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, October 23, 2023 - 12:00pm
Kesner Will Lead Governor's Plans To Improve Access to Buffalo’s Waterfront, Including Transformational Redevelopment of North Aud Block Leslie Zemsky and Sam Capitano Also Appointed to Serve on ECHDC Board Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Joan Kesner, formerly the Governor’s regional director for Western New York, will serve as chairperson for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Board of Directors. The Governor appointed Kesner to the board and also recommended her as the next Chairperson of the ECHDC Board, which the board approved today. Leslie Zemsky, vice president and partner in Larkin Development Group, and Sam Capitano, business manager at Laborers International Union of North America, Upstate New York Laborers District Council, were also appointed to serve on the ECHDC Board. ECHDC is the state agency that supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside and the Outer Harbor in Buffalo and works to attract private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and visitors in Western New York. “Joan Kesner is a dedicated and talented leader who will focus the state’s efforts to revitalize our economy, starting at the waterfront,” Governor Hochul said. “As we ramp up efforts to encourage visitors, developers and investors to the water’s edge, Joan’s collaborative spirit and hard work will ensure continued progress on the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s initiatives. I also welcome Leslie Zemsky and Sam Capitano to the board and am confident their expertise will be an asset to Buffalo’s waterfront moving forward.” Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chair Joan Kesner said, “I couldn’t be prouder and more excited to continue the development projects that will bring more people to Buffalo’s waterfront. The waterfront and its development are a major priority of Governor Hochul’s and I look forward to working with her to transform this destination and continue the excitement, especially leading up to the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s completion in 2025. I am excited to work with the talented and creative board and staff of ECHDC. We will work together to make our waterfront one we all can enjoy and be proud of. I thank Governor Hochul for this incredible opportunity and her strong commitment to Western New York.” Read the full press release here.
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Board Meeting

Monday, October 23, 2023 - 10:30am
University of Buffalo – Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, 701 Ellicott Street - Conference Room B2-209, Buffalo, New York 14203 Monday, October 23, 2023 - 10:30 a.m.      With videoconferencing to: Empire State Development, 633 Third Avenue – 37th Floor Conference Room New York, New York 10017 The meeting is open to the public. Please Note: Those attending at either location must RSVP by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, October 23, 2023. RSVP press line (800) 260-7313; RSVP Buffalo press line (716) 846-8239; RSVP public line (212) 803-3772 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 9:00 am on Monday, October 23, 2023. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted on-line.
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Press Release

Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 4:52pm
5,000 Square Foot Cleanroom Will Provide Vital Hands-On Opportunity to Train Thousands of Future Students for Jobs at Micron Builds on Governor’s Progress Toward Preparing the Region for Micron Following Historic $100 Billion Investment in Central New York View Renderings Here  Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled plans for the $15 million, 5,000 square-foot Micron Cleanroom Simulation Lab at Onondaga Community College. The facility, which will be held to ISO Class 5 and 6 cleanroom standards and located at OCC’s Whitney Applied Technology Center, will be a vital tool to help to train students in Central New York for jobs at Micron. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025. The unveiling builds on the Governor’s progress toward preparing Central New York for Micron, which announced last year a historic $100 billion investment to build a megafab campus in Clay, Onondaga County and create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next 20-plus years. Renderings of the cleanroom simulation lab are available here.  “One year after Micron’s historic $100 billion investment in Central New York, these plans for a state-of-the-art simulation lab at Onondaga Community College are proof of our commitment to ensuring that the region is prepared,” Governor Hochul said. “From the launch of GO-SEMI to streamline the Micron project to securing investments in workforce, education, and child care, my administration is laying the groundwork for Micron’s highly anticipated arrival and ensuring that this project is one that moves Central New York – and all of New York State – forward.” Read the full press release here.
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Report

Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 11:32am
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Board Meeting

Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 9:30am
The meeting is open to the public. The public may also view and listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Please Note: Due to building procedures, members of the public attending in-person should please RSVP by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. Members of the press should please call (800) 260-7313; Members of the public should please call (212) 803-3772. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by Noon on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will posted online.
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Press Release

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 - 2:07pm
Western New York’s First-Ever Sustainability Workforce Training Center Will Expand Clean Energy Training to Help Workers Meet Industry Needs Builds on Governor’s Efforts to Prepare New York’s Workforce for the Green Economy and Other 21st Century Sectors See Renderings of SWTC Center Here Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the groundbreaking for People United for Sustainable Housing’s new 2,500-square-foot Sustainability Workforce Training Center in West Buffalo. Stemming from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York’s nation-leading climate agenda, creation of the region’s first green jobs training facility will further PUSH Buffalo’s mission to help meet climate and energy standards while also increasing access to clean energy-related job training and opportunities for members of minority and underserved communities. PUSH expects that once the SWTC opens, the number of its green workforce training program graduates will at least double, from a current annual total of 48 people to at least 96. Renderings of the new facility are available here. “As Western New York welcomes sustainable, 21st century businesses to the region, PUSH Buffalo’s new training center will help to ensure that workers in the area are ready to meet their needs and fill the green jobs of tomorrow,” Governor Hochul said. “Building a modern economy means building a modern workforce, and my administration is committed to investing in institutions like PUSH Buffalo that share our mission of strengthening our talent pipeline, unlocking opportunities for countless New Yorkers, and creating a brighter economic future for our state.” PUSH Buffalo Executive Director and Vice-President of BNSC Dawn Wells-Clyburn said, “Today’s groundbreaking for the Sustainability Workforce Training Center represents a new day for our beloved community. The training center offers unprecedented access to opportunity for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Disadvantaged Communities – to be leaders in building an advanced green and climate-resilient community, and to earn competitive wages for their skilled labor. Our communities’ populations have historically been shut out of green technology jobs and green job training. The training center brings us closer to a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all. This is truly a game-changer.” Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Tuesday, October 17, 2023 - 2:04pm
New $1.3 Million Cidery in Newburgh Includes a Tasting Lab, Production Space, and Distribution Center With More Than 126 Licensed Cider Producers, New York National Leader in Number of Cideries Photos Here Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the grand opening of Graft Cider’s new $1.3 million production facility, The Orchard, in Newburgh, Orange County. Graft Cider has redeveloped the former Powder Creek Mill textile manufacturing complex to grow its manufacturing operations into a 16,000 square foot production and distribution facility with a dedicated testing lab and equipment to ensure better tracking and quality control. Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Graft Cider’s expansion contributes to the growth of the region's vibrant food and beverage sector, and further supports the Mid-Hudson Region’s strong agribusiness industry. The company's adaptive reuse of a former textile mill into a modern cidery will attracts visitors and welcome residents to explore and experience Newburgh and its surrounding communities. Cheers to Graft's continued success!" Graft Cider Owner Kyle Sherrer said, “We are thrilled to announce that The Orchard, our new production cidery that makes our in-house brands of Hudson North Cider, Graft Cider, and Ritual Hard Kombucha, is finally opening its doors! This new project will create job opportunities for the local community while also expanding our brands. We can’t wait to welcome visitors to our taproom and become a destination for Orange County and Newburgh.” Graft Cider produces a robust portfolio of artisan ciders and all-natural wine spritzers, and this new facility will allow the company to house larger tanks that increase production capacity to accommodate growing demand. Overall quality will improve by substituting jacketed stainless-steel fermenters for the existing plastic fermenters currently used, improving sanitation and providing greater temperature control. By implementing these changes, product consistency is expected to increase from 80% to 95%. Empire State Development has agreed to support this project with a $264,000 capital grant, recommended by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. As part of this expansion, Graft Cider will create eight new jobs and retain 13 existing full-time positions. Graft Cider joins the recently announced $80 million Dassai Blue Sake Brewery, which recently opened in Hyde Park, Dutchess County and was also supported by Empire State Development and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council. Dassai has invested more than $80 million in the facility and will create 32 new jobs. Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Marsha Gordon, President & CEO of The Business Council of Westchester and Dr. Kristine Young, president of SUNY Orange said, “The Mid-Hudson Region is home to a growing number of craft beverage manufacturers, which are a favorite destination for residents and visitors alike. We are thrilled at the success of Graft Cider and their decision to stay in the region. They are not only expanding their business; they have created an exciting and vibrant space, growing jobs and supporting the continued revitalization of the City of Newburgh in the process.”  