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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Press Release

Monday, September 28, 2020 - 4:30pm
Four Local Not-for-Profits to Receive $1.45 Million to Support Workforce Training in Agriculture, Health and Life Sciences, and Technology Sectors  Lieutenant Governor Hochul Kicks Off New York State Workforce Development Awareness Week  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $1,454,072 million in funding from the second round of the Western New York Workforce Development Challenge has been awarded to four local nonprofit organizations. The program helps ensure the region's workforce pipeline is being responsive to industry demands and promotes and invests in innovative approaches to workforce training for underserved populations.    Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made today's announcement and also kicked off New York State's Workforce Development Awareness Week, which runs September 28 to October 4.  During this week, New York State spotlights job training and higher education strategies that will help meet business and industry workforce needs, improve regional talent pipelines, enhance the flexibility and adaptability of local workforce entities, and expand workplace learning opportunities for the diverse cross-section of people who remain the bedrock of the state and nation's workforce. "These awards will provide people with the training and skills they need to compete in today's fast-growing industries and help New York build back better," Governor Cuomo said. "The state's workforce must adapt in order to take advantage of the rapidly changing economy and our Workforce Development Challenge is giving Western New Yorker's the edge they need to succeed." The WDC awardees foster workforce development in at least one of the region's target industry sectors, which include: advanced manufacturing, health & life sciences, tourism, clean energy, and agriculture. Round 2 was also expanded to include and fund tech-focused training. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation contributed an additional $1.5 million to the fund this round to build on the program's success.  The grants will be administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Empire State Development, New York State's chief economic development agency.  Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Friday, September 25, 2020 - 5:39pm
Former Masonic Temple Transformed into Mixed-Use Art and Community Space   Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the grand opening of the Sandy Hill Arts Center in the heart of downtown Hudson Falls, Washington County. The $2 million project rehabilitated and transformed the former five-story Masonic Temple on Main Street. The first floor houses an art gallery and a dance studio, while the rear of the building has available commercial restaurant space. The second-floor offices house the Council for Prevention, the third and fourth floors each have artists’ studios in the front, and a large two-story event space on the back, and the fifth floor is a large event space with a stage, elevator access, restrooms and event prep space.  ESD Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Rehabilitating old buildings like the Hudson Falls Masonic Temple for adaptive reuse helps to preserve the character of our neighborhoods and downtown areas, while encouraging new investments and new energy to spur economic growth. Through the Restore New York program, we're proud to support this historic landmark's second act as an arts venue."   The 21,000 square foot building was built in 1901 and added to the New York State National Register of Historic Places in 1983 as a contributing building to the Hudson Falls Historic District. The Masons lost the building to foreclosure 1980s, and the property fell into disrepair in the following years. Hudson Falls was originally incorporated as the village of Sandy Hill in 1810 and renamed the following century.   The former Masonic Temple has been completely rehabilitated to ensure safety and structural integrity, while retaining the former temple's architectural design and character. ESD is supporting this project with a grant of up to $477,000, awarded to the Village of Hudson Falls through the Restore New York Communities Initiative in January 2017. Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts by awarding funding for projects that will reinvigorate downtowns and generate new economic activity. Cities, towns and villages were all eligible to apply for support for projects that include demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties.   Additionally, the developers are utilizing federal and New York State Historic Tax credits which, combined, are anticipated to bring an additional $400,000 of equity to the project upon approval from the National Park Service. Owners of income-producing real properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places may be eligible for a 20% federal income tax credit for the substantial rehabilitation of historic properties. The final dollar amount is based on the cost of the rehabilitation. The work performed must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and be approved by the National Park Service. Owners of income producing properties that have been approved to receive the 20% federal rehabilitation tax credit automatically qualify for the additional state tax credit if the property is located in a federal census tract that is identified as a Qualified Census Tract.  Erik Kullesied, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, "Congratulations to the team at the Sandy Hill Arts Center for the successful rehabilitation of the former Masonic Temple. This is the first Historic Tax Credit investment in Hudson Falls and we hope the completion of the project work serves to bring more attention to the available incentives for revitalizing the village’s historic buildings. Historic Tax Credits offer investors a sustainable tool for development and have been a driving tool behind reinvestment into our legacy communities across upstate New York."  Sandy Hill Arts Center owner William Nikas said, "Having grown up in this community and having had multiple ties to past occupants of this building, this project has been a labor of love for me. As far as the future of the building is concerned, I intend to create a non-profit foundation to assure its perpetual maintenance and the continuation of the mission to promote the arts in our community."  Senator Betty Little said, "A key defining quality that I’ve seen in successful communities—not only in my Senate district but throughout New York State—is the cultivation and promotion of the arts. That the Sandy Hill Arts Center, in partnership with Empire State Development and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is doing so while saving a very significant historic structure in downtown Hudson Falls makes this all the better."  Assembly Member Carrie Woerner said, "I'm excited to see the grnd opening of the Sandy Hill Arts Center. This public-private partnership represents a significant investment in downtown Hudson Falls. The rehabilitation and restoration of an historic building expands the economic opportunities for Hudson Falls as a destination for the arts. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this project, and his support for Historic Preservation Tax Credits to encourage investment in our downtowns."   Hudson Falls Mayor John Barton said, "I'd like to thank ESD for their continued support or projects like this that really help small villages like Hudson Falls. I'd also like to thank Bill Nikas for having the vision and courage to bring an old building in the heart of our Historic District back to life, and I'm excited for the future of the Sandy Hill Arts Center."    About Empire State Development  Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.    Contact: ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313 
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Press Release

Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 1:52pm
Previously Ineligible New York State Small Businesses Can Receive Low-Interest Working Capital Loans   Available to Small Businesses That Received PPP Assistance of $50,000 or Less   Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) recipients are now eligible to receive low-interest loans from the New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF). This conditional change will provide the Fund's network of lenders and financial institutions with greater flexibility and enable them to provide more small businesses with working capital to cover expenses associated with reopening.   ESD Acting Commissioner, and President and CEO-delegate Eric Gertler said, "The coronavirus pandemic was an unprecedented challenge to the state’s business community, of which ninety-eight percent are small businesses. Providing assistance and opportunity – particularly to our state’s minority- and women-owned businesses – to help them reopen is essential toward revitalizing our economy and building New York back better."  When the NYFLF launched in May, the federal Small Business Administration had just issued rules regarding companies’ eligibility for federal assistance. The goal of the NYFLF was to help New York-based small businesses that did not receive PPP funding with flexible working capital to reopen and adapt to post-COVID needs. Companies with 20 employees or less make up 90% of New York’s business community, and it was critical to provide a funding lifeline to those businesses shut out of federal assistance.    However, some NYFLF applicants who needed assistance were deemed ineligible because they had already received PPP funds. Through discussions with lenders and applicants, it became apparent that PPP loans did not go far enough to support New York-based small businesses. Legislative criteria restricted how the government assistance could be spent, and oftentimes PPP amounts were a fraction of what was needed and requested.   Starting today, NYFLF Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will contact previously ineligible applicants to determine if they are still interested in funding and begin the underwriting process. This is limited to small businesses who received $50,000 or less in PPP assistance. The fund is prepared to process the new applications from this change while also working with existing applicants. Small business who did not receive any federal assistance are still eligible and encouraged to apply. Additionally, the program goal of providing at least 60% of loans to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) remains, and that goal will not change due to the newly-expanded eligibility.   Eligible small businesses and small residential landlords can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan with a 3% fixed interest rate; while eligible non-profits can apply for a 60-month, no-fee loan at 2% fixed interest. The maximum loan amount is $100,000. Loan funds can be used for working capital including payroll, operating and emergency maintenance, property taxes, utilities and costs associated with refitting physical space to follow social distancing guidelines. More information is available online at nyloanfund.com.  The five CDFIs processing applications are Accion East, Community Preservation Corporation, National Development Council, Pursuit and TruFund Financial Services. Seven banks have pledged support for the New York Forward Loan Fund: Apple Bank, BNB Bank, Evans Bank, HSBC, M&T Bank, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. Additionally, the fund has received philanthropic commitments from the BlackRock Charitable Fund, Citi Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The New York Forward Loan Fund was established with support from Calvert Impact Capital. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is administering the fund, and Connect2Capital is hosting applications.   About Empire State Development  Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.   Contact: ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313 
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 11:00am
Due to public health concerns and as authorized by Executive Order of the Governor, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast (audio) by clicking the link below on (or after) September 22, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing by 4:00 pm on Monday, September 21, 2020 to: [email protected] The Agenda and meeting materials will be posted the day before the meeting on LMDC’s website at www.renewnyc.com
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Public Notice

Monday, September 21, 2020 - 5:30pm
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Press Release

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 7:00pm
Geopipe of New York City Secures $1 Million Grand Prize Four Additional Finalists Each Receive $500,000 GENIUS NY Program Builds on Progress of CNY Rising - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced Geopipe of New York City is the winner of GENIUS NY's $1 million grand prize. The GENIUS NY program is the world's largest business competition focused on unmanned systems, cross-connected platforms and other technology-based sectors. BotsAndUs from the United Kingdom, Droneseed from Seattle, Washington, Eget Liber from Syracuse and Skyy Network from Australia were each awarded an investment of $500,000. New York State has now invested $20 million in GENIUS NY over four rounds of the competition. The year-long business accelerator awarded a total of $3 million to the five finalist teams at its virtual finals event during which the five teams pitched their business plans to a panel of eight judges. Following the pitches, all five competitors were awarded one of five investments. The teams will use these investments to continue to accelerate their growth and expand their presence in the region. GENIUS NY participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. "The GENIUS NY competition is transforming the landscape of Central New York as it continues to attract next generation of innovative entrepreneurs," Governor Cuomo said, "The state's continued investment in unmanned aerial system businesses is helping to ensure that New York remains the leader in this important industry and bringing quality jobs and growth to the Central New York region." Read the full press release here.
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Board Meeting

