Diversity: A New York State of Mind

From medical centers to ethanol plants and agri-business to high technology, New York offers a fertile empire where various industries grow alongside each other.

New York is home to one of the biggest and most diverse state economies in the country, reflecting its vast geographical composition. With rugged mountains, rural open spaces, sandy shorelines, and, of course, pulsating cities, New York is a microcosm of American life. It’s a place that remembers its history—throughout its counties, you’ll find reminders of Native American tribal heritage, early Dutch settlements, and numerous residents who trace their ancestries through Ellis Island. But New York is also a trendsetter with a progressive outlook on economic development and an aggressive approach to conducting business.

A pro-commerce and pro-growth state, New York offers various financial incentives to attract both small businesses and international corporations. The state’s Empire Zone program was created to stimulate economic growth through a variety of tax incentives designed to draw new businesses to New York and to enable existing businesses to expand and create more jobs. Today, there are over 9,800 certified businesses employing more than 380,000 people in 82 Empire Zones statewide. Plus, an array of tax exemptions and credits have helped give New York one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the Northeast. Here are several exciting developments taking place in some of New York’s most business-friendly regions.

Otsego County Steps Up To The Plate

More than 500,000 visitors descend upon the Cooperstown area each year to experience what Otsego County, NY residents enjoy everyday. The National Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Soccer Hall of Fame, the internationally acclaimed Glimmerglass Opera, plus numerous art and living museums are a mere glimpse into the rich cultural opportunities that abound here. For outdoor enthusiasts, an array of pristine lakes and streams funnel to form the Susquehanna River, while state parks and forested lands provide ideal venues for summer boating, autumn hiking, and winter snowshoeing.

Otsego’s world-class reputation is not exclusively reserved for visitors. Its economic development focus is creating an environment for businesses to thrive—and when businesses thrive, they grow. Otsego County is proud to be home to some heavy hitters:

• Corning Inc. Life Science Division, a major regional employer for the last 34 years, manufactures keystone components that enable high technology life science systems.

• Since 1949, Medical Coaches has delivered multiphasic health screening units with x-ray to over 107 countries and all 50 states. Medical Coaches’ units operate on every continent, including a remote monitoring post on Antarctica.

• Siemens’ long-term partnership with Medical Coaches led to the development of a mobile MRI. Siemens maintains a facility at the 70-acre Pony Farm Industrial Park in Oneonta, NY.

• The Egli Machine Co. is a leader in precision metal machining, plastic injection molding, and product design and development.

Whether your business is in the major league or a rookie in the minors, Otsego County has a dedicated focus on community and economic development. The county offers a grand slam of business resources, such as powerful financial incentives, fully infrastructured business parks, a high quality of life, and easy access to major markets.

The Otsego County Economic Development Department is an all star line-up equipped to assist any business expansion or relocation project. Attractive financial assistance packages are available, including low interest loans, industrial revenue bonds, and sale-leaseback agreements. Otsego County is also a designated New York State Empire Zone. Benefits to eligible businesses include Wage, Employment Incentive, Sales, and Investment Tax Credits. An Empire Zone-qualified business taking full advantage of these benefits can run a virtually tax-free operation in Otsego County.

In the county, economic development officials, chambers of commerce, and municipal governments team up to attract, retain, and expand all types of businesses. The area’s rich agricultural history has transitioned into a diverse economy supported by Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta, numerous long-term private employers, two comprehensive healthcare networks, and a strong tourist industry. A majority of the local manufacturing businesses located in the county because their owners were searching for a location with an excellent quality of life. Once here, businesses flourish.

Shovel-ready acreage through the County of Otsego Industrial Development Agency (COIDA) allows for quick turnaround time when building a new facility. Along I-88, the Pony Farm Light Industrial Park and the River Corp. Heavy Industrial Park offer rail and interstate access, fiber optics, municipal water and sewer, natural gas, and three phase electric services. Recent upgrades to Pony Farm include the incorporation of a storm water management plan. In 2009, COIDA plans to open the new, fully-infrastructured Richfield Springs Business Park at the northern tip of the county.

Strategically located between Albany, Utica, and Binghamton, Otsego County provides excellent transportation systems by highway, rail, and air. Otsego County is bordered by I-88 to the south and US Route 20 to the north. Other nearby major highways include the New York State Thruway, Route 17 (future I-86), and I-81. Albany International Airport, Syracuse International Airport, and Binghamton Regional Airport are all within 80 miles of the county. In addition, the city of Oneonta’s newly renovated municipal airport is accessible to corporate jets.

