On December 19, 2019, over $761 million in community revitalization and regional economic development funding was been awarded through Round IX of New York state’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Since its inception in 2011, over $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs statewide through the REDC process.
“By empowering local officials and stakeholders who know their communities best, we have transformed the state’s economic development strategy into one that is not only successful, but is built to last,” said New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils.
“Together, we are revitalizing downtowns, supporting and attracting businesses, and welcoming new residents and visitors. Through the REDCs, we are advancing the strategic economic development strategies of each region and supporting growth as part of the Downtown and Upstate Revitalization Initiatives. With a focus on workforce development and growth of high-tech industries, we are adding new job opportunities and strengthening the economy of New York State,” she explained.
Here’s how the $761 million was distributed on a regional basis:
- Western New York: Regional Council Awardee | $67.3 million supporting 109 projects
- Finger Lakes: Regional Council Awardee | $64.4 million supporting 94 projects
- Southern Tier: Top Performer | $88.9 million supporting 109 projects
- Central New York: Top Performer | $86.2 million supporting 93 projects
- Mohawk Valley: Top Performer | $82.7 million supporting 81 projects
- North Country: Regional Council Awardee | $67.9 million supporting 83 projects
- Capital Region: Top Performer | $84.1 million supporting 120 projects
- Mid-Hudson: Regional Council Awardee | $65.8 million supporting 105 projects
- New York City: Regional Council Awardee | $66.3 million supporting 109 projects
- Long Island: Top Performer | $87.9 million supporting 94 projects
“Throughout the Regional Economic Development Council process over the past nine years, we have seen unprecedented regional investment focusing on a ground-up, strategic model that has spurred tremendous growth in every corner of this great state,” New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said.
“By bringing together local leaders and stakeholders who are invested in their communities we have replaced the ‘one size fits all’ approach to economic development with one that is unique to each community, creating opportunities for success all across the Empire State,” he added.
The REDC process has transformed New York State government’s approach to economic development, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up, regional economic growth and streamlining the state funding application process. Established in 2011 as a centerpiece of the governor’s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state’s old top-down approach with one that is community-based and performance-driven.
In 2019, all 10 REDCs competed for up to $150 million in capital funds and $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects identified by the Regional Councils as priorities in their regions. All ten regions competed for designation as a Top Performer with the five top performing regions being awarded a share of $100 million in ESD capital grants. The remaining five regions were awarded a share of $50 million in ESD capital grants. Each region was also awarded a share of $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.
The Regional Council priorities this year included working with local businesses and communities to identify childcare needs and develop potential solutions; developing an economic and environmental justice strategy for the region; supporting community investment in place-making and downtown revitalization; and supporting the state’s $175 million Workforce Development Initiative. Each council was asked to address these items in ways that complement each regional vision.
During Round IX, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), comprising state agency commissioners and members of the New York State Legislature, received presentations on this year’s proposals from each of the ten Regional Councils and assessed the implementation of the regions’ strategic plans.
Here are highlights of the funded projects:
Western New York: Regional Council Awardee | $67.3 million supporting 109 projects
- Grow Chautauqua – Empire State Brands will receive $2,940,000 from Empire State Development to renovate a vacant food processing facility in Dunkirk. The project will include the development and launch a vertically-integrated growing, processing and packaging operation for the production of quality hops, malted barley, wheat, rye and other grain products. The new processing facility will enable further agricultural growth and create jobs in the region.
- Kleinhans Music Hall Campaign for A New Century – Kleinhans Music Hall will receive $1,000,000 from Empire State Development to embark on necessary repairs and upgrades to the building mechanicals and structure. These improvements will ensure that the hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, has the ability to operate as a world-class venue for the foreseeable future.
- Furniture Mart Building Redevelopment – The Gebbie Foundation will receive $1,346,000 from Empire State Development to partner with The Krog Group to acquire and redevelop the historic nine story Jamestown Furniture Exposition Building. The project will include ground floor retail, offices, and 30 new apartments on the upper two floors with panoramic views of the Chadakoin River and downtown Jamestown.
Finger Lakes: Regional Council Awardee | $64.4 million supporting 94 projects
- UR Medicine Home Care Relocation – UR Medicine Home Care (URMHC) will receive $2,000,000 from Empire State Development to relocate its corporate headquarters to the City of Rochester to help centralize, improve, and expand operations. Moving their primary operations to a more centralized location will help URMHC hire staff to meet growing demand and provide better care and improve access for patients.
- Webster Economic Access Project – The Village of Webster will receive $1,838,000 from Empire State Development to rehabilitate and modernize the primary roads within the Xerox Corporation industrial campus. Improving access to and through the park will enhance the long-term use and growth of the site for Xerox and other potential tenants.
