Empire State Development Blog

Find the latest news on economic development in New York State

We feature stories of innovative businesses that are making New York their home, plus offer updates on economic activity and development from around the state.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 1:01pm
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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:58pm
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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:49pm
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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:48pm
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Press Release

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 11:55am
The USA Niagara Development Corporation (USAN) Board of Directors met today and authorized Destination Niagara USA (DNUSA) as manager of The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls (CCNF) and Old Falls Street (OFS), beginning in January 2022.  Destination Niagara USA is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for Niagara County.  The private non-profit has a mission to expand the economic prosperity of the Niagara Falls USA communities by generating individual and group visitation. “Destination Niagara USA has always been a strong partner to USAN, and we are excited to see its role in Niagara Falls expand as manager of the conference center and Old Falls Street,” said USAN Chairwoman Francine Delmonte.  “As the business travel and conference industry rebounds, Destination Niagara will be building on the center’s prior success.” “We are excited to take on this new venture as manager of the Conference & Event Center of Niagara Falls and Old Falls Street,” said Destination Niagara USA President & CEO John Percy. “This represents a significant opportunity for us to elevate the Niagara Falls USA product, control the brand, increase sales and become more relevant to the community.  We have the expertise and the tools to turn CCNF into a profitable facility and OFS into a greater hub of activity for locals and visitors year-round.  We know and understand the convention and meeting business, the strengths of our destination as a meetings market and how to highlight them in order to attract future convention groups.” The DNUSA Board of Directors also met today and approved the term sheet with USAN for management services of CCNF and OFS. DNUSA is uniquely positioned to manage CCNF and OFS as it understands the local conventions and meetings business and knows how to attract events and groups for them.  DNUSA has also worked diligently to increase the visibility of the Niagara Falls brand to the meetings market by integrating targeted marketing programs.  DNUSA has collaborated with local hotel partners and CCNF to focus on the market segments to make CCNF/OFS successful.  With DNUSA managing CCNF/OFS, they will bring a management advantage by being able to elevate the product, control the brand, increase sales and provide a level of synergy not available before.  As a not-for-profit, DNUSA will also bring a financial advantage by not charging the type of fees USAN has incurred with private sector operators, enabling more of USAN’s resources to be reinvested back into the development of CCNF and OFS. The five-year initial term with a contract amount not to exceed $1.6 million (first-year subsidy of $1.5 million, plus a transitional budget of $100,000) may later be extended for a two-year term.  Terms call for DNUSA to manage the CCNF at a level consistent with the operation of a first-class conference center.  DNUSA will also be expected to interface with the City of Niagara Falls, Niagara University, the Seneca Nation and other significant local parties to maximize the use, revenue and hotel night generation of CCNF.  DNUSA’s scope of services for OFS includes general cleaning and upkeep, facilitating and coordinating the programming of OFS events, and administering the permit application process and conducting enforcement for both event and daily vending operations. USAN developed and opened the $20 million CCNF in 2004 to replace the functions of the former Niagara Falls Convention & Civic Center, which had been converted to house the Seneca Niagara Casino.  CCNF has 116,000 square feet of versatile state-of-the-art indoor meeting and event space, offering a myriad of customized convention, meeting and banquet options including the ability to host private outdoor receptions, just footsteps from Niagara Falls State Park and its famed waterfalls.  The primary mission of CCNF is to stimulate downtown economic activity by expanding visitation to Niagara Falls, NY; to generate lodging demand from attendees of professional meetings, conferences, seminars, and conventions held at CCNF; and to facilitate expenditures at local commercial establishments through increases in overnight visitation. Old Falls Street, USA (OFS) is a three-block destination connecting Niagara Falls State Park with CCNF and downtown hotels, restaurants and attractions.  Serving as a welcome center for residents and visitors alike, OFS provides exciting spaces for free family-friendly games and activities, seasonal concerts, outdoor movies, festivals and special events.  From 2005-2009, USAN and the City of Niagara Falls undertook a two-phase project that fully restored OFS as a functioning vehicular street and revitalized the street into an active public space.  In 2020, USAN completed Cataract Commons – a public square or “commons” space located on OFS, transforming an empty parcel into a more usable and inviting outdoor facility that has permanent structural seating and shade, as well as flexibility for hosting various events.  OFS now serves as the front door to several downtown institutions, including CCNF; the 1885 entrance to Niagara Falls State Park (a National Historic Landmark); the Seneca Niagara Casino complex; and the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.  Spectra Venue Management, formerly known as Global Spectrum, successfully managed CCNF/OFS since 2009. The USAN Board of Directors also approved a list of pre-qualified real estate development and planning related consultants. These consultants include real estate planning and advisory services, financial and economic analysis, architecture and design, construction and engineering, Phase I environmental site assessment, environmental review, infrastructure advisory services, transportation planning, historic preservation and adaptive reuse, and surveyor professionals. About USA Niagara Development Corporation USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls.  For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 | (800) 260-7313 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239 | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 11:40am