Thursday, September 17, 2020 - 9:30am
Due to public health concerns and as authorized by Executive Order of the Governor, 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 Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 6:30pm
Leading Flexible Packaging Manufacturer Building 25,000-Square-Foot Addition to its Facility in the Town of Ogden; Will Hire up to 40 New Employees Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that leading flexible packaging manufacturer ProAmpac broke ground on a project that will establish a state-of -the-art innovation center in the Town of Ogden, Monroe County. The company is constructing a 25,000 square-foot addition to its existing facility on Manitou Road. The innovation center will focus on packaging development and design and will also host regional and global consumer packaged goods companies and vendors for events and training.  ProAmpac had considered building the innovation center out of state but chose to expand at its current location thanks to the support from New York State. As a result of the expansion, the company has committed to hiring up to 40 new employees. "ProAmPac's expansion is a true testament to our forward-thinking economic strategy that is fostering innovation and transforming the regional economy, creating top quality jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "By incentivizing this successful companies' continued growth we are strengthening the economy and creating good-paying jobs in Monroe County and across the state as we continue our mission to build back better." "New York is committed to continuing to invest in and support businesses and projects to help grow and strengthen the local economy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The groundbreaking of ProAmpac's new packaging innovation center will expand the company's operations in the Monroe County area and add 40 new jobs. As a global manufacturer of flexible packaging, ProAmpac is advancing the growth of tech innovation in Rochester and creating new opportunities to build back better in the post-pandemic future." Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler "ProAmpac's continued commitment to expanding its operations in Monroe County will serve to boost the local manufacturing sector, provide jobs and strengthen the regional economy by helping to create a more sustainable community for generations to come." Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 5:03pm
More Than 260 Startups from 27 Countries Applied to Compete in Innovative Mentoring Program The Food and Agriculture Industry Competition is Funded through Upstate Revitalization Initiatives - CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring - Regional Comprehensive Strategies Aimed at Revitalizing Communities and Growing the Economy Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the 20 finalists selected to participate in round two of Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. Finalists were chosen from a field of over 260 startups that applied to be part of the initiative. The Grow-NY region includes a broad 22-county swath that includes Upstate New York's farming community as well as several major urban centers, including Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca and Binghamton. Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement is administering the competition and New York State is providing funding for the Grow-NY competition through the Governor's Upstate Revitalization Initiative connected with the three regions - CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring. "New York State is committed to supporting our world-renowned food and agricultural industry," Governor Cuomo said. "Once again, the Grow-NY competition has attracted a group of diverse, innovative entrepreneurs who are ready to focus on finding new, innovative ways to further transform this critical industry. It is through targeted efforts like Grow-NY that we will continue to bolster these regional economies, fostering statewide growth as we work to build back better." "The agricultural economy in New York continues to grow with increased investment in our farms and local products," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The first round of the Grow-NY Competition was a success, and we are excited about the potential that these finalists for round two have to make the industry even stronger. These companies are developing ideas and plans to revolutionize the industry by transforming sustainability and improving the health and well-being of New Yorkers. I congratulate all of the finalists and winners of the competition, and we look forward to helping these innovative companies grow and thrive in New York." Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Monday, September 14, 2020 - 5:30pm
66 New York State Businesses, Community Colleges, and Community-Based Organizations Receive Funding for Workforce Development Awards Will Fund In-Demand Skills Training for 3,600 New Yorkers Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 66 businesses, schools, and community-based organizations across the state have been awarded nearly $9 million as part of the State's historic Workforce Development Initiative. The grants are federally funded and will support job training opportunities across the State for more than 3,600 New Yorkers adapting to the post-COVID economy.  "On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank the essential workers who put themselves in harm's way to save lives and care for their fellow New Yorkers, and recommit to supporting all workers who are helping in New York's ongoing recovery," Governor Cuomo said. "These awards will provide thousands of workers with the training and skills they need to Build Back Better." "Our historic Workforce Development Initiative is helping to meet businesses' short-term needs, improve regional talent pipelines, and address long-term job training needs of growing industries," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. "This $9 million in awards will provide 66 businesses, colleges and organizations with funding for training for more than 3,600 New Yorkers. Job training is critical now more than ever to help provide thousands of New Yorkers with the skills they need to Build Back Better and seek new jobs and opportunities in the post-pandemic future." Read the full press release here.
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