LOCATION FOCUS: New York – A Wealth Of Everything

By Dominique Cantelme
From the March/April 2012 issue

With more than 19 million people, New York is one of the most populated states in the country. Bordered by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, its geography covers 54,556 square miles. The New York landscape ranges from farms, forests, rivers and lakes to mountains, built up towns and large urban cities with attractions and landmarks that include Adirondack Park, Niagara Falls, the Erie Canal, Central Park and the Empire State Building.

Home to one of the most extensive transportation infrastructures in the country, New York has a complex system of waterways, bridges and tunnels for a network of trains, boats, planes, buses and cars—a mass transit subway, the Long Island Rail Road, Port Authority Trans-Hudson, the Buffalo Metro Rail light-rail system and John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) Airports to name a few.

New York’s history, culture and economy are as diverse as its terrain and transportation system. Banking, finance, communication, high technology, retail, manufacturing and agriculture are just some of the many industries prevalent in the Empire State. Its pro-business, pro-growth philosophy offers companies job-creating tax cuts, R&D incentives and a number of other business and financial resources along with a diverse and skilled workforce. New York provides a high quality of life for its people and offers access to various educational institutions that include public and private universities, technology colleges and graduate and professional schools for any desired trade or profession.

A trendsetter with a progressive outlook, New York also remembers and appreciates its past. The state is filled with venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and Yankee Stadium for cultural and current events as well as those for knowledge and historical preservation such as the 9/11 Memorial, the Susan B. Anthony House and the American Museum of Natural History, all enriching the lives of visitors and residents alike. Here are some specific locations that encompass innovative and diverse qualities to help put you in a New York State of mind.

Jefferson County: Economic Engine in Energy Valley

Jefferson County is located in North Central New York State. The County borders Lake Ontario on the west and the St. Lawrence River and Canada to the north. Running up the middle of Jefferson County is Interstate 81, connecting directly to Canada’s Highway 401 in the Province of Ontario via the Thousand Islands International Bridge System.

The population is distributed among 22 towns, 20 incorporated villages and one city. The City of Watertown, the county seat, is centrally located on the Black River, 11 miles east of Lake Ontario, 22 miles south of the St. Lawrence River, with no part of the County being over 28 miles away. Jefferson County’s population grew to 116,229 in 2010, which indicates a four percent increase since the 2000 census. Jefferson was New York State’s “Fastest Growing County” in 2008 and 2010.

Located nine miles east of Watertown is Fort Drum, home to more than 39,000 soldiers and dependents, and more than 4,000 civilian employees of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and its supporting tenants. It is the nation’s fourth largest Army installation; it is also a major training center for Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers.

Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties recently launched a regional marketing effort called “Drum Country Business” to tout the continued growth and development within the region driven by Fort Drum’s presence.

Fort Drum is clearly the largest economic engine in the region, and one of the largest single employers in New York State. According to the 2010 Fort Drum Economic Impact Study, the Post is responsible for $1.5 billion in direct spending in the region. That includes, but is not limited to, $1.2 billion in payroll, $155 million in installation contracting, $64 million in Army Corps of Engineer contracting and $32 million in medical and dental services.

Jefferson County is experiencing an unparalleled economic boom as a result of Fort Drum’s expansion. The resulting increase in new military residents has elevated the Fort’s economic significance in the County as well as providing area employers with an added workforce base from which to draw.

Jefferson County’s economy has traditionally been resource based, providing many economic opportunities afforded by its water, agricultural and forest assets. Dairy farming, food processing and light manufacturing are major industries in the County. In addition, railroad equipment, industrial machinery and paper good manufacturing continue to be substantial contributors to the area’s economy.

Five counties in Northern New York have been named the “Energy Valley” of New York State by the state Senate. Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Oswego and Franklin counties were given the title based on the wide range of renewable and alternative energy production facilities in the area. Projects cited in these five counties include: a solid waste management facility’s methane gas-to-energy plant, two large wind farms, a wood chip burning biomass facility, hydroelectric facilities and three nuclear reactors.

