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Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Gillibrand stops in Bergen to pump up Foreign Trade Zones

post by Howard B. Owens in business, foreign trade zone, GCEDC, liberty pumps

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped for a tour of Liberty Pumps in Bergen today to promote Genesee County's "Foreign Trade Zone" designation.

Liberty is the first company in Genesee County to apply for the benefits of an FTZ.

Charlie Cook, president and CEO of Liberty Pumps, said the designation will help his company grow and create more jobs.

"It's certainly going to help reduce our costs," Cook said. "We are initially limited to three companies because it's crucial to monitor everything and control the inventory on the floor, so our most expensive components are duty free and there's an advantage there. It's our intent to flow the savings to the bottom line and generate more profits, which fuels future growth."

Profits, Cook, explained, means more research and development and more funds to bring new products to market, which means expansion.

Liberty Pumps is surrounded by three parcels of land that are suitable for expansion and Cook mentioned that the company is considering it options and will almost certainly expand in the next couple of years.

The FTZ allows Liberty Pumps to buy some of the parts it needs to build products without paying tariffs, but then it can also avoid tariffs on its exports.

Cook wanted to note, however, that not every component it could buy overseas is imported.

"We really try to limit our foreign purchases of components," Cook said. "If we can buy it domestically, we always prefer domestic components, but the fact is, these particular motors you can't get from a U.S. manufacturer anymore. They've all closed down these lines. Other components, like castings, we could do that, but we're trying to contain that business, a lot of it, to domestic sources rather than foreign."

Gillibrand said FTZs are important to help New York's economy grow.

"I encourage all manufacturers who can benefit to apply," Gillibrand said. "We make some of the most amazing things in the world right here in New York. We produce some of the greatest agricultural products of anywhere in the world. We want to be able to increase the world markets for our goods and services. We want to keep local busineses in a position of strength."

Monday, August 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Publication ranks Genesee County as 4th fastest growing food processing region

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

For the fourth year in a row, Genesee County, New York has been recognized as one of the fastest growing Food Processing Industry Metros by Business Facilities, a national site selection publication.

The Agricultural and Food and Beverage Sector employs more than 1,500 workers in Genesee County, and throughout the Western New York and the Finger Lakes Region there are more than 20,000 employees within the Food and Beverage Cluster. This number has increased significantly in recent years with the opening of Alpina Foods, LLC, and Muller Quaker Dairy along with the expansion of other food processors in the County.

“The recent construction of two new food processing facilities demonstrates a substantial return on our investment in our Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC). “We are honored to be once again recognized by Business Facilities as it keeps us on the radar screen for site selectors throughout the United States and the world.”

The Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park encompasses 211 shovel-ready, pre-permitted acres strategically located between Western New York and the Finger Lakes region in Batavia, NY.  On site, there is access to low cost process water via a local aquifer, a short and main line rail access to move products, and large capacity municipal sewer and water. Through the support of National Grid and National Fuel the site has an enhanced utility infrastructure.

“Genesee County and our strategic partners, GCEDC, GCC, our utility companies, Farm East and other local governments like Batavia, Pembroke, Bergen, etc., made sure that nine-plus years of planning and preparation are paying off in terms of infrastructure, shovel-ready site, employment and training opportunities and good paying, long-term employment options for our community and the region,” said Mary Pat Hancock, chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature. “The vision and collaboration necessary to make this happen and to sustain development and progress is what our community has always been about.”

Alpina Foods, LLC, a leading dairy producing company in Colombia and South America, recently opened its first specialty yogurt manufacturing plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. This is Alpina’s first United States facility and the company recently exceeded their original job commitments of 50 employees. PepsiCo, in a joint venture with German dairy company Theo Müller, also recently opened its own $206 million yogurt manufacturing facility, Muller Quaker Dairy, and as of June 2013 have hired 110 employees for their Batavia facility. 

“Food manufacturers value our region’s abundant milk supply and access to fresh water,” said Mark S. Peterson, president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise. “These assets are just some of the reasons Genesee County has become a magnet for leading yogurt manufacturers such as Alpina Foods and Muller Quaker Dairy.”

“A wealth of agricultural assets, shovel-ready sites, transportation infrastructure and access to major U.S. and Canadian markets have helped to establish Genesee County as a leading location for the food processing industry,” said Thomas A. Kucharski, president and CEO of Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

“Leading dairy companies like Alpina Foods, Muller Quaker Dairy, Yancey’s Fancy and O-AT-KA Milk are among the almost 400 food processing companies that have grown and prospered in Genesee County and the surrounding area,” Kucharski added.

Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

Details released on four projects up for consideration by GCEDC

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC

Rachael J. Tabelski, communications director for Genesee County Economic Development Center, released the following details on the four projects that will be considered by the GCEDC board this afternoon. The board meets at 4 p.m. at the MedTech Centre, 99 MedTech Drive (across from the college).

