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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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Public Notice

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 11:00am
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Press Release

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 10:39am
Request for Proposals Are Due on Thursday, February 15 at 2 p.m. RFP Available Here Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for professional architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and land surveying consultant firms and/or teams to provide master planning, environmental review, site management plan, design, permitting, bidding and construction administration and inspection services related to the capital improvement of the First Buffalo River Marina on Fuhrmann Boulevard in Buffalo.  The RFP is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s vision for a dramatic transformation of the City of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.  Proposals are due to ECHDC by 2 p.m. on February 15, 2018. “The intent of this effort is to retain marina operations and boat slips while expanding the amount and types of activities and experiences available to Outer Harbor visitors,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “The proximity to other planned improvements, recent upgrades to the property, and ECHDC’s desire to open this space to the public, makes an investment in this property a logical next step for Outer Harbor investment.” The First Buffalo River Marina, with approximately 15 acres of fenced land at the northern end of the Outer Harbor, includes a 115-slip boat marina with a Marina Office Building and Marina Maintenance Building, several boat launch locations, outdoor storage for approximately 300 boats, and approximately 150 spaces for trailer parking and/or public patrons.  While not in use by the marina, the site also contains the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator.  The site is immediately adjacent to the Queen City Bike Ferry.  ECHDC is considering the following preliminary water-dependent programmatic elements to be incorporated into the Marina Master Plan: Overall entrance, marina circulation and parking for vehicles based on type of general public/marina user Relocated boat launch and related circulation Relocated Queen City Bike Ferry landing and related circulation Site access and control for various types of users Pedestrian and bicycle circulation Landscape and public site amenity plan Public space programming, including: Concessions Rental Opportunities Future Development Parcel Plan, including locations for: Marina Restaurant Dry Stack Storage Building Entrance Station/Marina Office Mixed Use Development parcels ECHDC Maintenance Facility in the current Marina Office Building Site utilities, lighting and signage Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator rehabilitation/reuse Outdoor/Winter boat storage layout ECHDC expects to award a contract for only the master planning phase. Once a Master Plan and a construction budget have been accepted by the ECHDC Board of Directors, ECHDC and the consultant will negotiate a final scope of work and fees for additional tasks, such as environmental review, design, construction documents and construction administration.  After the master plan is complete, the consultant contract would then be amended to complete the work.  Total project costs will be established by ECHDC after scope negotiations are completed.  The full RFP is available here (Note: a free account is required on the NYS Contract Reporter website to download the RFP). A non-mandatory, pre-proposal conference will be held at noon on January 25, 2018 at the ECHDC offices at 95 Perry Street, Buffalo.  About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation  The 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 nonvoting, 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. For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.     Contact: Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) | pamm.lent@esd.ny.gov | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee (ECHDC) | laura.magee@esd.ny.gov | (716) 846-8239
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Blog Post

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 3:29pm
What do a skin care line, a virtual reality company and the makers of a mental health mobile app have in common? They’re all members of the newly opened Koffman Southern Tier High Technology Incubator in downtown Binghamton. Over the course of three years, the space rose from a vacant block into an airy 35,000-square-foot building with three floors of office, lab and co-working space. A partnership between SUNY Broome Community College and Binghamton University, the new incubator can house up to a dozen companies and support dozens more. With a total of 45 member companies and 90 percent occupancy to date, the incubator is on its way to generating the kind of job growth in the region that Governor Cuomo forecast at the grand opening in June.
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Press Release

