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Empire State Development Blog

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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

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 11:42am
Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that software development firm EmployeeChannel will open its Software Development Center for Excellence in Downtown Rochester next week. The company will rent space inside the innovative Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) Downtown Center for Entrepreneurship located in the heart of the Flower City’s business district in the historic Rochester Savings Bank building at 40 Franklin Street. The new facility will house the EmployeeChannel product development team which will be focused on research, product management and development, DevOps, and customer support. The software enterprise plans to create at least 30 new full-time jobs at the site over the next five years. Supporting innovation and assisting efforts to reinvigorate Downtown Rochester are central to the regionally designed Finger Lakes Forward economic development plan. Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The decision by EmployeeChannel, a West Coast-based software developer, to open an office in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone is evidence that our strategic investment in downtown revitalization is working and, in sharing space with a top-tier university like RIT, adding to the innovation economy that is growing in the heart of Rochester and other city centers around the state.” Founded in 2015, EmployeeChannel is a provider of a workforce communication application  that allows employers to more effectively  communicate with  employees through cloud, mobile and artificial intelligence technologies. The company had considered sites in Pennsylvania, Texas and Oregon before selecting New York State in which to grow its business. The Rochester location was selected due to its proximity to a world-class university producing talent pool available in computer science, engineering and related fields. The region’s focus on entrepreneurial development and financial incentives for early-stage startups was also instrumental in the selection.   Mark Oney, Senior Vice-President of EmployeeChannel and 1981 RIT graduate said, " We are excited to participate in the Empire State Development program and to open our new center for software development in Downtown Rochester. The proximity to world-class universities like RIT and the University of Rochester gives us access to an exceptional talent pool.  ESD's commitment to entrepreneurial development and financial incentives also make them a great partner for growing our company."   RIT President David Munson said, “We are thrilled to welcome Mark Oney and his company to Rochester.    His decision to establish an office for EmployeeChannel here in this region is a great example of the kind of partnership with our alumni and our government and economic development partners at the State and local level that we would like to replicate over and over again.    Companies such as EmployeeChannel are energizing the Downtown Innovation Zone, and creating great job and career opportunities for our talented students and graduates.”   In order to assist EmployeeChannel with opening its Rochester office, Empire State Development has offered up to $500,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Program in exchange for job creation commitments. The total project cost is placed at $2.4 million. Monroe County and Greater Rochester Enterprise also provided incentives and assistance to attract the innovative firm to the region.   Since April of 2016, the CUE has been working to reshape the regional economy and build wealth within the urban community by serving as a central resource for urban entrepreneurial programs and research. The 47,000 square-foot building, located at 40 Franklin Street was received by a donation to RIT from Rochester Historic Ventures which is comprised of members of the Leenhouts, Tait and Tones families along with members of the Broadstone management team. The building was constructed in 1927, and in 1972 was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic places and has historic significance in art, architecture and commerce.   State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said, “Rochester boasts state-of-the-art research and development facilities, world-class universities, and a second to none workforce that has made our community a highly a sought-after destination for fast-growing hi-tech companies like EmployeeChannel. Most exciting is that EmployeeChannel expansion into our community will create new exciting jobs with good wages that will continue to strengthen our local economy.”   State Senator Joe Robach said, "Rochester Institute of Technology is instrumental in creating the next generation of a cutting edge and innovative workforce for our region. The partnership announced today between RIT and EmployeeChannel to open their Software Development Center for Excellence in downtown Rochester ensures that our community will continue to be leading the way in attracting next generation jobs and companies."   “I would like to welcome EmployeeChannel to our city and the CUE, and thank them for choosing Rochester,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “Not only will this bring 30 new jobs to our Center City, but this great news is proof that our efforts and investments by New York State are working. By leveraging our skilled workforce, our unique quality of life and low cost of living, we can continue to attract jobs, and, by doing so, build safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "When a successful, west coast based technology company like EmployeeChannel chooses to grow jobs in Rochester over competing locations in Texas and Oregon, there is no doubt that Monroe County is absolutely open for business. Monroe County is thrilled to be investing in EmployeeChannel’s job-creating expansion through Imagine Monroe and we thank all of our project partners for their collaboration and support." “When you compare the cost of doing business and the caliber of the workforce, it’s clear that the Greater Rochester, NY region outperforms traditional tech hubs on the West Coast,” said Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise. “Add in the longstanding relationship between EmployeeChannel, Inc. and Rochester Institute of Technology leaders and we have the essential assets to help this company grow here.” For more information about EmployeeChannel, click here. For more information about the RIT Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, 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

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 11:37am
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and Canalside Management Group (CMG) today announced Canalside’s exciting 2018 season of summer events and programming.  This year, Canalside will host hundreds of programs and daily activities from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, as well as special events, on Buffalo’s waterfront.  The packed calendar includes options just for kids and families, fitness enthusiasts, music lovers, history buffs, festival goers and more. Visit www.canalsidebuffalo.com for the full calendar of events, which is continuously updated as activities and events are booked. “As Western New Yorkers, we like to squeeze each and every drop out of our glorious summers but with such a packed schedule at Canalside that will be darn near impossible to do this summer,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia.  “Canalside Management Group has been hard at work making sure there is something for everyone, every single day so get out your shades and head on down to our beautiful waterfront.”  “Our mission is to provide world-class entertainment and food and beverage options to the visitors of Canalside all summer long,” said Jon Dandes, President of CMG and Be Our Guest, Ltd.  “The summer schedule will give families a safe and affordable option to spend a day on the Buffalo waterfront, while showcasing to visitors the resurgence of Buffalo.” New offerings at Canalside in 2018 are plentiful with the team at Canalside Management Group and other partners working to make this summer unforgettable.  New activities and events for 2018 include: 10th Anniversary of the Restored Erie Canal Harbor.  Highlighted by a recreation of the “Wedding of the Waters” in July. Canalside’s 10 year Birthday Bash! The summer kicks off on Memorial Day weekend as Canalside celebrates bringing summer time programming to the waterfront for the 10th year in a row! Saturday, May 26 includes a Boardwalk Market featuring the BlueCross BlueShield of WNY Live Fearless Family Zone and the return of the Saturday Artisans Market. Buffalo on Display is a Canalside signature event on Friday evenings featuring local musicians performing on the Canalside Boardwalk.  The program will display the talent of Western New York beginning at 6 p.m. on selected Friday Nights (June 8, July 6, July 20, August 10, August 31).  Movie Night at Canalside Returns!  The eight week movie series returns to the Pierce Lawn at Canalside starting July 10 with a new start time!  This year, the series becomes more family friendly with the event starting at 6 p.m. and movies starting at 6:30 p.m.  Each week movie goers can participate in free activities that coincide with the film.  Highlights include Star Wars: The Last Jedi (7/17), The Wizard of Oz (8/14) and the Lego Ninjago Movie (8/21).   More Ice Cream, Games, & Cool Gear! The Canalside Information Kiosk has received a face lift with a larger space that will provide more free lawn games for all visitors to Canalside and a new line of Canalside merchandise on display. The Canalside Info Kiosk will also sell beverages, sundries, and soft serve ice cream; making it easier for visitors to enjoy refreshments while at Canalside.     Blue Bikes presented by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY will also have a new location, in the middle of the boardwalk by the entrance to the docks.       Beautiful Canalside! With support from Five Star Bank, Canalside’s beautification program will be in bloom by Memorial Day weekend, with flowers giving color around the entire site and the VIP Honda Pavillion. Clinton’s Dish Garden Expansion! Clinton’s Dish is expanded this year and features a new menu and beer garden area that triples the size of its previous foot print. Tripling the size of the previous foot print, customers will now have a new area to enjoy the Buffalo summer with food and beverage options available.       