Senator Rob Rolison said, "The opening of this state-of-the-art facility continues to improve Newburgh's economic climate, promotes local Hudson Valley products, and creates good-paying jobs. Thanks to targeted investments by ESD, an innovative new use has been found for an existing building that will generate additional economic activity. Congratulations to Graft Cider on this momentous occasion.” Assemblymember Jonathan G. Jacobsen said, "It's exciting to see Graft Cider expand from its original Ann Street location into a 16,000 square foot location and still remain in the City of Newburgh. The new facility will create jobs and help in the revitalization of Newburgh.  It is heartening to see that Empire State Development recognized the importance of this business with its capital grant to help Graft Cider build its new $1.3 million production facility." Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, “The craft beverage industry in Orange County continues to grow and expand, and I know that Graft Cider will thrive as a destination. I appreciate ESD making this investment into our community and am excited that Graft Cider has opened its doors to the public.” Newburgh City Manager Todd Venning said, “Graft Cider’s $1.3 million expanded production facility will provide one of our most valued small businesses the opportunity to grow right here at home in the City of Newburgh, while breathing new life into the former Powder Creek Mill manufacturing facility. This is a tremendous win for Newburgh’s flourishing craft beverage industry and for all city residents. We look forward to the final build out of the tasting room where Newburgh will soon welcome visitors for tastings of Graft Cider on the banks of the Quassaick Creek. We are grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul, Empire State Development, and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council for their partnership and commitment to expanding economic opportunities in the City of Newburgh and all of Orange County.” New York State is home to more than 125 licensed cideries, a national leader according to the New York Cider Association. Its latest study reports that cideries in New York generate an economic impact of $1.7 billion and support more than 6,100 jobs, making cideries a pillar of the state’s economy.  New York also ranks in the top five in the U.S. for its number of craft beverage producers in every category. second in craft distillers and breweries, and fourth in the country for the total number of wineries.  Governor Hochul recently signed a package of legislation that will improve New York's laws related to alcoholic beverages in an effort to expand options for consumers and support New York's small businesses in the alcoholic beverage sector. Legislation S.5731/A.6941 allows for the sale of beer, mead, braggot and cider on any day of the week including Sundays. Legislation S.2854/A.7305 allows liquor and wine stores to expand their Sunday hours so that they may open at 10am and close at 10pm. Legislation S.6443/A.6134 extends the length of validity of a brewer’s license from one year to three years. Legislation S.3364A/A.2902 allows for businesses to prepare and keep drinks containing alcohol in pressurized dispensing machines. Legislation S.3567A/A.6050A allows retail stores to sell complementary gift and promotional items related to wine and spirit sales. Legislation S.6993A/A.7688 adds parcels of land to the list of premises which are exempt from the provisions of law which generally restrict manufacturers/wholesalers and retailers from sharing an interest in a liquor license. About Empire State Development Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). 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 the 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, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov. Contact: Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 414-1087 ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Monday, October 16, 2023 - 12:54pm
Small Business Incubator Will Create Up to 30 New Jobs and Provide Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs at New Location Bazaar Will Open to the Public on October 31 with Grand Opening Celebration Photos of New West Side Bazaar Available Here Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the re-opening of the popular West Side Bazaar at its new, expanded location at 1432 Niagara Street in Buffalo. The new and significantly expanded West Side Bazaar, operated by the Westminster Economic Development Initiative, provides space for dozens of food, retail, and professional services businesses, in addition to office and classroom space, test rental kitchens, and a full-service bar and event space. A fixture on Buffalo’s West Side, the Bazaar has been a key source of employment and opportunity for dozens of local business owners, including women, minorities, refugees, immigrants, and others who do not qualify for support from traditional banking and financial institutions. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held today and the Bazaar will open to the public with grand opening celebration from October 31 to November 4. “The West Side Bazaar has long been a testament to the diversity of this community and the wide variety of foods, cultures, and products that make Buffalo so special,” Governor Hochul said. “With this new location in a beautifully renovated historic building, we are creating opportunities for even more budding entrepreneurs to turn the businesses of their dreams into a reality, and I look forward to visiting and meeting the vendors who are helping to transform Niagara Street into a vibrant commercial district.” The Bazaar is a one-of-a-kind small business incubator supporting entrepreneurs on their path to becoming successful business owners with services like microloans and technical business assistance. The renovation of a historic 16,000 square foot vacant building provides space for 24 restaurants, retail and professional services businesses. It also includes office space for WEDI, test and rental kitchens for independent chefs, classrooms, a stage and bar for events with seating for 200-plus patrons. West Side Bazaar’s new location is expected to incubate approximately 20 small businesses initially, with room to house more in years to come. To date, the West Side Bazaar has incubated more than 45 small businesses. Read the full Press Release here.
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Board Meeting