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 2:52pm
Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc., a dairy cooperative based in Genesee County, will construct a more than 20,000 square-foot addition at its production facility. In an effort to meet the growing demand of its customers, the cooperative will install a new retort beverage production line and install support equipment at its facility located at the corner of Cedar and Ellicott in the City of Batavia. The additional space will facilitate the addition of up to 20 new jobs; 440 jobs will be retained. The cooperative expects to have the new line up and running sometime next fall. Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is supporting the growth of food processing companies, like O-AT-KA dairy cooperative, which will be retaining hundreds of jobs and hiring additional employees to help them on their path to continued success.”   O-AT-KA’s production facility ensures there is a market for milk produced by more than 400 farms in the Western, Finger Lakes and Central New York regions. The cooperative is majority owned by Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc., which is headquartered in Buffalo, New York and also by Dairy Farmers of America, a cooperative with a strong presence in Central New York. Michael Fuchs, O-AT-KA’s Chief Financial Officer and project manager said, “This project supports our continued growth and will allow us to meet growing market demands for our products. The support we continue to receive from ESD, GCEDC and our Board of Directors is a testament to their commitment to the livelihood of our dairy farmer owners and to our position as a leading employer in Western New York.” Empire State Development is providing a total of up to $750,000 for the project through a Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Grant. Genesee County Economic Development Agency also offered incentives for the enterprise. The total project cost is $34.5 million. Supporting agri-business is a top priority for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and the locally designed the Finger Lakes Forward economic development plan. Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Duffy said, “The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council is committed to supporting projects that grow jobs. Agriculture is an important industry and a key driver of our regional economy. This expansion project will also create solid opportunities for area farmers, shaping the future of the region’s agricultural industry, helping to move the Finger Lakes forward.” State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, "Agri-business is Genesee County's number one economic driver, and growing demand for milk products produced by our local dairy farmers will help to reinforce this important industry. Today's announcement by O-AT-KA Milk Products will further strengthen our local economy. I commend Genesee County's largest private-sector employer for continuing to create jobs for Western New York residents." Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, “Economic development and business expansion, especially when it comes to the dairy sector, is tremendously important to our region. I am pleased to see that not only will O-AT-KA be expanding its production, but also adding twenty new jobs to solidify itself as a top-tier producer in Western New York. The support of businesses and job creation at the state level benefits our entire community, and this is a prime example of our state’s agricultural sector rising to one of the best in the nation. I look forward to the continued prominence of our area’s farmers and producers and am proud to share in their success.” Steve Hyde, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center said, “The GCEDC is proud to assist O-AT-KA Milk Products, the largest private sector employer in Genesee County, to expand its operations.  O-AT-KA is an industry leader through innovation and commitment to excellence.   Through our collaboration with Empire State Development and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, we are demonstrating that companies like O-AT-KA can grow and prosper in New York State.” O-AT-KA’s name was taken from the Seneca Native Americans, and means leaving the highlands or approaching an opening. The “highlands” refers to Wyoming County, New York and the “opening” refers to the Genesee River flowing into Lake Ontario. The cooperative opened in 1959 with only five employees and has since grown to provide employment to over 440 people contributing to growth in the local economy. O-AT-KA has long-term business relationships with many Fortune 500 listed manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers. For more about O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc., click here. Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward  Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here. ​ Contact: Shari Voorhees-Vincent | Shari.Voorhees-Vincent@esd.ny.gov | (585) 399-7055 Press Office | pressoffice@esd.ny.gov | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 4:02pm
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Discovery Communications plans to relocate its global headquarters from Silver Spring, Maryland to New York City in 2019. To take advantage of the proximity to business, investment and production partners in New York, planning for the space and location in New York is underway with an anticipated move to a new building by the second half of 2019.  "With our talented workforce, diverse opportunities and unparalleled commitment to economic development, we have positioned New York at the forefront of the 21st century economy," Governor Cuomo said. "Discovery's decision to relocate their global headquarters to the Empire State is proof positive of that commitment, and we are proud to welcome one of the world's leading media companies to help drive jobs and growth in New York." Read the full  press release here. 
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Press Release

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 2:13pm
Governor Cuomo today announced that New York State has certified 2,123 minority and women-owned businesses, exceeding the goal established in his State of the State Address two years ago. This objective was achieved within 22 months, the fastest this milestone has been achieved to date, reflecting the State's efforts to streamline and expedite the certification process and maximize access to the benefits of MWBE certification. Under the Governor's leadership, more than 6,600 MWBEs have been newly certified since 2011. The New York State Directory of Certified Firms currently has over 8,500 certified firms, and is one of the largest listings in the nation of MWBE firms ready, willing and able to perform on public contracts.  "Diversity and opportunity are critical to a vibrant and growing economy, and these goals are vital to our efforts to support the business community," Governor Cuomo said. "MWBE certification opens doors and generates opportunities for businesses across the state, and this momentum will continue to ensure that these businesses are fully represented in the Empire State."  Governor Cuomo has set the nation's highest goal for the utilization of MWBEs on New York State contracts at 30 percent and under his leadership, the rate of utilization has increased nearly every year since 2011. For the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year, the rate of MWBEs participating in State contracts increased to 27.2 percent, totaling more than $2.2 billion in State contracts. This rate of utilization not only reflects the highest percentage of State contracts awarded to MWBEs in the nation, but also the largest dollar value of contracts awarded. ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "New York State's robust MWBE program makes our economy stronger by fostering access and capacity across the board. This milestone is a testament to our commitment, and we will continue our work to ensure entrepreneurs and small businesses have the tools and resources they need to succeed."  Read the full press release here. 
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Public Notice

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 1:30pm
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Press Release

