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Press Release

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 10:43am
$25 Million Luminate NY Initiative Continues to Bring the Best Startups with Optics, Photonics, and Imaging Technologies to the Finger Lakes Region to Tap World Class Resources and Grow the Economy The Competition is Supported by “Finger Lakes Forward” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the 10 companies selected to take part in the fifth round of the Luminate NY accelerator program, investment fund, and competition. A total of 130 applications were received for consideration to participate in the world’s largest accelerator for startups working on emerging solutions that are enabled by optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI). Fifty percent of the applications came from 24 countries with the remaining 50 percent from U.S. states. Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a proposed, four-year, $20 million commitment to continue the successful, globally renowned competition as part of her $216 billion, FY2023 budget proposal currently awaiting approval by the New York state legislature. The companies were selected after pitching their innovative ideas to an advisory panel comprised of industry experts. Each finalist will receive an initial investment of $100,000 and will have the chance to compete for up to $2 million in follow-on funding upon completion of the accelerator program. Cohort 5 will begin on April 11, 2022. The six-month program will help the companies speed the commercialization of their technologies and businesses. Funding for the $25 million program, which was created and run by NextCorps, is provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative—the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and foster economic growth. Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “I want to offer my congratulations to the 10 entrepreneurial companies selected as finalists for Luminate NY’s fifth cohort. The cutting-edge ideas from these optics, photonics and imaging startups will help to drive innovation and opportunity in the Finger Lakes Region and throughout New York State.” Luminate NY supports innovators as they further develop their technologies in Rochester with help from industry experts, local universities, and the vast OPI resources that are offered by businesses throughout the Finger Lakes region. Cohort 5 is solving challenges within a number of industries, including, but not limited to: quantum computing and technology, healthcare, clean energy, agtech, advanced imaging, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. The 10 selected startups include: Alertgy—patented wearable wristband platform with the first application providing affordable, effective, and noninvasive continuous glucose monitoring for existing and pre diabetics, and health-conscious people Axion Technologies—patented technique for scrambling light to provide quantum random numbers, which can be used in computing applications to protect data and expand the usefulness of data simulations, enabling more secure networking Custom Surgical—optical systems and software that digitize medical microscopes or slit-lamps, allowing for the seamless capture, storage, and broadcasting of high-quality medical imaging, without blocking the binoculars LIDROTEC—patent pending wafer dicing laser machines for the semiconductor industry that enable thinner cuts with a 0 percent damage rate LightSpeedAI Labs—optoelectronic interconnects and lego-like processors that will address the need for increased, real-time processing of data bandwidth-intensive applications like video streaming, AI, cybersecurity, and smartNIC at low-power MEETOPTICS— A specialized photonics search hub that enables researchers and engineers to find and compare products and technologies from trusted suppliers in minutes instead of weeks QD Solar— low-cost, lightweight, flexible, high-power density solar sheet that offers efficiency well beyond that of silicon solar Quantopticon—automation software tools supporting the rapid cost-effective development of high-quality, peak-performing quantum photonic devices, which are key to the emerging quantum technology industry SCOUT—on-orbit imaging systems and autonomy software for automated detection, tracking, and characterization of space objects and orbital debris Stratio— AI-assisted visible and infrared imaging solutions for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), medical imaging, precision farming, forensic, and food/plastic sorting One additional company, EmGenisys—which won $250,000 in the 2021 Grow-NY competition—will take part in Luminate NY out of the finalist structure to gain access to regional resources. Opto Biolabs and SynchroPET  will be auditing the program to help prepare and advance their businesses for applying to accelerator programs in the future. Luminate NY Managing Director Sujatha Ramanujan said, “Earning a spot in Luminate NY is becoming more competitive each year as the caliber of the teams and the originality of their inventions increases. With access to our renowned regional resources, mentors, and investor network, Luminate NY help these industry-changing technologies enter the market much faster to bring new capabilities and possibilities to multiple industries.” Since its inception, Luminate has invested $12 million in 43 startups. The companies in the portfolio have raised an additional $80.8 million and have a combined valuation of approximately $360 million. Many of the companies are establishing U.S. operations or some aspect of research and manufacturing in the Rochester region—which continues to be the epicenter of the OPI industry in North America. This has resulted in the creation of 103 new jobs in the region. State Senator Jeremy Cooney said, “I am pleased to congratulate the ten finalists selected for Round 5 of Luminate NY. Their work, ranging from health to cybersecurity to environmental conservation, will benefit our community in essential ways. I look forward to the development of all companies involved with the Luminate NY accelerator program and appreciate your contribution to our economic growth. Thank you to Empire State Development for supporting the mission of Finger Lakes Forward by making these opportunities possible.” Assembly Member Harry Bronson said, “The Luminate NY Accelerator Program attracts the most creative and dynamic light technology startups from across the globe. This year’s finalists represent another round of entrepreneurs that will advance our optics, photonics and imaging industries. Their ingenuity and inventiveness will continue to bring job opportunities and investment to our region. We must meet their vision and successes with equitable workforce development programs that not only support our emerging and expanding industries but also provide career pathways for all members of our community.” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said, “Congratulations to all the teams advancing in the Luminate NY accelerator program which are leading our region’s photonics and imaging industry. No matter who ultimately wins, you should all be proud that you’re continuing the legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship that our region is known for.” City of Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said, “Luminate NY’s ability to attract 130 high-quality applications from 25 countries is a testament to the growing prominence of Rochester’s knowledge economy and our recognition as the imaging, optics and photonics capital of the world, I am pleased to welcome these incredible innovators to our city and wish them luck in this exciting accelerator program.  I also want to thank Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for bringing these 21st-century companies to Rochester through Finger Lakes Forward and helping us deliver economic empowerment and a prosperous future to our residents.” Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy and SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles said, “We would like to offer our congratulations to the innovative teams selected to take part in the fifth round of the groundbreaking Luminate NY accelerator program. These forward-thinking entrepreneurs are helping to further bolster the optics, photonics, and imaging industry throughout the region as it continues to establish itself as the global leader in the light-based products and services industry. We are really looking forward to learning all about their next generation ideas.” For additional information about the Luminate NY accelerator, 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 regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. 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. ​ 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 NEW YORK,” 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: Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected] | (585) 399-7055 Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313
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Board Meeting