Within the past 10 years companies such as Stream Global Services, Inc. (customer service call center), Roth Industries (manufacturer of hydronic radiant heating plumbing and storage systems) and Morris Northstar Hatchery (egg hatchery) have moved into the area. Local corporate expansions include CAR-FRESHNER, Timeless Frames, Renzi Brothers, Current Applications and Great Lakes Cheese.

In November 2011, the Afgritech LLC feed mill plant opened in the City of Watertown. The plant produces a protein meal product for dairy cows. The Company spent $5 million to upgrade a former feed mill plant into one of the most technologically advanced plants in North America.

Florelle Tissue Corp, located in Brownville, is in the process of moving into the former Brownville Special Paper facility and is expected to hire 75 people within the next three years. When at full operation, the company will manufacture kitchen towels, napkins and facial and bathroom tissue. The area offers a small-town atmosphere with metropolitan amenities and four seasons of fun. With Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River/1000 Islands and the Tug Hill Plateau (to the south) as boundaries, Jefferson is a county where water sports and outdoor recreation flourish. Lake Placid, New York, Boston and Philadelphia are within a few hours drive and close proximity to Canada makes international travel to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal a simple trek. The Watertown International Airport is serviced by American Eagle airlines with direct flights to Chicago, Illinois, linking to both national and international airports.

There are numerous national retailers and restaurant chains, as well as many quaint shops and boutiques that can be found throughout Jefferson County. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a comedian at the Sackets Harbor Playhouse or a performance at the Clayton Opera House.

Healthcare needs are met by three area hospitals that combine to provide a complete range of services. Recent expansion projects have accommodated new technologies for improved medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment.

Jefferson County is home to 11 public school districts and eight non-public schools. “Hands-on” learning for area high school students is provided by the Bohlen Technical Center. Continuing education programs for adults are offered in construction trades and mechanics, as well as business and health occupations. Jefferson Community College offers custom educational/training programs designed to meet the needs of area employers. Also, a complete range of undergraduate and graduate degrees are available through a consortium of State University of New York colleges and private institutions.

Housing prices in the County are affordable. The Median Price for a home in 2010 was $130,000. The County’s growth has also resulted in the construction of new homes, making it easy for families to locate the right home in the setting they desire.

Over the past 25 years, the growth of Fort Drum has helped bring diversity to the area and a renewed appreciation of the good schools, safe neighborhoods, affordable housing and variety of job opportunities. As the home of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum, the unique blending of the military and civilian communities makes Jefferson County one of the best places to live in the country. Most recently, Fort Drum won the 2011 silver award as a “Community of Excellence”, based on a review of Army installations across the globe—a real tribute to the region’s quality of life.

Broome County: Accessible and Affordable

With “insourcing” or “reshoring” all the rage in economic development, there are few better places for a new or expanded operation than Binghamton, New York.

Binghamton’s location is perfect—within easy reach of 60 percent of the North American population including two of the most important metroplexes in the world: Boston-Washington in the United States and Toronto-Montreal in Canada. It is along the critical Interstate 81 corridor about half way between Syracuse and Scranton; close to major markets without the traffic and other headaches associated with larger population centers.

And in Binghamton you will find one of the most creative economies in the United States. The city’s patents per capita, industry clusters and research capacity rank up there with Cambridge, Austin and San Jose.

A recent issue of WIRED Magazine features a map of the “emerging epicenters” for high tech growth. Binghamton is on that map. The city has strong clusters in aerospace, software, advanced manufacturing, communications, simulation, food production and distribution. Binghamton is home to many household name companies including Lockheed Martin, Gannett, IBM, Frito Lay, L-3 Communications, Endicott Interconnect and BAE Systems.