- Durand Eastman Park Public Beach House Design- The City of Rochester will receive $375,000 from Department of State to design a beach house to support the public swimming beach at Durand Eastman Park on Lake Ontario. The beach house will include restrooms, changing rooms, a lifeguard office and first aid station, storage, exterior deck areas, and a safe beach egress. The project will implement the City of Rochester Local Waterfront Revitalization Program by improving public access and amenities to Lake Ontario and by advancing compliance with the NYS Code for bathing beaches.
Southern Tier: Top Performer | $88.9 million supporting 109 projects
- Upstate Campbell Expansion – Upstate Farms Cheese, LLC, a subsidiary of farmer-owned Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., will receive $2,280,000 from Empire State Development to modernize its Campbell facility to increase capacity, update infrastructure, enhance quality programs, and expand sustainability initiatives.
- Airport Corporate Park Child Care Center – Country Kids Childcare Center, LLC will receive $400,000 from Empire State Development to relocate existing operations to a newly built facility, expanding access to child-care and creating new jobs in Chemung County.
- Transonic Systems Advanced Manufacturing – Transonic Systems will received $440,000 from Empire State Development to transition their existing manufacturing plant in Ithaca to include automated processes, allowing the company to create jobs and meet continued demand for their medical device products.
Central New York: Top Performer | $86.2 million supporting 93 projects
- Cayuga Milk Ingredients, LLC – Cayuga Milk Ingredients (CMI) will receive $5,000,000 from Empire State Development as part of an overall investment of approximately $89,000,000 to install an evaporator and feed system and a UHT/Aseptic bottling line. With this investment, CMI, a respected manufacturer of high quality/infant grade milk ingredients, will increase output by 20% and increase sales of high value milk powders around the globe.
- Tessy Plastics Expansion Project – Tessy Plastics Corp. will receive $5,000,000 to redevelop one of its existing facilities in Central NY, allowing it to expand the number and type of products it manufactures. The project will include the creation of a controlled environment clean room, improvements to building mechanicals and utilities, upgrades to exterior areas including loading docks and parking lots, and other building specific improvements as needed, such as warehouse space or office space.
- ACCESS Dental Laboratories – ACCESS Global Enterprises, LLC will receive $430,000 to renovate the property at 1081 S. Salina Street in Syracuse, Onondaga County, into a light manufacturing facility and a day care center. The project includes building renovations and the purchase and installation of production machinery and equipment.
Mohawk Valley: Top Performer | $ 82.7 million supporting 81 projects
- City of Amsterdam – The City of Amsterdam and Centro Civico will receive $1,200,000 to construct a new modern Community and Recreation Center in the East End of Amsterdam.
- Feldmeier Equipment Riverside Expansion Project – Feldmeier Equipment Inc. will receive $2,500,000 from Empire State Development to expand its existing Riverside location adding 89,250 square feet of production space, which includes 5,250 square feet of high bay space. The project also includes the purchase of automated equipment.
- Sovena Building Expansion – Sovena USA will receive $950,000 from Empire State Development to expand its Rome manufacturing plant adding about 83,500 square feet of warehouse, oil storage, and shipping/receiving areas to the facility. The project will increase oil and finished goods storage capacities by 20% and 50% respectively and allow improved production efficiencies that can support another 28% growth in the company’s volume sales.
North Country: Regional Council Awardee | $67.9 million supporting 83 projects
- Dual Development / Lake Placid Hotel – Dual Development, LLC will receive $3,000,000 from Empire State Development to demolish an outdated hotel in downtown Lake Placid and construct a new hotel in its place. This project is a new model of efficiency whereby two hotel chains share numerous common areas. The hotel will offer two products that are not currently available in the Lake Placid regional market including a Home2 extended-stay suites and a TRU by Hilton, which is a mid-priced hotel brand that is marketed towards younger tech-savvy and design-minded travelers on a budget.
- Midtown Plaza Redevelopment – SUNY Canton will receive $1,322,000 from Empire State Development to redevelop the blighted Midtown Plaza, located in the heart of downtown Canton, into a mixed-use property. The existing buildings will be demolished and replaced by a 3-story structure. The first floor will include an Entrepreneurship Center and commercial space, while the second and third floors will house residential units.
- EZ Stak – Watertown Plant Expansion – EZ STAK will receive $1,240,000 from Empire State Development to purchase and renovate a new facility in Watertown. The company will purchase a large automated sheet metal processor, warehouse racking, upgraded powder coating machine and air compressor. This move will allow EZ STAK to relocate much of their aluminum manufacturing businesses from Canada to New York.