1. (GCEDC) Proposed sales tax and property tax abatement -- Graham Corp.
Graham Corporation would like to renovate the "old" plant area, located at the corner of Harvester Avenue and Howard Street in the City of Batavia. A new bay will be constructed (12,439 square feet) that will enclose the area between two manufacturing bays located facing Harvester Avenue along with renovations of office and manufacturing areas. In addition, a new building (3,800 square feet) will be constructed on the 20 Florence St. property. This new building will be used for X-ray inspections of welds done during the fabrication process. Graham currently has 311 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 30 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for these renovations. Board Action Request: Approval of an initial resolution to accept the application, and schedule a public hearing as benefits exceed $100,000. The application for the expansion project includes a sales tax exemption ($240,000) and property tax abatement on the incremental increase in assessed value ($243,396). Historical Look: The last expansion project that Graham undertook and the GCEDC assisted was in 2011. At the time, Graham had 278 FTE’s and pledged 30 new jobs in three years for a total of 308 FTEs. According to its 2013 application the company has exceeded its employment goals and plans to keep growing.

2. (GCEDC) Proposed sales tax and mortgage tax exemption and property tax abatement -- Guthrie Heli-Arc, Inc. 
Guthrie Heli-Arc, Inc., is a federally certified repair facility for transportation vessels. For the past 22 years its has operated out of a rented facility in Bergen. That facility has been sold, and the lease will terminate. CLR Industries, LLC, real estate holding company, has purchased a facility at 6276 Clinton Street Road in Stafford. The company plans on moving into the Stafford facility after a 7200-square-foot addition to the existing structure is completed. The addition is necessary to accommodate workflow. Board Action Request: Approval of a final resolution to approve incentives for the proposed project. The application for the expansion project includes a sales tax ($14,400) and mortgage tax exemption ($3,750) and property tax abatement on the incremental increase in assessed value ($58,902).

3. (GCEDC) Proposed RLF  for business expansion Pellegrino Auto Sales
The company is seeking a 16’x48’ expansion to the current facility and office renovation of 12’x38' at 4060 Pearl Street Road in the Town of Batavia. This will allow for three times the office space for future growth. The company is investing $150,000 and pledging 2.5 FTEs and retaining 5.5 FTEs. Board Action Request: Approval of a $75,000 from the revolving loan fund.

4. (GGLDC) Proposed RLF from the Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund -- Jackson Square, LLC.
The former Carr's warehouse was built around 1880 in what is today known as Jackson Square. The company is looking to convert the former warehouse into a mixed-use, commercial and residential site. The ground floor will have flex office/light industrial and four new market rate apartments on the second and third floors. The City of Batavia is current owner of building and will transfer the title to the Batavia Development Corporation for sale to 13 Jackson Square, LLC. It is our understanding that the City of Batavia is looking to assist the project with its 485-A real property tax exemption. Board Action Request: Approval of a $100,000 from Batavia Micropolitan Area Community Redevelopment Loan Fund. Historical look: Board approved final resolution in July 2013 for sales tax ($24,816) and mortgage tax exemption ($2,994) contingent upon 13 Jackson Square, LLC, purchasing the building.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:07 am

GCEDC to vote on two projects at Thursday meeting

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, graham corp., Guthrie Heli-Arc

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) will consider two projects at its Aug. 1 board meeting. The board anticipates reviewing two revolving loan fund applications at this meeting as well.

Graham Corporation is seeking sales and property tax abatement for an expansion of its existing facilities. A new bay will be constructed (12,439 square feet) that will enclose the area between two manufacturing bays facing Harvester Avenue along with renovations of office and manufacturing areas. In addition, a new building (3,800 square feet) will be constructed on the 20 Florence St. property. This new building will be used for X-ray inspections of welds done during the fabrication process.

The total capital investment of the project is estimated to be approximately $5,500,000, with the proposed tax incentives contributing $483,396. Graham currently has 311 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and expects to add 30 more over three years after the certificate of occupancy is obtained for these renovations.

The estimated economic impact of the project is 17.30:1. For every dollar of tax relief granted, the company will invest $17.30 into the local economy. Because the proposed incentives exceed $100,000, the board will first consider an initial resolution to be followed by a public hearing.   

The last expansion project that Graham undertook – also with assistance from the GCEDC – was in 2011. At the time Graham had 278 FTEs and pledged 30 new jobs in three years for a total of 308 FTEs. According to its 2013 application, the company has exceeded its employment goals and plans to continue growing.