If you are seeking space for a new office or light manufacturing operation, explore the Charles Street Business Park in Binghamton. Charles Street is a 32-acre state-of-the-art urban industrial park on the City’s west side. This former brownfield has been readapted into one of the premier technology business parks in the northeast, anchored by Emerson Network Power’s 40,000-square-foot Binghamton headquarters. People from all over the world visit Emerson to learn about the latest technologies that protect and support business critical systems. Charles Street is in a Federal HUBZone creating many potential advantages for businesses that locate there. Please call Patrick J. Doyle at 607-761-3887 or visit www.bcida.com for more information.

The City is home to Binghamton University, a premier global public institution ranked by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of the best values in public colleges anywhere. The University features stellar academics, amazing research and a strong international focus. Binghamton is growing. This fall new residence halls are opening on the east side of campus, part of a $350 million expansion. And the University is about to open a $36 million science building with a combination of the latest lab space and classrooms.

The University’s growth has added momentum to downtown revitalization. This summer, Newman Development Group, a national leader in commercial retail and student housing real estate, will open Twin River Commons, a $20 million student housing community at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. Twin River Commons features apartments for 373 students, many with spectacular views of the rivers. It is anticipated that over the next two to three years more than 800 students will be living downtown.

In Greater Binghamton, quality of life means excellent schools, an opera and a symphony, strong minor league baseball and hockey, Division I athletics and a fast growing arts scene. The Binghamton Senators—the area’s American Hockey League franchise affiliated with Ottawa—won the Calder Cup in June, sending the whole community into a frenzy.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Binghamton is among the most affordable places to retire in the country. And the Farmers Insurance Group named Binghamton the 8th safest place to live among communities its size in the United States.

Binghamton’s superb transportation system makes it possible to get to the Adirondacks, the Poconos and the tremendous fly-fishing along the Delaware River in a matter of hours. It also has some of the best golf courses in the northeast. In many metropolitan areas you can wait hours for a tee time. In Binghamton, it’s a mere few minutes. And if you like winery tours and tastings, you’re a short distance from the Finger Lakes, one of the Wine Spectator’s emerging wine regions in the world.

With the cost of energy on the rise, Binghamton’s location, technology and quality of life make more sense than ever. For more on business in the region, visit the BCIDA’s website, www.bcida.com, which includes a searchable property database, an interactive profile of the area and links to incentives and programs.

Chenango County: Big Growth Year in 2011

Never heard of Chenango County? You aren’t alone. But several of the nation’s—and the world’s—top-notch manufacturers and service firms know the “secret of Chenango.” A slower-paced lifestyle and beautiful rural landscapes provide the backdrop for doing business in Chenango County, which features a highly skilled and loyal workforce, quality schools and tight-knit communities.

Economic development officials in Chenango County have many reasons to be happy with their area’s recent growth. Over the last three years, business owners have invested more than $200 million and created thousands of new jobs. Many local firms with deep roots in this small, rural Upstate New York county project continued expansions for 2012. Preferred Mutual Insurance Co.; NBT Bank, NA (one of the top-performing banks in the country); The Raymond Corporation (a Toyota-owned forklift manufacturer); Unison Industries (a division of GE Aviation); and GOLDEN™ Artist Colors paints all call Chenango County home. If you drive just a few miles over the county’s borders, you will also find MeadWestvaco, Amphenol Aerospace and New York Central Mutual Insurance Company—all major contributors to the local economy.

The most notable success story is that of Chobani, Inc. You’ve no doubt seen Chobani in the dairy aisle at your local grocer, but you may not be aware that the country’s top-selling Greek-style yogurt is made in Chenango County, in a former cream cheese plant that company founder Hamdi Ulukaya purchased from Kraft in 2005.

Ulukaya, who was born and raised in Turkey, is a third-generation maker of Mediterranean foods. He also owns Euphrates, Inc., a Feta cheese manufacturer located in Johnstown, NY, and was recently called the “Steve Jobs of yogurt” by Forbes Magazine.

In September 2007, Chobani production began at the Columbus, NY plant, with assistance from local economic development revolving loan funds, a community development block grant and an SBA-backed bank loan. Additional rounds of investment by Chobani in 2010 and 2011 have included participation by New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation through its various tax credit programs and grant funds, the state’s Office of Community Renewal, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Chobani also received sales, mortgage recording and property tax abatements on its newly constructed warehouse and plant additions from the local Industrial Development Agency.