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 10:00am
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below.  Members of the public may submit comments on the QWDC Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Tuesday,  March 22, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be provided to the Directors and posted online.
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 3:00pm
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via video conference and teleconference. The public may view and 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 10:00 am on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be provided to the Directors and posted online.
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Press Release

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 12:17pm
The USA Niagara Development Corporation (USAN) Board of Directors met today and approved two grants for mixed-use projects at 311 Rainbow Boulevard and 320-324 Niagara Street in downtown Niagara Falls. The projects are leveraging private-sector investment to facilitate economic development within the USAN Development District. “USAN continues to support projects that will transform downtown Niagara Falls into a pedestrian, residential and tourist-friendly area,” said USAN Chairwoman Francine Delmonte.  “These projects both have historic elements – whether reestablishing a residential block or rehabbing historic properties – that will also add character and vitality to the tourist district.” The USAN Board awarded a grant of up to $1.7 million to Plati Niagara Inc. for its project at 311 Rainbow Boulevard, which was previously announced by Governor Kathy Hochul. The Cambria Hotel Niagara Falls is a $20 million mixed-use development project and is expected to open in spring of 2023. The seven-story, 120-room upscale hotel brand will also include three new residential guest houses (to be marketed as vacation rentals) on Buffalo Avenue to complement the historic character of Buffalo Avenue’s Heritage District. The guest houses will reestablish a residential block of Buffalo Avenue between Third and Fourth streets, where only a single residential structure currently remains. The units will also be located across from 305 Buffalo Avenue, a parcel that New York State purchased as part of its Strategic Land Acquisition Program, and where a new trail/stairway connection to the Riverway  opened in spring 2021. Plati Niagara Inc. also owns a Wingate by Wyndham in Niagara Falls. See a rendering of Cambria Hotel Niagara Falls here. The USAN Board also awarded a $145,000 Niagara Economic Development Fund (NEDF) grant to 324 Niagara Street Landlord LLC, a newly formed company founded by Samuel Savarino, for its mixed-use historic rehabilitation project at 320 and 324 Niagara Street. The $3.5 million restoration of two mixed-used, three-story buildings, totaling 12,531 square feet, includes capital improvements, facade improvements and interior renovations—creating 4,177 square feet of first-floor commercial/retail space. The project also includes renovations of 10 market-rate apartments on the second and third floors. These buildings are among the few surviving structures of the dense, mixed-use commercial-residential environment that once characterized Niagara Street. The buildings represent an important contribution to the late-19th and early-20th century urban architecture, commercial history and community development of downtown Niagara Falls. The USAN Board of Directors also approved two other items: Approval of the USAN Fiscal Year 2022-23 Annual Operating and Capital Budgets.  The FY 2022-23 Operating Budget of $674,692 and the FY 2022-23 Capital Budget is $70,244,760. It is anticipated that the proposed funding will fund design support and construction costs for the Rainbow Mall Civic Improvement Project, capital grants related to the Hotel Niagara and Cambria Hotel/Residential Development projects, and maintenance and site preparation expenses associated with properties secured through USAN’s Strategic Land Acquisition Program. Individual project expenses will be approved by the Directors under separate actions. Approval of the $1,499,927 Niagara Falls Convention Center and Old Falls Street 2022 operating and capital budgets.  About USA Niagara Development Corporation USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls.  For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 | (800) 260-7313 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239 | (800) 260-7313
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 11:00am
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and posted online.
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Public Notice

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 6:00pm
Public Notice
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Board Meeting

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 2:00pm
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be provided to the Directors and posted online.
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Press Release