For information on how Otsego County can help your business, contact Carolyn Lewis, economic developer, at 607-432-8871 or lewisc@otsegocounty.com, or visit www.otsegoeconomicdevelopment.com.

Mohawk Valley Has the EDGE

The same sense of spirit and determination found in the world class Boilermaker 15K road race is what has made New York’s Mohawk Valley home to dozens of tech-based grassroots enterprises.

Assured Information Security Inc. (AIS), ranked 299th on Inc.’s 2007 list of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States, was founded in 2001 by Dr. Leonard Popyack and Charles Green. AIS now employs more than 70 people at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, NY, where it conducts research and development in the areas of new and revolutionary computer network security capabilities, an essential component of U.S. military and economic security.

The Griffiss Business and Technology Park has been the Mohawk Valley’s center of economic investment and growth over the last decade. Since 1995, steady growth has resulted in approximately $350 million in public and private investment and, today, nearly 6,000 people work at Griffiss. There are strong clusters in the information technology, aviation, logistics, manufacturing, and back office sectors. The Oneida County Airport anchors the Griffiss Airfield, with its 11,820-foot-long runway.

Marcy NanoCenter, within the Utica-Rome MSA, represents the next opportunity for Mohawk Valley’s economic growth and transformation. A 300-acre greenfield site on the State University of New York Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) campus, Marcy NanoCenter is the largest remaining shovel-ready greenfield site in New York’s Tech Valley. It has ample room for a campus style layout, including manufacturing, R&D, workforce training, and recreational spaces. Proximity to high-tech and semiconductor clusters, secure water and energy sources, a quality workforce, three major highways, regional airports, and major U.S. and international markets make Marcy NanoCenter an ideal location for a new semiconductor manufacturing facility.

These and more opportunities are available for your company to grow in the Mohawk Valley. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company needing a spot for hundreds of employees or a small firm looking to strengthen your presence in the Northeast, Mohawk Valley EDGE is the one-stop shop to help develop financial and assistance packages for new and expanding businesses. We can also help your business find a suitable existing building or shovel-ready site to construct a new facility for heavy manufacturing, distribution, back office services, and other industrial endeavors.

Thousands of talented individuals from 35 local colleges and universities translate to success for companies in New York State’s Creative Core. EDGE and its partners will even set up workforce training programs to meet your company’s specific goals.

EDGE’s work has helped attract local and international companies such as Empire Aero Center, The Hartford, Mascoma Corporation, New England Wood Pellet, Bartell Machinery Systems, MetLife, Riverhawk Company, Goodrich Corporation, East Coast Olive Oil, BAE Systems, Nirvana Water, SAES Getters, and Owl Wire.

Check out Mohawk Valley on the Web at www.mvedge.org or contact the region at spapale@mvedge.org for more information.

Genesee Sees Its Future in Agri-business

Four years ago, Steve Hyde, CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), had a vision while standing in a cornfield that would later become a business park. He wanted to construct an industrial area that would complement his county’s top industry—agriculture.

This spring, Hyde and his agency will break ground in New York’s Genesee Valley at a 200-acre park dedicated to food processing. Hyde secured financial commitments totaling more than $6 million from the state of New York, the county of Genesee, and even the local municipality. He also convinced a private lender, Farm Credit of Western New York, to form a joint venture that will own and operate the park. When asked why he did it, Hyde says, “Because it makes sense and helps support our number one industry.”

The proposed park has been embraced by the local agricultural community. “It gives the farmers an opportunity to sell their goods locally and, given the rising costs of transportation, that is a huge asset,” says Jim Vincent, owner and operator of L-Brooke Farms in Genesee County.

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is located in the nation’s top region for food production and in close proximity to O-AT-KA Milk Products, a large dairy co-operative. According to a recent study conducted by the Buffalo-Niagara Enterprise, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to economic development, western New York has more than 16,000 employees working in the food processing industry, representing an employment concentration of 2.6%, twice the national average and first in the United States. Four of the five top food producers in North America have a presence in the region, and five of the top 100 food producers, including Constellation Brands and Rich Food Products, have their headquarters in western New York. Also, Barilla just made a $120 million investment in nearby Livingston County, NY.

The agri-business park, which is less than a 10-hour drive from 184 million people and just seven hours from the Port of New York, sits on one of the region’s largest aquifers, capable of producing up to six million gallons per day of low-cost process water. A Rochester-based company, Ecovation, also has a wastewater pretreatment facility on site, which is located in a New York State Empire Zone.