Capital Region: Top Performer | $84.1 million supporting 120 projects
- Center for Technology Education (CTE) Expansion – Albany-Schoharie-Schenectady-Saratoga BOCES will receive $5,000,000 from Empire State Development to build a workforce training center outfitted with cutting-edge labs and learning spaces to train students and adults for current and future industry needs. This new center will replace the current 46-year-old CTE complex.
- A New Shaker Museum for Columbia County – Shaker Museum Library will receive $1,569,000 from Empire State Development to renovate a large 19th century masonry building in downtown Chatham, NY into a state-of-the-art museum facility to house its library and object collection. It will provide flexible space for exhibitions, community programming, and educational activities.
- Schenectady Port – Dagen Trucking, Inc. will receive $1,560,000 from Empire State Development to construct a heavy lift and special cargo capacity maritime infrastructure on the NYS Canal Corridor in Schenectady County. The project will enhance the competitiveness of manufacturing companies in Upstate New York and open up export and import opportunities for the regional economy.
Mid-Hudson: Regional Council Awardee | $65.8 million supporting 105 projects
- Instrumentation Laboratory Building Expansion and Renovation – Instrumentation Laboratory will receive $2,905,000 from Empire State Development to undertake an expansion of its Manufacturing and Technology Center in Orangeburg, NY, Rockland County. The expansion will grow the building by 30%, facilitating increases to the manufacturing, research and development, and administrative functions needed to support growth in the medical device industry.
- SeeQC Inc. Clearbrook Expansion – SeeQC, Inc. will receive $600,000 from Empire State Development to expand its advanced chip manufacturing and testing infrastructure and facilities in order to produce qubits, the basic elements of a quantum computer, for the purposes of building application specific quantum systems.
- Spectrum Designs – Westchester Expansion- Spectrum Designs will receive $240,000 from Empire State Development to lease and renovate a 10,000 square foot multi-use commercial property located in the City of White Plains, NY, Westchester County. This project will provide employment opportunities and vocational education for people with developmental disabilities; making an impact in Community Development and Business and Economic Growth investment.
New York City: Regional Council Awardee | $66.3 million supporting 109 projects
- Universal Hip Hop Museum – The Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) will receive $3,750,000 from Empire State Development to build a state-of-the-art cultural arts institution and the first museum in the world dedicated to the preservation and celebration of hip hop history and culture. Community programming and an in-house museum job-training program will be central components of the project. The UHHM will attract worldwide visitors, and further development on the underutilized Bronx/Harlem River waterfront.
- TARA Biosystems Expansion – TARA Biosystems, Inc. will receive $1,210,000 to expand its office and lab space at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, purchase specialized equipment, and create jobs. Consequently, it will support the growth of the Alexandria Center as a biotech hub in New York City. TARA Biosystems has developed a proprietary platform of cardiac tissue models, allowing pharmaceutical companies to screen their medications under development for potential cardiovascular benefits and risks.
- New Lab Building 127- New Lab will receive $1,000,000 from Empire State Development to expand its current operations in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This expansion will lead to more technology sector jobs and support the Navy Yard’s technology hub initiative.
Long Island: Top Performer | $87.9 million supporting 94 projects
- Lake Success YMCA – The YMCA of Long Island will receive $3,000,000 from Empire State Development to build a new state-of-the-art facility in collaboration with Northwell Health. This new YMCA will provide child care and promote health and wellness services for the benefit of the community.
- Biocogent LLC – Biocogent LLC, a Stony Brook University incubator company, will receive $1,500,000 from Empire State Development to add jobs and expand its bio-manufacturing capacity outside the incubator.
- Pal-O-Mine Restore to Balance – Pal-O-Mine, an equine therapy provider, will receive $600,000 from Empire State Development to expand its facility and program for high-risk youth and adults with disabilities to receive job training, work-force preparedness and internships.
After nine rounds of the Regional Economic Development Council competition:
- Western New York REDC has received $620.4 million for 890 projects;
- Finger Lakes REDC has received $721 million for 950 projects;
- Southern Tier REDC has received $702.3 million for 764 projects;
- Central New York REDC has received $789.8 million for 801 projects;
- Mohawk Valley REDC has received $697.7 million for 721 projects;
- North Country REDC has received $682.2 million for 690 projects;
- Capital Region REDC has received $673 million for 933 projects;
- Mid-Hudson REDC has received $713.6 million for 914 projects;
- New York City REDC has received $615.9 million for 819 projects; and
- Long Island REDC has received $727 million for 885 projects.
The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, “For nearly ten years, the REDC process has been the driving force behind New York State’s economic development decisions, and the model is a proven success. As the process enters the next decade, we are seeing the legacy of past projects being completed and excited about the new economic development opportunities our REDCs continue to identify.”
After nine rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.9 billion has been awarded to more than 8,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 240,000 jobs.