Guthrie Heli-Arc, a federally certified repair facility for transportation vehicles, is seeking sales and mortgage tax exemption and property tax abatement for an expansion and relocation project. For the past 22 years, the company has operated out of a rented facility in Bergen. That facility has been sold, and their lease will terminate. CLR Industries, LLC, a real estate holding company, has purchased a facility at 6276 Clinton Street Road in Stafford. Guthrie Heli-Arc plans on moving into the Stafford facility after a 7200-square-foot addition to the existing structure is completed. The addition is necessary to accommodate workflow.

The total capital investment of the project is estimated to be approximately $300,000, with the proposed tax incentives contributing $77,052. Guthrie Heli-Arc estimates that the project will allow the company to create two new jobs while retaining six others. The estimated economic impact of the project is 9.4:1. For every dollar of tax relief granted, the company will invest $9.40 into the local economy. 

All GCEDC Board meetings are open to the public. Meetings are held on the second floor of the Dr. Bruce A. Holm Upstate Med & Tech Park, located at 99 MedTech Drive in the Town of Batavia, across from Genesee Community College. The meeting is anticipated to convene at 4 p.m.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Second round of applications available for food-processing training program

post by Billie Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

The Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) is offering a second round of applications for its Food Processing Training Program. The program provides individuals with a certification to work in the food-processing industry, including the yogurt companies in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park. The deadline for submitting applications is Sept. 1.

Up to 25 individuals will be accepted for the class. Members from first graduating class are already working at local companies.

Applications can be picked up at the Genesee County Career Center at 587 E. Main St., Suite 100, Eastown Plaza in Batavia. The application also is available at the GCEDC Web site <http://www.gcedc.com>. Applicants also will need to complete a Customer Registration Form as well as submit an up-to-date resume with their application.

“We want to build off the success of the first graduating class and get as many applications submitted as possible in order to enhance the talent pool of individuals with the skills to work and be successful in the food processing industry,” said GCEDC Chairman Charlie Cook.

The training program is being funded by an Area Development grant obtained by the GCEDC from the National Fuel Gas Corporation with additional financial support from the Finger Lakes Food Cluster Initiative — funded by the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration in the amount of $38,000 or 28 percent of the program.

In addition to receiving a non-credit certificate and certificates in Team Building and OSHA Safety in a Manufacturing Environment from Genesee Community College, participants will receive certificates in Lean Systems Six Sigma Yellow Belt (Rochester Institute of Technology) and Basic Dairy Science & Sanitation Certificate (Cornell University).

“Our goal is to increase the 78 applications we received for the first class and we were encouraged that we received so many applications from outside of Genesee County,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “It shows that the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park is a regional economic asset and that people are willing to travel for good jobs.”

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Premiere Credit says its Mill Street location will employ 200 after latest round of hiring

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Premiere Credit

Previously, we published a press release from GCEDC that announced an expansion for Premiere Credit. Here is a press release from Premiere Credit with more information.

Premiere Credit of North America, LLC, a leading national accounts receivable management company headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., announced today the addition of 50 jobs to its Batavia call center operation on Mill Street.

Premiere Credit will be hiring managers and collection cpecialists. Interested applicants can apply online at www.premierecredit.com and click on the Employment tab. These are solid jobs with good benefits and great earning potential for top performers.

“Premiere Credit opened an office in Batavia 17 months ago and we have been so impressed with the workforce in this location. We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our business here,” said President and CEO Rob Meck. “I am also proud to be part of a team that so willingly gives of their time and resources to this community through their involvement in local charities.”

“Premiere Credit’s expansion of its Batavia office is a testament to a high quality, productive and home-grown workforce,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. “This announcement builds on the positive economic development continuing to gain traction in Batavia and throughout the county.”

The Mill Street location started with 50 employees in March 2012 and will employ nearly 200 people after this expansion is complete.

Monday, July 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

GCEDC announces new projects with promise of 60 more jobs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, Le Roy

Press release:

The Board of Directors of the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) reviewed and approved four items at the organization’s July 11 board meeting. The projects would create approximately 60 new jobs, including 50 new jobs at Premiere Credit in downtown Batavia while retaining approximately 50 jobs at Leroy Plastics.

The board also approved the sale of 10 acres of land to Alpina for a future use as yet not unveiled by the company. Alpina has already surpassed its commitment to create 50 new jobs to receive benefits from the GCEDC as 55 new jobs have already been created.

Le Roy Plastics received approval for a $100,000 loan fund from the GCEDC in order to purchase a building at 59 Lake St. in Le Roy. The company is seeking to consolidate its processes from current facilities located at 15 Lent Ave. and 7835 E. Main St. The loan would have a term of seven years.

Premiere Credit, which opened operations in the city of Batavia in 2012, received a sales tax exemption of approximately $26,000 in return for an investment of $325,000 to expand the footprint of the company’s existing call center at 1 Mill St. The expansion will create an additional 50 new employees for a total workforce of 135.