Ground breaking for the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is set to begin this spring and the GCEDC already has one letter of intent from a Canadian food processor that will begin construction in the summer. The agency also received an international visit from a European dairy producer. At full build out, the park is expected to house 1.3 million square feet of production space and produce $72 million in average annual economic impact, meaning for every public incentive dollar received, the businesses located in the park will return $14.80 to the local economy.

For more information about Genesee, call the Genesee County Economic Development Center in Batavia, NY at 585-343-4866.

Off We Go To Oswego

Two projects generating excitement in Oswego County are the 420-acre Riverview Business Park (RBP) in the town of Volney, NY, which emphasizes renewable and innovative technologies, and the proposed expansion of the Port of Oswego.

RBP, anchored by the $175 million Northeast Biofuels (NEB) ethanol plant, will retrofit the park’s existing infrastructure to create a network of sustainable, renewable energy sources, including woody biomass gasification and agricultural waste turned into methane, solar, wind, and geothermal power. RBP and its development partners, O’Brien & Gere, Operation Oswego County (OOC), National Grid, and Empire State Development, are marketing the park, with a focus on agri-business, including the dairy, food processing, and bottling/beverage industries. In addition to affordable green energy, RBP offers access to the CSX rail system, interstate highways, and the deep water Port of Oswego. Total investment at RPB could approach $1 billion, and 1,000 new full-time jobs are expected.

The Port of Oswego is the first U.S. port of call on Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes, from the Atlantic and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and it processes over 500,000 tons of cargo yearly. In 2007, the port completed several expansion projects including a $1.1 million reconstruction of a barrel building for bulk storage and a $175,000 rehabilitation of the West Wharf for salt storage; it also secured two new companies, Cargill and Perdue.

In order to meet future needs of the international trade industry and increase revenue for the port, several more expansion projects will be implemented, including rail rehabilitation for existing tracks at the East Terminal, concrete paving between the barrel building and storage domes, construction of a new maintenance facility, and construction of new bulk storage facilities.

Why do businesses choose to locate and grow in Oswego County? The availability of attractive, low-cost financing options through the county of Oswego Industrial Development Agency, SBA 504 loans, and Empire State Development programs are a start. The county also provides companies access to a skilled labor pool of 60,000 people, with workforce training funds available through the Oswego County Workforce Development Board and the state of New York.

Oswego County is powered by three nuclear power plants, 10 hydroelectric plants, and four natural gas and fossil fuel power plants, with an installed capacity of over 5,500 megawatts of power. The county’s Public Utility Service is offering businesses low-cost power every year until 2010, and Entergy Nuclear Northeast has created a low-cost electrical power program, Power for Progress, which makes the commodity cost of electricity available for 3.2 cents per kilowatt hour. A total of 10 megawatts of power is being made available to companies at this discounted price.

For more information, contact L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of OOC, at ooc@oswegocounty.org or 315-343-1545, or visit www.oswegocounty.org.

Landing your Business in Lancaster

The town of Lancaster is located at the center of the largest commercial and industrial area in upstate New York, the Niagara Frontier. A suburb of Buffalo (the second largest metropolitan area in the state after New York City), Lancaster offers an exceptional location where businesses continue to grow and prosper.

Plants in and around Lancaster include automotive industry giants such as Ford and General Motors, which require electrical parts, safety equipment, fabricated metal, and machinery. Relocating companies have an abundant supply of reliable utilities at their disposal, and raw materials are readily available.

Lancaster offers a diversified pool of skilled workers, technicians, and engineers. A high percentage is second and third generation craftsmen and homeowners who come from a productive, hardworking stock. They know what it means to put in a good day’s work and they offer a variety of skills in the areas of aeronautics, automotive, chemicals, electronics, computers, technology, graphic arts, mechanical design, and metal and wood working.

Teamwork, planning, and innovation are all part of the Lancaster tradition. A master plan of action, compiled by a team of land planners and engineers, assures a compatible formula for industrial, commercial, and residential growth. Development is closely coordinated for orderly expansion, and land zoned for industrial use is carefully selected to provide access to existing or planned transport routes.

Lancaster is comprised of 42 square miles of uncrowded land with very few topographical limitations to restrict development. Practically all sites are on flat, dry land and more than 5,000 acres are protectively zoned for industry. Sites in Lancaster suit just about any size requirement or specification. Once you decide to locate in Lancaster, you can plan to expand because there is no need to move.

For more information, contact the Town of Lancaster Industrial Development Agency at 716-683-1610.