Construction on Events Center and Surrounding Open Space Will Begin this Fall Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today met and authorized construction contracts totaling $13 million for the Terminal B renovations project on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The project will create a new outdoor events center and surrounding open space by rehabilitating a vacant structure and utilizing existing parking, while reclaiming seven acres of contaminated property to open additional public access with new lake views. The project will enhance the habitat with new trees, shrubs and meadow areas, and diversify the seedbed to support migrating and nesting birds. With the contracts authorized, construction on the site is expected to begin in the coming weeks. New renderings are available here. “The creative and adaptive reuse of the long-abandoned Terminal B site will open up this part of our scenic waterfront to the public with both passive and active recreation amenities,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “This project, which takes up only 5% of the 200-acre property, is just one part of a comprehensive plan developed over five years with the community and stakeholders. We are thrilled to move forward with the first phase of construction.” Occupying a footprint approximately 100,000 square feet in area and 30-feet high, the metal framed warehouse known as Terminal B has been utilized as a storage facility since 1967 and is currently inaccessible to the public. The Terminal B renovation will remove the existing exterior walls and roof to expose the steel framing and concrete deck, and a portion of the deck will be transformed into a performance stage with some small, enclosed support spaces.  New utilities will be brought to the building through the adjacent site east of Terminal B, which will be converted to a sloped lawn. Along the base, new landscape foundations and stairs will be added to enhance accessibility. The existing asphalt drive will be renovated, with a secondary walkway added around the sloped lawn, connecting to the existing Lakeside event lawn and circulation path. Site lighting and security measures will be installed near the structure and along the pedestrian paths leading to the main entry.  The ECHDC Board authorized the corporation to enter into contracts with: Javen Construction Company, Inc. for general construction services with a total contract amount not to exceed $7,365,000. Javen Construction’s scope of services will include select building demolition, new steel framing, steel framing preparation and painting, building enclosures, interior finishes and select site work adjacent to the existing concrete platform.  Union Concrete and Construction Corporation for sitework services with a total contract amount not to exceed $3,964,400. Union Concrete’s scope of work will include clearing the existing paved site surfaces, establishing the site parameters, excavating for site utilities, installation of landscape and fence materials, new surface walkways and drives, and site enclosures.  Frey Electric Construction Co., Inc. for electrical services with a total contract not to exceed $1,440,600. Frey Electric’s scope of services will include demolition of all existing electrical and communication systems, routing the new electric service from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Terminal B site, distribution of electric service within the Terminal B site, exterior lighting and miscellaneous electric connections for equipment installed by other contractors.  M.K.S. Plumbing Corporation for mechanical services with a total contract not to exceed $230,000.  M.K.S. Plumbing’s scope of services will include demolition of existing plumbing systems, routing the new mechanical and plumbing services from Fuhrmann Boulevard to the Terminal B site, distribution of gas and water lines within the Terminal B site, installation of mechanical systems within enclosed buildings, and installation of all plumbing fixtures.  Funding for the contracts is being provided by Empire State Development (ESD).  The Board authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with Bergmann Associates, Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architects & Surveyors, DPC LLP for construction administration services for the Terminal B project. The amendment extends the contract term through December 31, 2023 and amends the contract by an amount not to exceed $300,000. The Board also authorized ECHDC to enter into a contract amendment with LiRo Engineers, Inc. for professional environmental services on the Outer Harbor. The amendment amends the contract by $55,000. The funding source for these two contracts is ECHDC via the New York Power Authority (NYPA) through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project. New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. In 2013, nearly 400 acres of land on the Outer Harbor was transferred from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to ECHDC. As part of that transfer, Buffalo Harbor State Park was designated as the 180th state park in New York’s system and the first in the City of Buffalo. The remaining approximately 247 acres of land north of Buffalo Harbor State Park is now operated by the ECHDC, which completed several capital improvements to increase public access to and use of this property, and conducted several community-driven planning studies that have informed the current and future disposition of the project site.  About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor. As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty. Contact: Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee (ECHDC) | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 11:30am
In accordance with recently passed Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, October 8, 2021.
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 10:30am
In accordance with recently passed Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, October 8, 2021.
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Public Notice

Friday, October 8, 2021 - 1:30pm
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Report

Friday, October 8, 2021 - 9:38am
Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Statewide Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Adirondacks Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Capital-Saratoga Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Catskills Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Central New York Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Chautauqua-Allegheny Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Finger Lakes Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Greater Niagara Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Hudson Valley Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Long Island Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - New York City Economic Impact of Visitors in New York 2020 - Thousand Islands
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