Most recently, Chobani expanded its national and international footprints by breaking ground on a new plant in Idaho, and acquiring an Australian yogurt company. To date, Chobani, Inc. has invested more than $200 million in Chenango County, and sees the need for additional expansion in the near future. In addition to Chobani’s top-ranking in the Greek-style yogurt category, the brand’s explosive growth has made it the top-seller of all yogurt varieties in the Northeast, and #3 nationwide.

Another big success story from 2011 was the expansion of Frontier Communications in Sherburne, NY. Frontier has added 130 positions in the past 12 months, making it one of 2011’s biggest job creators in Chenango County. At the Sherburne Center, there are 34 salaried and 251 hourly positions that support the Repair, Dispatch, Callout, Testboard and Assignment Departments. Sherburne is one of two communities in Chenango County supplying electricity customers with low-cost municipal power. This, coupled with a dedicated, knowledgeable local workforce, made investing in Sherburne a good choice for Frontier.

The capital and expense cost of the Sherburne expansion was $600,000 and the project was completed in eight phases—a testament to management creativity. The previous configuration had 237 workstations including 12 Supervisor Offices; after reconfiguration, Frontier has 301 workstations, including 15 Supervisor Offices.

Frontier is a big contributor to the local economy and communities. The company pays nearly $495,000 annually in property taxes, and $300,000 in school taxes. The annual payroll for the more than 285 individuals located at the Sherburne Plant Service Center is $14.25 million. Frontier has a total of 351 employees in Chenango County, with total payroll of approximately $19 million.

Proximity to some of the largest markets in the world, two communities with low-cost power and dozens of acres of business park space make Chenango County an appealing option for those considering locating a small manufacturing or service firm in the upstate New York area. For more information about opportunities in Chenango County, contact Jennifer Tavares, Director of Economic Development, at 1-800-CHENANGO, or by email at jtavares@chenangony.org.

Town of Islip: Means and Mind for Business

The Town of Islip has long been known as a leader of economic development in New York. Islip boasts the largest industrial corridor in the region, major infrastructure advantages over surrounding areas and an award-winning Industrial Development Agency (IDA) that is renowned for its continuous ability to attract new businesses. The Islip IDA has demonstrated the ability to do more with less. Though Islip faces many of the same challenges as other municipalities during these harsh economic times, the Town is uniquely suited for economic growth and expansion.

One of the prime reasons for Islip’s attractiveness to local, national and international businesses is the proximity these businesses have to Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA), which the Federal Aviation Administration recently evaluated as being on-par with LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport. Having a nationally recognized airport within Islip Town helps local companies conduct their business more effectively and efficiently. Just as LIMA helps local businesses expand, LIMA itself is working to grow its presence to handle the economic demands of the future. Progress has already been made to increase the flow of business through the airport. For example, U.S. Airways recently announced their decision to offer daily flights to-and-from Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Just next door to Long Island MacArthur Airport is Islip’s Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). Foreign Trade Zone #52 was created to help businesses with an international scope grow and thrive in Islip. These companies can utilize the FTZ’s singular economic status to avoid costs associated with importing and exporting goods with other countries. The FTZ sits at the intersection of a crucial transportation hub that features railways, highways and Long Island MacArthur Airport. The Islip IDA has been able to help a variety of businesses take advantage of the office space and warehouse space that are critical to companies with an international compass.

The Town of Islip has a proud tradition of business success across a variety of industries. But special mention must be made toward two critical industries that have thrived within the town: technology and food distribution. Many technology companies, spanning sectors from aerospace to telecommunications, have found a home in Islip. CMG Wireless, a company that produces goods for the telecommunications market, rapidly has expanded their operations to cope with the increase in demand for wireless technology. They have remained in Islip largely because the IDA was able to help them adapt and expand their facilities (ensuring that business was uninterrupted). CPI Aero, a company that manufactures aircraft components primarily for the U.S. military, was recently able to expand their operations to a new facility, and did so with the help if the Islip IDA.