Every day at Canalside will feature something to do starting with Memorial Day Weekend.  We’ll have a variety of programming including culture, kids’ activities, and fitness. Fitness at Canalside, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, will feature returning classes such RevFit, Zumba, Barre Centric, Jada Blitz, Catalyst Fitness and Everyone Can Dance, as well as new classes featuring Gentle Yoga, Zumbini, Fitness 19 Peak Performance and Hoop There It Is. “As the official health plan of Canalside, BlueCross BlueShield is excited to kick off another season of free, healthy activities,” said Julie R. Snyder, Vice President, Corporate Relations, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. “We invite the entire community to join us in the heart of downtown at Buffalo's waterfront to get fit and have fun all summer long.” Children’s programming with Explore and More Children’s Museum, EPIC and WNY Family Magazine returns to Canalside for the summer.  The Beach at Canalside is also open for kids to explore and play and features the EduKids Tug Boat and the Dino Zone. Amenities, such as table games/game rentals, BFLO Kayak tours/rentals, water bike rentals, paddle and pedal boat rentals, Spirit of Buffalo rides, History Tour Boat rides and Buffalo Sunset Chairs, will also be available throughout the summer beginning Memorial Day Weekend. Blue Bike rentals presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York also have a new location on the boardwalk at the Canalside dock kiosk. When you work up an appetite, enjoy food options that incorporate several local options, including Wardynski Hot Dogs and Ru’s Pierogi.  The menu also features gluten free options, vegan and vegetarian menu items.   On those hot summer nights, be sure to visit Clinton’s Dish for soft serve and hard packed Nick Charlap’s ice cream cones.  Check out the entire menu here: THE DISH MENU. Additionally, Clinton’s Dish will feature entertainment all summer long with live music on Sunday and Monday evenings and trivia on Wednesday evenings. The Dish is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.  This schedule is in addition to the continuation of the popular Canalside Live concert series, which starts on Thursday, June 7 and ends, Friday, August 17. Taking place at Canalside’s Central Wharf, this year’s lineup features eight Thursday concerts, one Saturday concert in July and a Friday night finale on August 17.  Find out more about Canalside Live here.  Additionally, third party concerts will also take place this year at Canalside, including Kerfuffle on June 16, Kiss the Summer Hello on June 21, Summer Soul on June 30 and I Love the 90’s on August 11. Canalside will also once again celebrate July 4th with a dazzling Fireworks show presented by Russell J. Salvatore.  The July 4th celebration will feature an evening of live music and food and beverage options from Clinton’s Dish!  Keep checking www.canalsidebuffalo.com for the full schedule of events as new activities and events are being added daily! Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Buffalo’s waterfront has come a long way over the last 10 years and the momentum continues,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.  “This is sure to be another exciting summer for residents, families and tourists visiting Canalside.”  Senator Tim Kennedy said, “From outdoor movie nights to concerts featuring local musicians, the programming at Canalside continues to offer new and exciting opportunities for families and visitors to enjoy.  Buffalo’s waterfront has grown beyond our wildest expectations, creating a real driver for economic and cultural growth in Western New York. I look forward to exploring all that Canalside has to offer with my family this summer.” Senator Chris Jacobs said, “Buffalo’s waterfront is one of our greatest recreational assets and the new and expanded 2018 season of events and programming will be a great way to celebrate 10 years of summer fun at Canalside.  I am proud to have Canalside in my district and I know that it will be a premier destination again this year for families and visitors enjoying summertime in Buffalo and Western New York.” Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “Summer is finally upon us and school is almost over. Canalside is a great choice for outdoor recreational activities as they have something for everyone in the family and are complimented by our Olmsted Parks and local cultural institutions. Wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy summer.” Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “Visitors to Canalside have another great summer of fun to look forward to.  Buffalo’s amazing waterfront is one of our greatest assets, and I'm thrilled to see so many exciting events planned for 2018.  Canalside is a truly family-friendly destination and I encourage everyone to visit this summer.” Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “For all visitors and in every season, there is always something to experience along our waterfront, especially during the summer months at Canalside, which has helped to transform our waterfront into a destination that attracts people to the City of Buffalo. Canalside is the place to be and I thank the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for all of their hard work in helping to improve, enhance and promote one of Western New York’s premiere summer destinations.” A special thanks to the following partners and sponsors: Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, City of Buffalo, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Five Star Bank, Labatt and Honda. About Canalside  Canalside is a growing regional destination and entertainment district, situated on 21 historic acres along downtown Buffalo’s emerging waterfront on the Buffalo River. Canalside earns its name from its storied past, when the Erie Canal Harbor was built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. Until five years ago, the land was barren and inaccessible, but the area has been reclaimed by the state’s Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. and developed with millions of dollars in public and private investment. With more than 1,000 yearly events and 1.5 million annual visitors, Canalside is fast becoming the go-to place for in- and out-of-towners of all ages to learn, play and relax. About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation A nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors governs the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. 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 Erie County executive and the City of Buffalo mayor hold the two non-voting, ex-officio director positions. For more information on ECHDC, visit www.eriecanalharbor.com.   Contacts: Erin Marra (Canalside Management Group) | erin@canalsidebufflalo.com | 716-807-8090 Laura Magee (ESD/ ECHDC) | laura.magee@esd.ny.gov   | (716) 846-8239 | (800) 260-7313  
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Board Meeting

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 9:30am
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Press Release

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 3:52pm
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) today held its first meeting of 2018 in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County. The meeting provided the Council with an opportunity to welcome new members, kick-off strategic planning for Round VIlI of the Governor's Regional Council initiative, which was enacted in New York State's 2018-2019 Budget, and Round 3 of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. During today’s meeting, the Council welcomed five new members: Manna Doyle, General Manager of Tulmar Manufacturing; Brian Murray, CEO of Washington Street Properties; Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of The Wild Center; Don Dabiew, Franklin County Legislature Chair; and Larry Dolhof, Lewis County Legislature Chair. The Council discussed Round VIII of the REDC initiative, which will award more than $750 million across New York in state funding and tax incentives, including up to $150 million in capital grants and up to $75 million in Excelsior Tax Credits for projects and activities identified by the Councils as regional priorities in their communities. This year's Council priorities include: Supporting Downtown Revitalization Plans and identifying downtown projects for DRI Round 3; Identifying workforce development strategies to meet business' needs and improving the regional talent pipeline; Identifying projects for the State life sciences cluster; Implementing strategies through the project pipeline; and Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan. Anthony G. Collins, President of Clarkson University and NCREDC co-chair, said, "Through our diverse membership across many sectors and our commitment to broad public participation in setting priorities, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council continues to leverage the region’s assets and opportunities using Governor Cuomo’s vision for a community-based approach to economic development and private-public partnerships. Together, we are leading the economic renaissance of New York State’s small cities and rural communities. " Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and NCREDC co-chair, said, "The important thing now is to see as many good applications this year as possible. Potential applicants who didn't attend this week's CFA workshop should plan on making the next one in Lake Placid on June 29. The more and better the pool of applications, the better our region will do. We especially encourage businesses thinking of expansion to take a look at the possibility." During the public session, the council welcomed members of The People Project, a grassroots organization dedicated to developing and implementing a strategic vision for St. Lawrence County. The project currently focuses on three main topics: community schools, preventing addiction and developing outdoor recreation. After the meeting, a Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) workshop was held outlining funding available for through state agencies. More than $525 million will be awarded this year through the CFA process, with awardees announced at the annual REDC ceremony. The 2018 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources will be accessible at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 27 at 4 p.m., and applications are available at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/. The NCREDC, which is composed of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York State. There are now 531 projects across the region, which have been awarded a total of $549.5 million in support from the State through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. About the Regional Economic Development Councils The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative is a key component of Governor Cuomo's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After seven rounds of the REDC process, more than $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans, projecting to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.   Contact:   Adam Ostrowski (ESD) | Adam.Ostrowski@esd.ny.gov | (518) 292-5148 | (800) 260-7313 Press Office | PressOffice@esd.ny.gov | (800) 260-7313