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 10:49am
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) today met and authorized an amendment to a contract that will allow for the continuation of the Queen City Bike Ferry, a popular summertime amenity that links Canalside and the Outer Harbor via the Buffalo River. The Hilliman family-operated ferry service, operated for bicyclists and pedestrians, runs daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  One-way fares, including bicycles, are $1 per person. “The Queen City Bike Ferry not only connects the inner and outer harbors, but also provides a low-cost, efficient, scenic excursion on the water,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “Continuing this service allows easy access for bicyclists and pedestrians to the many attractions of our city’s greatest asset – the waterfront.” The approved contract extension provides a final, three-year operations/maintenance service contract not to exceed $530,440, with a total contract amount that is capped at $1,652,190.  Funding is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.  Revenue from the sale of roundtrip tickets, sponsorships, and/or other income associated with the operations will be deposited into ECHDC’s account.  The Hilliman family, contracted since 2015 to operate the Queen City Bike Ferry along the Buffalo River, will continue to provide operations and maintenance  for the seasonal public ferry service. As contractors, they  are wholly responsible for staffing associated with operating the vessel in a safe and secure manner, maintaining rider logs, monitoring vessel maintenance, proposing capital improvements and ensuring a satisfactory customer experience. Operational duties include, but are not be limited to, cleanliness, fueling, repairs, inspection and compliance with insurance and all applicable local, state and federal laws.  Since 2014, the Queen City Bike Ferry contract has included added responsibilities, including  landscape maintenance at the Bike Ferry Landing site, operations and maintenance of the ticket kiosks and provision of a second ferry during selected peak days based on the past year’s attendance records.  The contractor is also responsible for off-season storage of the vessel and docks associated with the ferry service.  The Queen City Bike Ferry can hold up to 49 passengers and 25 bikes at a time. One-way trips take five to 10 minutes to complete between the Commercial Slip at Canalside and the Bike Ferry Landing on the Outer Harbor. From Bike Ferry Landing, passengers have walking access to Wilkeson Pointe, the Times Beach Nature Preserve and the Buffalo Main Lighthouse.  For bikers, destinations include Buffalo Harbor State Park, Charlie’s Boat Yard restaurant, Tifft Nature Preserve, and Lakeside Bike Park and trails. The ECHDC Board also approved the corporation’s $1,322,633 operating and $51,479,364 capital budgets for Fiscal Year 2022-2023.  The capital budget includes, but is not limited to: acquisition costs; design costs of several Canalside and Outer Harbor capital projects; legal costs; property management and maintenance costs; the construction of Canalside parking improvements and the Outer Harbor Phase 1 projects; and ECHDC’s contribution to Heritage Point and the North Aud Block. About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor. As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty. Contact: Pamm Lent (Governor’s Office) │ [email protected] │(716) 560-8815 Laura Magee (ECHDC) │ [email protected] │ (716) 846-8239  
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Board Meeting

Monday, March 21, 2022 - 10:30am
In accordance with current Legislation, this meeting will be conducted via teleconference. The public may listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below.  Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 4:30 pm on Friday, March 18, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be provided to the Directors and posted online.
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Press Release

Friday, March 18, 2022 - 5:29pm
$4.3 Million Project will Expand AMLRS Office Space in the Seneca One Tower Governor Kathy Hochul announced that AML RightSource, the world's largest technology-enabled financial crime fighting firm, is expanding in Buffalo and will add an additional 363 employees to support the addition of new services and clients, resulting in a total Buffalo workforce of approximately 540 employees. The company helps domestic and international financial institutions, FinTechs, and other businesses comply with anti-money laundering regulations and to deter incidents of crime. The $4.3 million project will add an expansion of office space to AMLRS's 20,000-square-foot office on the 27th floor of Buffalo's tallest building, the Seneca One Tower. "AML RightSource is another success story for Western New York as it grows and provides hundreds of well-paying new jobs in the iconic Seneca One Tower - a building that was empty just a few years ago," Governor Hochul said. "These are the types of professional and high-tech jobs that will keep our new college graduates in the area, while also attracting other high-quality talent to the region. Through strategic partnerships with companies like AMLRS, New York is continuing to accelerate our post-pandemic economic recovery by attracting businesses from near and far to develop and expand across the state." New York State, through Empire State Development, will provide up to $7.4 million in Excelsior Job Program tax credits in return for AMLRS achieving its job creation commitments. These performance-based incentives will allow the company to expand operations and create 363 new jobs over the course of five years, which is in addition to the 175 jobs already created by the company in Buffalo through their previous Excelsior Job Program. In late February, Governor Hochul announced the creation of a Joint Security Operations Center (JSOC) to serve as the nerve center for joint local, state and federal cyber efforts, including data collection, response efforts and information sharing. JSOC is the nation's first-of-its-kind cyber command center that will provide a statewide view of the cyber-threat landscape and improve coordination on threat intelligence and incident response. Since 2004, AMLRS has been helping financial institutions and FinTechs meet the federal government's required compliance with regulations related to the identification and reporting of suspicious financial activity. The company uses proprietary technology and a global team of highly-trained analysts to track illicit financial activity, which can uncover potential human trafficking, terrorist financing, illegal drug shipments, and other nefarious financial schemes. Read the full press release here
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