Monday, October 16, 2023 - 9:30am
With Video Conferencing To: Empire State Development – Albany Office, 625 Broadway – 8th Floor Conference Room, Albany, New York 12245 And: Buffalo Regional Office, 95 Perry Street– 5th Floor Conference Room, Buffalo, New York 14203 This meeting is open to the public. Webcasting of the meeting is available by clicking the link below. Due to building procedures, those wishing to attend at any of these locations must RSVP by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2023. RSVP press line (800) 260 -7313; RSVP public line (212) 803-3772. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, October 13, 2023. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted online.
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Press Release

Friday, October 13, 2023 - 2:37pm
$98 Million Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Facility Will Support Research and Development of Life-Saving Technologies Including Cancer-Fighting Cell Therapies New Hub Will Also Support Efforts to Attract Leading Life Science Companies and New Jobs to New York Governor Announced Two Cell and Gene Therapy Hubs as Part of State of the State Vision to Build New York’s Fast-Growing Life Science Sector Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that New York's first cell and gene therapy hub will be housed at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, Erie County. The $98 million center will help to support the research and development of life-saving therapies at Roswell, significantly grow its well-established research capabilities, and establish Roswell as one of the premier cell therapy discovery and production institutions in the nation and catalyze the growth of the cell and gene therapy sector in western NY. The expansion also realizes Governor Hochul’s 2023 State of the State commitment to establish an Upstate cell and gene therapy hub and bolster the state’s leadership in the fast-growing life science sector. “The future of medicine is in cell and gene therapy and this new hub at Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center will put Western New York – and all of New York State – at the cutting edge of life-saving treatments and therapies,” Governor Hochul said. “In my State of the State address, I committed to investing in fast-growing sectors like the life sciences, and thanks to a $30 million state investment, Roswell’s new facility will help to solidify our state’s future in the field, create 21st century jobs, and provide hope to generations of New Yorkers who rely on these critical treatments.”  Empire State Development will invest $30 million to assist in expanding the current cell and gene therapy research capacity at Roswell’s Therapeutic Cell Production Facility from six to 20 specialized clean rooms, making it the largest academic cell and gene therapy research and manufacturing facility in the United States. The new facility will streamline every step of the cell therapy development process, shortening the path from research to production. It will encourage the growth of startup companies commercializing these therapies, grow private investment, strengthen the state’s innovation-focused talent pool, and attract partnerships with biopharma companies. Read the full press release here.
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