On December 18, 2018, over $763 million was awarded to New York communities to revitalize their economies and boost quality of life, via Round VIII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
Established in 2011 as a centerpiece of New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo‘s strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils replaced the state’s old top-down approach to community revitalization with one that is community-based and performance-driven.
The initiative empowers communities, business and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.
“Over the last eight years, we have implemented a vision to move New York State’s economy forward by allowing communities to make strategic investments to help grow their local economies and re-energize and develop their unique regions,” Governor Cuomo said.
“Regional-based economic development is vital for maintaining New York’s thriving, prosperous economy. I congratulate all of the winners of this year’s REDC awards and look forward to working together to build a stronger New York for generations to come,” he concluded.
“By empowering the people 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,” added Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils.
“Together, we’re restoring downtowns, supporting local businesses, and welcoming new residents and visitors. Through the REDC process, we’re advancing the strategic economic development plans 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’re adding new job opportunities and strengthening the economy of the entire State of New York,” she concluded.
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. Since the initiative’s inception in 2011, over $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs statewide.
In this latest round, over $763 million in revitalization funding was awarded:
- Western New York: Regional Council Awardee | $66 million supporting 118 projects
- Finger Lakes: Top Performer Awardee | $86.5 million supporting 141 projects
- Southern Tier: Regional Council Awardee | $65.4 million supporting 101 projects
- Central New York: Top Performer Awardee | $88.2 million supporting 91 projects
- Mohawk Valley: Top Performer Awardee | $85.4 million supporting 77 projects
- North Country: Regional Council Awardee | $64.8 million supporting 70 projects
- Capital Region: Regional Council Awardee | $67 million supporting 95 projects
- Mid-Hudson: Top Performer Awardee | $87.1 million supporting 122 projects
- New York City: Top Performer Awardee | $84.4 million supporting 137 projects
- Long Island: Regional Council Awardee | $68.3 million supporting 103 projects
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky explained, “Across the state, communities remain actively engaged in their own economic development strategies and, as a result, we are seeing economic growth and job creation. By empowering regions to create their own path to success, New York State is making smart, strategic investments that promote sustainable economic development.”
This spring, Governor Cuomo launched Round VIII of the REDC and the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) is a comprehensive, community-driven effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across New York State by investing $10 million in 10 municipalities statewide.
Earlier this year, after thoroughly evaluating each downtown’s potential for transformation, each of the REDCs recommended the top community plan in their region. To guide the use of the $10 million DRI awards, each municipality follows a Strategic Investment Plan, which identifies specific projects that align with a unique vision for revitalization of their downtown area.
During Round VIII, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT), which is composed of state agency commissioners and members of the New York State Legislature, traveled to Rome, Rochester and White Plains to receive presentations on this year’s proposals from each of the ten Regional Councils directly and assessed the implementation of the regions’ strategic plans.
In 2018, all 10 REDCs competed for designation as a “Top Performer.” Five Top Performers will receive up to $20 million in additional Empire State Development grant funding to support priority projects, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region is eligible for up to $75 million in additional Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.
Highlights of the 1050+ projects receiving $763 million through this eighth round of the REDC competition:
Western New York: Regional Council Awardee | $66 million supporting 118 projects
- Rosina Food Product, Inc. will receive $2 million from Empire State Development for its Protein Operation Expansion. The $32 million project includes building a new 120,000 square foot plant and production line for manufacturing a variety of meat product – doubling the company’s current production capacity and relocating production from out-of-state to the new facility in West Seneca. This is the first phase of a potentially multi-phased master plan to retain Rosina Food in Western New York.
- Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute will receive $1.2 million from Empire State Development for the Center for Therapeutic Interactions, which will allow for the creation and operation of a new facility and research center around Cryo-Electron Microscopy technology (Cryo-EM), which will accelerate drug discovery and treatment of disease. The $4.3 million project includes interior demolition and construction of the research suite that conforms to specific equipment specifications. Upon completion, the Center will be a magnet for biomedical R&D companies to establish regional research hubs near the Cryo-EM facilities, with associated job creation at multiple levels.
- AgriAmerica Fruit Products, LLC will receive $498,600 from Empire State Development to fit-out and modernize a previously closed grape juice manufacturing facility in Fredonia, reusing it as a plant that will produce custom-made fruit juice concentrate manufacturing. Chautauqua County is the largest grape-producing county in the state and part of the world’s oldest and largest designated Concord grape growing region. The $2.4 million reuse project will help reverse drastic losses incurred in Western New York’s grape growing industry caused by recent closures in local processing plants and revive farm revenue by providing a sustainable market for fruit grown by more than 74 local family farms. Projected outcomes include job growth in food processing, fruit farming, distribution and construction and retail sectors.
Finger Lakes: Top Performer Awardee | $86.5 million supporting 141 projects
- Mason Farms will receive $1.9 million from Empire State Development to construct a 9,360 square foot sweet corn processing facility to produce up to 20,000 cases of organic and conventional sweet corn per week. Equipment will be purchased including cutting, cleaning, packaging and handling equipment for the corn, water handling and washing equipment, and a new sweet corn harvester. Phase 2 of this project will include a processing and packaging system for Mason Farms fruit and produce and a cold storage facility.
- Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES will receive $208,900 from Empire State Development for equipment to help train P-TECH high school students for high-demand, well-paying jobs in the areas of advanced manufacturing and information technology.
- Rochester Institute of Technology will receive $1.5 million from Empire State Development to renovate and upgrade its Genomics Research Lab Cluster, which will occupy 8,000 square feet within the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences on the RIT campus. The lab cluster will support increased faculty research in the life sciences, enable increased enrollment capacity in the university’s life sciences academic degree programs, and produce graduates with cutting edge skill sets for the region and the state, and workforce development opportunities for life science companies.
Southern Tier: Regional Council Awardee | $65.4 million supporting 101 projects
- Corning Community College will receive $1 million from Empire State Development to provide innovative solutions to workforce training through a partnership with public and private entities in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Curriculum will be modernized in the mechatronics systems, a multidisciplinary field combining electronics and mechanical engineering that will meet current employer demands and is aligned with the regional council’s efforts to support workforce development efforts across the Southern Tier in targeted, growing industries.
- Broome County will receive $620,000 from Empire State Development to create an innovative, modernized complex that serves the region’s veterans by providing resources including workforce development, civilian reintegration and mental and physical well-being services.
- JD Granary, LLC will receive $225,000 from Empire State Development to build a certified organic grain storage, grinding, milling, and blending facility for its animal feed mill. One of the only animal feed mills in the Northeast verified by the Non-GMO project, this expansion will allow the company to meet the growing market demand for organic animal feed and supports the regional priority to transform the food and agriculture industry.
Central New York: Top Performer Awardee | $88.2 million supporting 91 projects
- SAF GLAS, LLC. will receive $8 million from Empire State Development and will invest approximately $59 million to relocate its Florida manufacturing and research and development operations for EnergyGlass to Jamesville, Onondaga County. The project will include the purchase of land and existing facility, renovations and new construction, purchase and installation of machinery and equipment. The company brings an innovative new patented glass technology that transforms residential and commercial building windows into vertical “solar farms” and allows these structures to reuse generated electricity and become self-sufficient and off the grid.
- Volpi Manufacturing USA, Inc. will receive $320,000 from Empire State Development while investing $1.9 million to demolish 14,000 square feet of its existing facility and replace that space with new cleanrooms. As an engineering service provider and OEM and fiber optic supplier, Volpi develops tailored solutions for customers such as Siemens, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, Roche, GE, Welch Allyn and Qiagen.
- Knowles Cazenovia will receive $1.8 million from Empire State Development while investing approximately $9 million to expand its production capacity at its facility in Cazenovia, Madison County. The project includes facility renovations and installing new machinery and equipment. This project will allow Knowles Cazenovia to better compete in the growing radio frequency filtering market and allow it to meet the increasing need for microelectronic components that enable 5G telecommunication technology and infrastructure.
Mohawk Valley: Top Performer Awardee | $85.4 million supporting 77 projects
- Human Technologies Corporation will receive $1.935 million from Empire State Development to build a new logistics facility and create new job opportunities for individuals living with disabilities.
- Empire State Greenhouses will receive $5 million from Empire State Development to construct a new $70 million greenhouse complex in Cobleskill to grow organic vegetables year-round.
- Griffiss Local Development Corporation will receive $1.25 million from Empire State Development to develop modern, mixed-use, amenity-rich housing and offices to help high-tech companies in Griffiss Business & Technology Park attract young professionals.
North Country: Regional Council Awardee | $64.8 million supporting 70 projects
- Omniafiltra, a paper-based manufacturing company, will receive $114,000 from Empire State Development for production equipment. This $570,000 project will result in improved energy efficiencies and expand the range of product capability at the plant.
- Carthage Area Hospital will receive $3 million from Empire State Development to consolidate two of its outpatient clinic facilities, administration building and hospital by constructing a new medical campus. The $65 million Medical Village is a one-stop medical facility with access to all levels of medical care and is designed to address the significant access challenges to rural care. Carthage Area Hospital is one of several that services Fort Drum – New York’s largest single site employer.
- Acadia Energy will receive $415,000 from Empire State Development for its $4.1 million indoor vertical farm that will reuse waste heat and carbon dioxide from the Paddy Hill Energy Complex to grow hydroponic, organic produce.
Capital Region: Regional Council Awardee | $67 million supporting 95 projects
- Hudson Valley Community College will receive $200,000 from Empire State Development to support Alternative Options in Nursing Education. The project will allow HVCC to renovate 2,750 square feet of space in the Fitzgibbons Health Technology Center on its main campus in the City of Troy. HVCC will add an accelerated, 12-month nursing track (ANT) to its existing nursing program and accept 16 more students each year, representing a 16 percent increase to their annual enrollment of 100 students. The project will create more nursing school graduates to meet the shortage of skilled healthcare workers in the Capital Region and is an economic and community priority due to an aging population in need of care amidst a statewide nursing shortage.
