On September 25, 2018, 32 revitalizing projects were backed through the $20 million Greater Binghamton Fund. The initiative, first announced by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in August of 2017, facilitates key economic recovery projects in Binghamton, Johnson City and Endicott, as outlined in the Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan.
The Greater Binghamton Fund aims to transform targeted urban centers, or “iDistricts,” into communities where the next generation of workers want to live, work, and play. The fund will support innovative and creative projects, including mixed-use and mixed-income developments, private retail and commercial development, and smart growth technologies will be implemented through infrastructure and streetscape improvements.
“The Greater Binghamton Fund is a game changer for the entire region, providing opportunities for development and revitalization,” Governor Cuomo said. “It will help create an environment for businesses to expand and grow and attract top notch employees, supporting the vitality of the Southern Tier as it continues to soar.”
The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council solicited public input through a series of events, including community meetings in each “iDistrict”, industry focus groups, stakeholder meetings, and advice and guidance of the Regional Economic Development Council’s Greater Binghamton Work group. The Greater Binghamton Work group is led by Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and Binghamton University Chief of Staff Terry Kane.
“The Greater Binghamton Fund is leveraging significant private investment to fund transformative projects in Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Upstate New York is moving forward like never before because of our unprecedented focus on economic development and job creation. This fund supports new jobs, new affordable housing, and streetscape improvements to continue the revitalization of the Southern Tier.”
Selected Projects Include:
Downtown Entertainment & Cultural Organizations District: Will establish a unified arts and culture mixed-use district by strengthening existing arts anchors, creating dynamic public spaces and streetscapes, and redeveloping existing properties aimed at attracting new residents, businesses, artists and art patrons to downtown Binghamton. Total project cost: $3,617,659/GBF award: $1,725,120.
- The Kenmore: Calls for the complete renovation of the historic building into 26 modern studio apartments, as well as the addition of an elevator in the facility. Total project cost: $2,525,500/GBF award: $500,000.
- 70-72 Court Street: Includes the construction of a five-story, new mixed-use development that will be home to commercial space on the ground floor with residential units above. Total project cost: $4,750,000/GBF award $500,000.
- Endicott Hotel: Calls for the demolition of the deteriorating Endicott Inn, which will be replaced with a 76-room hotel and conference center that will serve as a gateway to the Endicott iDistrict. Total project cost: $7,978,531/GBF award: $1,595,700.
- Henry B. Endicott School Redevelopment: Calls for the adaptive reuse of the former school into a residential development called Endicott Square. It will feature 71 affordable housing units and will be targeted to families with incomes at or below 60% Area Median Income. Total project cost: $23,864,566/GBF award: $3,000,000
- Huron Campus Advanced Manufacturing Hub: Comprises two components. The first will see the acquisition and demolition of two existing buildings to construct a new corporate entrance on the north side of the industrial park. The second piece calls for the partial demolition of two north campus buildings and the cleanup and repurposing of the space for future tenants. Total project cost: $1.3 million/GBF award: $455,000.
- Southern Tier Ag Revitalization Transformation (START): Will see the expansion of local, Southern Tier sustainable, indoor agriculture startup company AgZeit, LLC. The company grows organic produce year-round. The will buy two properties in order to expand its growing operations to serve the Johnson City and Endicott iDistricts. Total project cost: $11,741,598/GBF award: $1,949,000.
- Johnson City Rail Trail: Will transform the underutilized Norfolk-Southern Railroad spur into a multi-modal trail. Total project cost: $591,560/GBF award $514,400.
- JC iDistrict Wi-Fi Hot Spots: Calls for the creation of six Wi-Fi hot spots at public parks and bus stops throughout the Johnson City district where anyone with a smart phone or device could access the internet at no charge. Total project cost: $75,325/GBF award $65,500.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Greater Binghamton Fund supports projects targeting revitalization of long-neglected urban areas and historic buildings, with a turnaround plan to create cultural centers, jobs and housing–all of which will stimulate long-term regional investment and sustainability.”
Combined, the projects that will be supported by the transformative Greater Binghamton Fund will include 139,000 square-feet of renovated or new commercial space, 12 streetscape or pubic realm projects, the renovation of four historically significant properties, 30 public art installations, 3 demolitions, 20 façade renovations, the adaptive reuse of nine vacant buildings and the construction of 145 new affordable and market-rate housing units. All told, the initiative represents a combined $80.3 million in both public and private investment.
The selected projects fall within the geographic boundaries of the designated innovation districts. The “iDistricts” are anchored by significant economic drivers, including:
- Koffman Southern Tier Incubator in downtown Binghamton celebrated its first anniversary in June. The project was supported by $15 million in state investment and is already at near-capacity.
- Binghamton University School of Pharmacy, in Johnson City is now open. The project was supported by $60 million in state investment and has already created 75 new jobs. Classes began at the facility on August 22nd.
- The Huron Campus in Endicott, former site of the IBM plant, is home to recently announced Southern Tier Soaring projects including NextFlex and Imperium3.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo added, “The economic health of our region is directly linked to Broome County’s urban core. The Greater Binghamton Fund targets developments that build on our community’s strengths and also directly addresses the goals of the iDistricts, a central feature of our winning Upstate Revitalization Initiative. I sincerely appreciate the Governor’s ongoing commitment to driving resources Upstate.”
The Binghamton announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation.
Endicott Village Mayor John Bertoni declared, “The Greater Binghamton Fund will support our efforts to ensure a brighter future for the next generation of families in our community, by growing the economy and by providing new opportunities for our hard-working residents. I am so grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to revitalizing our region.”
Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs.
City of Binghamton Mayor Richard C. David concluded, “The Greater Binghamton Fund, and specifically the new DECO District, will help create a more livable, walkable and vibrant community. In the Southern Tier, Downtown Binghamton has become a true arts and culture destination, and these funds will support creative strategies for continued community revitalization. We thank Governor Cuomo for advancing this transformative initiative to better retain and attract young professionals and families.”
Photo by Doug Kerr (via Wikipedia) shows the former DL&W Station, which is part of Binghamton’s Railroad Terminal Historic District.