice (2), $25,235.

September 22, 2016 - 7:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in wny stamp, Alabama, business, news, 1366 Technologies.

A groundbreaking ceremony should take place in Alabama sometime next month for the WNY Science, Technology & Advanced Manufacturing Park -- the STAMP project -- complete with state government dignitaries, said Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, during a meeting Wednesday of the County's Ways and Means Committee.

It will signal the start of development of STAMP, a planned high-tech industrial center that Hyde first proposed more than a decade ago.

Initial development will be building the infrastructure to support the site's first tenant and serve to attract additional tenants with the dream of eventually creating 10,000 jobs at the industrial park.

The first tenant is 1366 Technologies. With headquarters in the Boston area, 1366 will use a revolutionary manufacturing process to create silicon wafers for solar panels. 

Once the infrastructure work -- roads, sewer, water, electrical -- starts, 1366 will begin the design process for its facility.

Hyde expects there will be a second groundbreaking especially for 1366 sometime in the spring and the plant will be completed by the end of 2017.

Legislature John Deleo asked Hyde to explain why local residents shouldn't be worried about the prospects of 1366 when Solar City, part of the Buffalo Billions project, seems to be struggling.

Solar City and 1366 are completely unrelated projects and the two companies are pursuing very different business models, Hyde told Deleo.

Solar City is building a very large factory to manufacture residential and commercial solar panels that the company will sell itself to a domestic market.

Whereas, 1366 is only making solar wafers and its product will be a component in solar panels built by others for large industrial solar operations in overseas markets.

So far, 1366 has about $100 million in private investment capital, overseas strategic partners and its initial customers.

At full capacity, 1366 is expected to employ about 1,000 people.

For prior 1366 Technologies coverage, click here.

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