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Blog Post

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 11:41am
New York’s economic development goals are not one-offs. We are building, strategically, on pillars of placemaking, workforce, tradable sectors and innovation—revitalizing downtowns, supporting targeted job training and education, growing businesses and services and fueling entrepreneurship. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve announced next rounds of a number of initiatives that are building jobs and opportunity in New York State. And the numbers keep adding up: a total of 8+ million private sector jobs, a historic high, with more than 1 million added in New York State since 2011. Here are some of those by-the-number highlights:
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Blog Post

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 11:23am
Why New York State? The following businesses and projects are among those that have all answered that question in the past few months with expansions due to add or create hundreds of jobs. Here are some of the recent expansions that are growing the NYS economy. LiveTiles: Rochester. That’s where LiveTiles, the NYC-based global software development firm with offices on three continents, will establish its North American Intelligent User Experience (“IUX”) Hub. Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone, and the city’s High Falls District, won out over places like North Carolina and elsewhere in the Eastern U.S., and the $17 million project—which has already created 60 jobs will create at least 500 new jobs over the next five years. The expansion will involve outfitting the facility as well as hiring across fields including Artificial Intelligence (AI) deployment specialists and business development roles. LiveTiles, established in Australia and headquartered in New York City, develops user-centric software that facilitates business collaboration and communication through tools that developers and business users can use to create dashboards, employee portals and corporate intranets—enhanced by AI and analytics.        Away: The direct-to-consumer travel brand is relocating and expanding its Manhattan headquarters—to a 56,000-square-foot facility—in a growth move announced earlier this month that will create 249 new jobs. Away, which sells travel merchandise including designer luggage and travel bags, also produces a digital and print magazine in addition to podcasts, all supporting a seamless travel experience and helping building the state’s 21st century economy. Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. /Welch Allyn: Welch Allyn, a medical device company that’s been an economic driver in Central New York for more than a century, is expanding in the region as a subsidiary of Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. a global medical technology company that is innovating in areas that aim to  improve clinical outcomes and supply caregivers with products to speed recovery time. Welch Allyn is the largest component of Hill-Rom’s Front Line Care business, and the expanded facility in Skaneateles Falls—which officially opened on May 11—will help to accommodate new jobs and growth. The expansion will bring more than 100 new jobs to the area, while retaining nearly 900 existing jobs in Central New York.  DICK’s Sporting Goods: The nation’s leading omni-channel sporting goods retailer, with roots in the Southern Tier, has deepened those roots in recent months. January marked the opening of the company’s fifth center distribution center in the Town of Conklin. The company’s first-ever, in-house eCommerce fulfillment center was announced in April. The expansion means total creation of more than 500 new jobs at the site over the next five years. The distribution center, at approximately 650,000 square feet, occupies 65 acres on a 123-acre site and services more than 160 retail stores in the Northeast. The new eCommerce fulfillment center will add approximately 245,000 square feet to the facility.   Viatran: There are plentiful indicators of growth in the Western New York economy, and a worldwide manufacturer of industrial measuring instruments has provided another measure of that growth. Viatran’s $1.5 million expansion of its Erie County facility in Tonawanda, announced in March, will create and retain more than 125 jobs in the production of state-of-the-art equipment for sensors and transmitters. The 24,000-square-foot facility will provide added space for R&D and innovation in creating products that are used in a variety of businesses, from pharmaceuticals and food and beverages to specialty metals, auto and aerospace testing. 