Sunday, January 7, 2018 - 6:50pm
Empire State Development, President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky today congratulated five New York-based productions that won seven awards during the 2018 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The productions generated more than $175.1 million in spending and created approximately 6,319 new jobs across the state. All winning productions participated in the New York State Film Tax Credit Program.  “The New York Film Tax Credit Program creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York State and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Congratulations to this year’s Golden Globe winners who continue to prove that New York boasts top-notch talent and unrivaled resources.” The New York State Film Tax Credit Program, launched in 2004, has incentivized billions of dollars in economic investment across the state and continues to be the principle factor cited by productions when deciding to film and produce in New York. The five productions winning awards generated more than an estimated $175.1 million in spending in the state and approximately 6,319 new hires in the state. In 2017, 229 film and television projects applied for the New York State Film Tax Credit Program, estimated to generate 228,547 new hires and $3.9 billion in new spending for New York State. A complete list of the 2017 Golden Globe Award Winners who participated in the New York Film Tax Credit Program is available below.  Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Ladybird** Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Saoirse Ronan, Ladybird** Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture Allison Janney, I Tonya** Best Original Song – Motion Picture This is Me, Greatest Showman Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Rachel Brosnahan, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy Aziz Ansari, Master of None **Participated in the New York State Post-Production Credit program About the Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development The New York State Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, a division of Empire State Development, offers film, television and commercial productions and post production tax credits for qualified expenditures in New York State. The office also serves as a liaison between production companies and city and local governments, state agencies, a network of statewide contacts, local film offices and professional location scouts and managers. For more information on filming in New York State or the Film Production and Post Production Tax Credit Programs, please visit www.NYSFilm.com.      About Empire State Development Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of Empire State Development 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, Empire State Development strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. Empire State Development 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:  Madeline Belloff | Madeline.Belloff@esd.ny.gov | (212) 803-3744 ESD Press Office | pressoffice@esd.ny.gov | (800) 260-7313
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Press Release

Friday, January 5, 2018 - 2:52pm
Empire State Development (ESD) today announced Northland Workforce Training Center will hold its first Applicant Information Session for people interested in pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing and energy. Students, job seekers, women, men and veterans should plan to attend the Jan. 6 session from noon until 1 p.m. at the Delavan-Grider Community Center. The information sessions are the first step toward finding a job in the manufacturing and energy sectors. The estimated salaries for entry level jobs for skilled energy and manufacturing workers is between $30,000 and $50,000. “The information session is a great first step for anyone whose goal is finding a job in the manufacturing or energy sectors,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “New York State is partnering with the Northland Workforce Training Center to create a job training pipeline that will train thousands of area residents and help them find work."  The training center is an important part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion vision for a new and vibrant Northland Avenue community. It is designed to create a successful workforce pipeline for qualified community members so that they can become highly-skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing and energy industries. Scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, the center’s focus on providing a comprehensive pathway to manufacturing and energy careers with good pay include: industry education, job training, leadership development, life skills training, quality of life and community assistance, job placement, and post follow up to ensure a successful job transition. When opened the center will be located at 683 Northland Avenue on Buffalo’s east side. ( See renderings here) Stephen Tucker, President & CEO Northland Workforce Training Center said, “This session will provide a great opportunity for prospective students to learn more about careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors and to sign up for education and training programs that will be offered at Northland Workforce Training Center.” The Workforce Training Center at Northland will work with Information Session participants to assist with the following: Industry Career Education Job Training Reading and Math Update High School Graduation and Equivalency Attainment Computer Skills Career Navigation Help with Selecting Your Career Pathway Education Counseling Financial Literacy Coaching and Supportive Services Drug and Alcohol Counseling Refugee/Immigrant Services Leadership Development Life Skills Training to Help You Make an Easier Transition on the Job Job Placement after Your Training “This is another significant milestone in this $100 million project that is a game-changer, for the Northland neighborhood, all of Buffalo’s east side, and our entire city. This first applicant information session for the Northland Workforce Training Center demonstrates how far this project has come toward offering our residents the training that will open the door to career opportunities, and more tangible results of my Administration’s continued goal of making Buffalo a City of Opportunity where no one is left out and no one is left behind,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown.  “As progress continues toward opening the training center later this year, I again thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for embracing and supporting this transformative project for our city.” The Northland Workforce Training Center will address the needs of manufacturers to fill employment skills gaps among the region’s workforce. Manufacturing is still third-largest industry sector in the region, employing more than 50,000 people and generating $3.2 billion in wages. Industry estimates indicate that between now and 2027, due to retirements and growth, there will be over 17,000 job vacancies in Buffalo/Niagara’s manufacturing sector. However, the region’s current workforce does not have the employment skills to meet these demands. New York Power Authority’s activities at the Training Center will focus on the need for innovative training, recruiting and retention strategies, as 30 percent of current electric utility workers become eligible for retirement in the next five to 10 years. It creates an opportunity for current and new employees to acquire the necessary skills of the evolving energy industry as it transitions to the grid of the future. The Workforce Training Center is being funded with $29 million from the Buffalo Billion and $15 million from the New York Power Authority. Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO said, “This information session is a wonderful first step for participants interested in careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy industries. NYPA is a proud contributor to this workforce training center, which is an essential component of Governor Cuomo’s long-term energy vision for the state. New York State needs a motivated and skilled utility and clean energy workforce to secure its energy future and this center will help make that clean energy future a reality.” Senator Tim Kennedy said, "Once opened, the Northland Workforce Training Center will be an incredible resource for those searching to further their education and skills. Informational sessions like these are key for the community, and I encourage folks to come learn about the training and career opportunities available in the advanced manufacturing and energy industries." Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples- Stokes said, "This information session marks the beginning for what we expect to be a long, successful and impactful future for the Northland Workforce Training Center. We are focused on training and upskilling area residents in advanced manufacturing and utility energy sectors with a goal of providing living wages to support a family and socio-economic independence. I applaud the staff and pledge my support in making this a win-win for Buffalo's East Side residents.” Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “The information session provides an outstanding opportunity for potential students to learn specific details about exciting careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy industries. I firmly believe that knowledge is power so I strongly encourage any Erie County residents who wants to better familiarize themselves about training for advanced manufacturing and electric utility careers to attend the first application information session at the Northland Workforce Training Center.” About the Center On July 15, 2015, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled plans for the $44 million Western New York Workforce Training Center, a new hub which will focus primarily on training for careers in the advanced manufacturing and energy sectors. To be branded as the "Northland Workforce Training Center," the facility is being funded with $29 million from the Buffalo Billion and $15 million from the New York Power Authority. The approximately 100,000-square-foot facility will house administrative space, classrooms, and industrial shops/labs designed to train and turn out highly-skilled members of the local workforce to meet the requirements of the 21st century advanced manufacturing and electric utility industries.  With technical support by the University at Buffalo's Regional Institute, ESD developed a business plan for the Center targeted to best provide workforce training opportunities to the traditionally most underrepresented groups in the city's workforce.  The instructional staff/curricula components of the center will be provided by three SUNY institutions (Erie Community College, Alfred State College and Buffalo State College).  The Center will be created through the adaptive reuse of a portion of a historic industrial structure at 683 Northland Avenue-the former Clearing Niagara Plant-and will serve as the anchor tenant of the Northland Avenue Corridor on Buffalo’s East Side. Click here to learn more about the Northland Workforce Training Center.   Contact: Pamm Lent | pamm.lent@esd.ny.gov | (716)-846-8309 Stephen Tucker| stucker@northlandwtc.org | (716) 289-7691
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Blog Post

Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 11:04am
New York State's certified business incubators have launched some amazing concepts. Here are three companies using support from incubators in the Southern Tier, Central New York and Mohawk Valley regions to turn their innovations into real products that will impact tomorrow.  A Stream-Driven Phone and Camera Charger for Hikers and Campers—Created by High School Students When Jasper White and Hunter Hartshorne came up with the idea for a portable hydroelectric generator — small enough to carry in a backpack and strong enough to charge a cell phone or camera — they were still in high school. Now college freshmen at top schools (Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Carnegie Mellon), the pair are running their new company, Hillside Hydro with the help of Rev Ithaca StartUp Works, one of four New York State-certified incubators in the Southern Tier region. They’ve already got a turbine-spinning prototype that, when placed into a flowing stream, creates enough energy to power any electronic device via USB for eight hours. The team is marketing its finished product to climbers, backpackers, campers and sailors and transforming the way we use portable technology.  A Warmer, Gentler Transition for Amputees Bryan Costello designed his first patented product, the Costello Heatsleeve, after losing his leg in a terrible motorcycle accident. The Liverpool resident discovered firsthand how loss of blood flow to amputated limbs creates cold and painful sensations for amputees; when he couldn’t find anything on the market to ease his discomfort, he decided to create a solution. This led to Costello developing a device that provides targeted therapeutic heat to limbs as well as to the prosthesis itself, easing pain and making the prosthetic leg or arm much more comfortable to wear. Costello Prosthetic Warmers, LLC, his medical device startup, was selected to participate in the Central New York Biotech Accelerator’s 2017 Medical Device Innovation Challenge. This annual program of the Syracuse-based incubator awards funds, equipment and creative space to inventors and fledgling companies in the early “discovery phase” of medical device creation and commercialization.  A Hollywood Rig for Every Videographer What if you could inexpensively bring the production value of a big budget Hollywood movie to an indie documentary or corporate web video? That’s the goal of Simon Eisenbach Production’s camera rig, which allows film, corporate, brand, broadcast and indie video producers to shoot breathtaking vertical time-lapse montages – a technique where the camera takes still shots over time, giving a sense of motion to still images. Prior to Eisenbach’s prototype, which is a combination of a camera crane and motion control equipment, this vertical shot was not easily captured on a smaller budget. Working closely with Mohawk Valley's thINCubator for the past two years, the Utica-based Eisenbach is continuing to develop the rig and will soon be marketing the product.
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