A recent example of another success story has been the construction of a 420,000-square-foot facility to be operated by Sysco Inc., a food distribution company. Throughout the entire construction process, from planning to building to staffing, Sysco and the Town of Islip have worked together to address the needs of both the company and the community. Aurora Contactors Inc. of Central Islip has been the lead developer on this project. The facility is expected to be operational by July 2012 and, once underway, the distribution facility will create 300 jobs. Sysco has already begun the recruitment process, and has placed a special focus on hiring from within the area. The distribution center will boast many exceptional features, including a state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel station to power all of the forklifts in the facility. This project has been a model for how local governments, civic groups and businesses can conceive and develop a project that will keep all parties satisfied for years to come.

Through all of these developments, the Islip IDA has continuously demonstrated its ability to work with businesses to build partnerships between government, businesses and residents. The Islip IDA was recently named the 2011 Suffolk County IDA of the Year by the editorial staff of the Long Island Business News. Islip Town always will be committed to exploring new ways to bring jobs and opportunities to Islip, without losing their identity as a community. For information on how your business can grow in Islip, please visit www.islipida.org.

Food Sector Expansion Keeps Pace in Greater Rochester

Two national companies, Kraft and LiDestri Foods, have had major expansions in the Greater Rochester, NY Region while Barilla is in the process of a small new development.

Kraft Foods, the world’s second largest food company with annual revenues of more than $42 billion, has expanded its local production facility in Avon, NY, Livingston County. The company increased its local workforce by 10 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 380 to 420 people, spokeswoman Joyce Hodel said. Another expansion announcement is expected this year.

Kraft produces the Cool Whip and Lunchables lunch combination lines in Avon. The company chose to expand its operation there because of the available plant capacity as well as the high productivity consistently achieved by the local team. Two $125,000 grants, one each from Empire State Development and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, were given to Kraft through the New York State Community Development Block Grant program, which provides the support and tools companies need to succeed. The funding was used to develop Kraft’s new Lunchables line as part of a nearly $2.4 million project.

LiDestri Foods, a premier manufacturer of sauces, dips, salsas and spirits including Classico pasta sauce, Newman’s Own Sauce and Salsa, Francesco Rinaldi Pasta Sauce and Frito-Lay’s Tostitos line, purchased a 652,000-square-foot building at Eastman Business Park in Rochester. The move was projected to bring 60 to 100 jobs to the Region, and paved the way for the company to expand production of its 500 different products, which feed more than six million people per day.

“We decided against another possible location in the Southeast because we can reach 75 million people within a day’s drive of Rochester,” said John LiDestri, President of LiDestri Foods. “The proximity to major markets without major market costs is a big advantage, but our biggest advantage is the phenomenal talent and work ethic of the Rochester Region’s workforce.”

Home to about 30 companies, Eastman Business Park has extensive on-site infrastructure which includes a full suite of utilities, railroad access, fresh water, a waste water treatment facility, security personnel and a fire department. LiDestri plans to set up an innovation center at the Park—developing spirits and new lines of food that could ultimately turn into more business opportunities.

LiDestri also recently consolidated its Pennsauken, NJ branch and transferred the 150 positions to a new juice production plant on Lee Road in Rochester. Since many workers decided not to transfer, most of the positions were new. The privately held company has five production plants in the U.S. and employs more than 400 workers in the Rochester area.

“Kraft and LiDestri are premier players in the food and beverage industry,” said Greater Rochester Enterprise President Mark Peterson. “We are pleased with their decision to expand here. They will continue to benefit from the wealth of resources the Rochester Region has to offer; our talented workforce, world-class facilities, and 7 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, which provides companies with an abundance of affordable fresh water.”

There are more than 100 food and beverage companies located in the Greater Rochester, NY Region, including the largest wine company in the world, Constellation Brands, and Wegmans Food Markets.