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Blog Post

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 11:18am
An identity ring called Token will act as a digital key for its wearers across an array of access points—from doors and cars to computers and mobile payments—without physical keys, cards or passwords. Token’s biometric, encrypted device helps to authenticate users through a combination of fingerprinting and optical proximity sensors.  An accompanying software platform will allow the wearable security device to be integrated across a number of platforms.  Token pilot testing has begun in New York City, with launch approval expected by summer’s end. The New York State-grown invention is boosted by investment from New York Ventures, which manages the state’s innovation investment funds, and announced earlier this year that its New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund (NYSIVCF) will invest $1.75 million in the technology. The investment is in keeping with the program’s goals of targeting strategic industries that support advanced technology and manufacturing in helping to build the state’s innovation economy. Token’s co-founders, Melanie and Steve Shapiro, are alumni of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the devices will be manufactured at RIT’s Venture Creations Incubator in Rochester.  In addition to New York Ventures, additional investors include Hadi Partovi, the CEO and founder of Code.org, Blockchange Ventures, NEO and many of the original seed investors in the company. New York Ventures, launched in 2015, meets the critical capital needs of New York State’s innovation economy by providing funding to high-growth startups as they move from concept to commercialization. New York Ventures provides equity investment capital to early-stage technology-based businesses through direct investments and fund-of-funds. While Token is unlocking new ways to provide digital security, New York Ventures has invested in other tech-driven companies that are innovating in a number of areas and industries, creating new jobs and opportunity.  In addition to the NYSIVC Fund, the (soon to be fully -committed) $47 million Innovate NY Fund/Fund-of-Funds, which began investing in 2013, has seen successes from seed -stage equity investments, including: Plated: The Innovate NY Fund, which invested $1.23 million in Plated, a premier meal kit service, achieved its first major exit in 2017 with sale of Plated to Albertsons Companies, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers. A 2.25X return on its investment could see an increase to 5X or more, with additional distributions expected over the next few years. ACV Auctions: The Buffalo-based advanced mobile platform, enabling car dealers to view, bid and buy cars through an online auction, was a winner of Round 2 of the 43North business idea competition in 2015. The Innovate NY Fund investment in ACV totaled $900,333; the company secured an additional $32 million in matching funding that will allow continued platform innovation and expansion to the West Coast and 70+ markets around the country by year’s end.   TARA Biosystems: The NYC-based drug discovery company, with $2.75 million in investments from both the Innovate NY Fund and the NYSIVC Fund, was cited in 2017 as one of Red Herring’s top 100 North American companies in tech and a 2018 finalist in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards for its work developing cardiac tissue models that allow for safer development of reliable and more effective new medicines. For more information about New York Ventures, visit: esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/venture-capital. 
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Blog Post

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 10:58am
This summer, a number of newcomers join New York State’s already plentiful tourist destinations and jam-packed events calendar—from interactive comedy, cultural and history museums, to craft beverage trails and trolleys to 1000-feet-per-minute mountainside gondolas. Here’s just a summer sampling of what’s new: NY Loves Lucy: This summer marks the opening of the $50 million National Comedy Center in the Jamestown birthplace of legendary comedian Lucille Ball. The world-class museum and visitor experience is set to open during the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in August, which draws A-list comedians to the city every year. The new Comedy Center will feature its own A-List attractions: 50 high-tech, immersive exhibits, including holograms of famous comedians, past and present, performing their best-known routines. Blowing Glass on a Barge: To mark the 150th anniversary of glassmaking in Corning, the Corning Museum of Glass is launching the GlassBarge, the museum's floating glassmaking exhibit. The GlassBarge will sail along the Hudson River and Erie Canal, from Brooklyn to Albany, west to Buffalo and south to Watkins Glen. The tour ends on land with a September celebration in Corning. Click here for more information about the GlassBarge, along with scheduled stops and demonstrations. Experience New York’s Underground Railroad journey: The newly opened Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center offers visitors an immersive experience into the stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and the abolitionists in the Niagara Falls region, a major transit point on the railroad. The museum’s permanent exhibition, “One More River to Cross,” and the recreation of the International Suspension Bridge, spotlights the importance of the region’s location near the Canadian border.  Climb a Catskill Mountain at Top Speed: The new  Catskill Thunder gondola—the first and only one in the Catskills—takes passengers up Belleayre Mountain at speeds of up to 1,000 feet per minute. The gondola enables lift-serviced mountain biking and year-round scenic rides to the mountaintop. Interested in learning more? Go to iloveny.com for full details of all that is happening across New York State’s 11 vacation regions.