- The Case Group, LLC will receive $500,000 from Empire State Development to support Advanced Manufacturing Product Development in the Village of Green Island. This $2.5 million project will enable The Case Group to create jobs for individuals with a range of skillsets and expand into new markets for custom manufactured wood, metal and composite windows, doors and facades. The new equipment enables commercialization of emerging technologies that introduce composites, carbon filter materials and advanced manufacturing processes to the window industry.
- Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will receive $1 million from Empire State Development and $500,000 through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to support a $5.5 million SPAC Improvement Project in Saratoga Springs. SPAC is the premier cultural center in upstate New York, serving as a magnet for thousands of visitors and cultural tourists to the region each year. The proposed project includes replacing the existing concession area and guest restroom facilities, the addition of an indoor classroom and gathering space and an integrated marketing campaign.
Mid-Hudson: Top Performer Awardee | $87.1 million supporting 122 projects
- Orange County Community College Association Inc. will receive $1.831 million from Empire State Development to invest in Phase I of the Innovation Grand Street Project. The project involves the renovation of two vacant/underutilized buildings in the City of Newburgh’s historic downtown district. The project will create space for training and programming that addresses specific needs for an educated workforce and encourages entrepreneurship in the region’s growing industries along with collaborative partners and local businesses.
- The Center for Discovery (TCFD) will receive $1 million from Empire State Development for the development of a new Research Institute for Brain & Body Health. This is part of a $4.8 million investment to transform a 164,000 square foot vacant commercial property in Rock Hill, located in the Town of Thompson, into a state-of-the-art bio-behavioral and healthcare facility including a Children’s Specialty Hospital and special education school program. Six laboratories will allow for pioneering studies in Autism Spectrum Disorders, medical frailties, Alzheimer’s and dementia and other chronic, complex conditions.
- Bread Alone will receive $800,000 from Empire State Development to expand its Lake Katrine bakery. Bread Alone is a certified organic, values-driven bakery that has been operating in the Hudson Valley since 1983. The expansion will add 15,000 square feet and position the bakery to sell more of its organic breads to their growing customer base. The $4.4 million expansion will further increase Bread Alone’s commitment to sustainable business operations, featuring LEED-certified construction and expanded use of renewable energy.
New York City: Top Performer Awardee | $84.4 million supporting 137 projects
- The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will receive $2 million from Empire State Development to transform its 64,000-square-foot, 12-story building into a dry lab facility containing entrepreneurial services, computational research and space for new commercial ventures at the nexus of life sciences and information technology. The $30 million project will include a commercial life sciences incubator operated by BIOHOUSE.
- Coalition for Queens (C4Q) will receive $150,000 from Empire State Development and $100,000 from Department of Labor to complete a $750,000 project to expand its Center for the Future Workforce by adding two classrooms and four workshop and meeting spaces. C4Q prepares low-income individuals, especially those without four-year degrees, for careers as software developers. Engineers, who are employed by tech companies to ensure that all participants are equipped with relevant and current skills, design the curriculum. C4Q also provides job placement and career support for three years post-training to ensure job retention and career development. The project is expected to result in the training of 1,000 low-income individuals by 2020.
- Exalt Youth (Exalt) will receive $175,000 from Empire State Development to expand to a new location in lower Manhattan. Exalt is a nonprofit organization that helps high-risk court-involved youth (ages 15-19) overcome barriers to employment. The program matches youth to internships in New York State’s high-growth sectors like technology, financial services, life sciences and health care. This nearly $887,000 expansion will help to triple the number of people served to 1,000 high-risk youth per year and accommodate career and college access opportunity programs for Exalt alumni. Funding will be used for renovations including three new classrooms, a library and lounge, and a drop-in center for program participants to meet with mentors, attend career programs, study and socialize.
Long Island: Regional Council Awardee | $68.3 million supporting 103 projects
- Hofstra University Cybersecurity Innovation and Research Center will receive $200,000 from Empire State Development to build a Cybersecurity Innovation and Research Center focused on teaching the next generation of high-tech students in the expanding and vital field of cybersecurity.
- Sunrise Steam Shack will receive $150,000 from Empire State Development to construct a state-of-the-art STEAM camp facility in Suffolk County to teach children with cancer and their siblings valuable tech skills that can translate to future career opportunities.
- Estella Housing Infrastructure will receive $1 million from Empire State Development to construct infrastructure to support a mixed-use development with affordable housing and commercial space in the Village of Hempstead.
After eight rounds of the Regional Economic Development Council competition:
- Western New York REDC has delivered $553.2 million for 781 projects;
- Finger Lakes REDC has delivered $656.6 million for 856 projects;
- Southern Tier REDC has delivered $613.3 million for 655 projects;
- Central New York REDC has delivered $703.6 million for 708 projects;
- Mohawk Valley REDC has delivered $615 million for 640 projects;
- North Country REDC has delivered $614.3 million for 607 projects;
- Capital Region REDC has delivered $588.9 million for 813 projects;
- Mid-Hudson REDC has delivered $647.8 million for 809 projects;
- New York City REDC has delivered $549.6 million for 710 projects; and
- Long Island REDC has delivered $639.1 million for 791 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.
After eight rounds of the REDC process, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 230,000 jobs.
All three photos of New York City are via Adobe Stock.