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Press Release

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 2:17pm
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Away, a direct-to-consumer travel brand, will create 249 new jobs in a major expansion and relocation of its headquarters to 82 Mercer Street in New York City. Launched in 2016, Away designs thoughtful products to make travel more seamless. “Away’s commitment and investment in New York is proof positive of the growth opportunities this state has to offer,” Governor Cuomo said. “As this 21st century business continues to develop and expand, we look forward to the creation of new, quality jobs for men and women throughout the greater New York City area and continued success for the company for years to come.” “Our business climate has improved significantly across the state, and Away’s commitment to creating hundreds of new jobs in New York City is a testament to our economic development initiatives,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The company’s expansion and investment in New York is adding good paying jobs and continuing to boost the economy of our city and the entire state.” Read the full press release here. 
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Press Release

Monday, May 21, 2018 - 12:59pm
Empire State Development and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced the grand opening of The Wick, a new hotel in Hudson, Columbia County. The $10 million project transformed a former manufacturing plant into a boutique hotel with 48 rooms and seven suites, a restaurant and bar, and enclosed rooftop patio overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Revitalization is a fundamental piece of New York State's economic development strategy. Hudson is a city on the rise, and adaptive reuse projects like The Wick create jobs and generate regional economic growth." "Partnerships like this at the Wick Hotel help revitalize communities and preserve local heritage," said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "With the assistance of the Historic Tax Credit program spearheaded by Governor Cuomo, New York State is leading the nation in sustainable economic development projects that help preserve the historic fabric of our cities and towns." Originally built in the 1860s, 41 Cross Street was known as South Bay Mill and functioned as a soap and candle manufacturing plant for Gale & Hover. Hover switched to textile manufacturing in the late 1880s, and the building was used for production and distribution. Throughout the 20th century, several businesses used the building for various industries, including Rual Manufacturing Company until 2000. The hotel preserves history while embracing regionally-specific elements, like artwork from the Hudson River School. The Wick Restaurant and Lobby Bar features the Hudson Valley’s best charcuterie and cheeses in its exceptional small plates. The hotel is also environmentally sustainable, using a proprietary green energy technology to reduce the carbon footprint, and offering electric vehicle charging stations for hotel guests. Tom Rossi, Principal at Redburn Development said, "We're thrilled to announce the completion of The Wick Hotel, with tremendous thanks to Empire State Development and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. This transformative and forward-thinking project not only will have lasting impact upon the continued resurgent vibrancy of Hudson and the greater Hudson Valley, but is an example of adaptive reuse coupled with our advanced proprietary energy solutions." Redburn Development Group invested $10 million to restore, renovate and refurbish the property, and create 12 new, full-time jobs. Empire State Development has agreed to support the project with a grant of up to $1.5 million, recommended by the Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC) during Round V of the Governor's REDC initiative. Additionally, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation secured nearly $2.4 million in State Historic Commercial Properties Tax Credits for this project. CREDC co-chairs Ruth Mahoney, KeyBank Market President, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany President, said, "This project is a great example of the public-private partnerships happening across the Capital Region as a result of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. The Wick will further catalyze the redevelopment efforts already underway in the City of Hudson." Senator Kathleen Marchione said, "The grand opening of The Wick is wonderful news, welcoming guests to the Capital Region and Hudson Valley. This project echoes the great revitalization happening in the City of Hudson, and I thank Empire State Development and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for their support." Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, "The opening of the new Wick Hotel is another key step in the exciting economic revitalization of Hudson. The Wick welcomes visitors to our beautiful region with comfortable and quality lodging in keeping with the style and creative energy that has come to characterize the City of Hudson." Hudson Mayor Rick Rector said, "The Wick has been a wonderful new addition to the City of Hudson. In addition to being a truly handsome destination for visitors to our community it is also providing immediate economic benefits with jobs and additional revenue to the City. The Redburn organization has demonstrated a very strong belief in the future of both Hudson and the continued development of our downtown and riverfront neighborhoods. They saw the potential and have quickly become an important element in our evolving economy and future." About Empire State Development         Empire State Development 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 Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” 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. About Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Division for Historic Preservation helps communities identify, evaluate, preserve and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. The Division works with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state's unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.   Contacts: Adam Ostrowski (ESD) | adam.ostrowski@esd.ny.gov | (518) 292-5148 | (800) 260-7313 Randy Simons (PARKS) | randy.simons@parks.ny.gov | (518) 486-1868
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