Imagination Industries is constructing a 7,015-square-foot facility at 8240 Buffalo Road in the Town of Bergen. The multiuse facility will house an indoor firing range, training center, gunsmith services and a laser engraving business. The company is investing nearly $400,000 and will create 10 new jobs. 

Since this is a retail business, a public hearing was conducted on July 9 for community feedback to the project as part of the passage of new state legislation to determine if the project makes available services which would not be, but for the project, reasonably accessible to residents of the municipality where the project is located. After it was determined that the project fulfilled the new criteria, Imagination Industries received approval for sales tax and mortgage tax exemptions and a property tax abatement.

“These are all very high-quality projects that we believe will have a positive economic impact in the region,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “While the main function of our organization is to create new jobs, it’s also important to remember that we are here to help existing companies such as Le Roy Plastics retain jobs and keep them here for the long term.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013 at 9:40 am

Owner places blame on GCEDC for decision to close Fisher Sports

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, GCEDC

Press release:

Fisher Sports has decided to close its doors. We have thought about the situation and have had many discussions over the last month and we feel with being a new business we just haven’t had enough time to build our business to where we could withstand a hit like the one the GCEDC gave us paying Dick's to come to town.

We would have liked to stay open through the end of the year but with my son Jonathan’s football season at Syracuse starting next month I will be doing a lot of traveling and thought this is as good a time as any to start the closing process. We are having a 50-percent off everything in the store sale to reduce our inventory so please come in and take advantage of the savings.

Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm

New revolving loan fund intended to spur redevelopment in city, towns and villages

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCEDC, redevelopment

Genesee County Economic Development Center -- through its financing arm, Genesee Gateway LDC -- is committing $500,000 to redevelopment projects in the City of Batavia as well as the business districts of Genesee County's towns and villages.

The money to start the new revolving loan fund is seeded from revenue generated for the LDC by the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which in the last year has seen two companies construct yogurt plants there.

"Fortunately, some of the risks we've taken and some of our strategies we've taken have created some capital," said GCEDC CEO Steve Hyde said during a joint meeting Thursday of the GCEDC and LDC boards of directors. "I'm now recommending to the local development board to say, 'let's take some of the strategic investment money from the success of the ag park and reinvest it to support the redevelopment activities and revitalization here in the city and the business centers in the towns and villages.'"

The board approved the proposal unanimously.

The vote followed presentations by Batavia Development Corp. Economic Development Coordinator Julie Pacatte and City Manager Jason Molino.

The city, which is largely built out and has some aging industrial and commercial buildings, has been developing a strategy to pursue redevelopment, adaptive reuse and in-fill development.

An example of redevelopment, Pacatte said, is the Masse Gateway project, which took old manufacturing buildings and turned them into office buildings.

Adaptive reuse would be the project now under way to convert the former Carr's warehouse in Jackson Square into retail, office and apartment space.

In-fill would be the kind of project that Pacatte said needs to take place with the Della Penna property on Ellicott Street where there's one building on the property now and another could be added to create more density and expand the range of uses for the property.

"These projects are very difficult to fund," Pacatte said, "the Carr's warehouse for example. It was a warehouse. It's becoming residential and commercial. The condition of the building today, he (the buyer) would never get a traditional mortgage to do anything with that site, so he needed to start with a lot of equity. He has to look for some other opportunities so he can cash flow the project before the the grants will come in on the back end to reimburse him."

The kind of loans available through the new Batavia Micropolitan Redevelopment Fund could have helped the Carr's Warehouse project.

The loans will need to meet a long list of requirements to be granted and can range from $25,000 to $100,000 at 80 percent of prime.

To qualify, a developer would need to have at least a 30-percent equity stake in the project or already have another traditional bank loan in place. Collateral is required and the developer must make a personal guarantee for repayment.

Legislator Marrianne Clattenburg -- who both while City Council president and as a legislator has been critical of the scant attention GCEDC has seemed to pay to redevelopment in the city -- was pleased with today's decision and was on hand to witness the vote.

"It meets what I'm looking for," Clattenburg said. "It's a start. It's a beginning and it's gratifying to see the culmination of what I believe is a partnership that's forming and a recognition that the county development agency should be into redevelopment while it's doing greenfield development. I'm gratified it's coming about and I look forward to much more in the future."

For more than a decade, at least, GCEDC has been focused on building shovel-ready parks to attract manufacturing and other industrial businesses. Its biggest success so far, with the opening of the Alpina and Muller Quaker yogurt plants, has been the ag park.

The LDC will administer the loan fund. GCEDC could become involved in projects where tax abatements are needed to assist the redevelopment effort, Hyde said.

Molino said it's really been a collaborative effort to develop the new program.

"Developing this over the past few months has been a good opportunity for everybody and hopefully there will be more opportunities where the city, the BDC and the EDC can partner and take advantage of some of the development that's happening throughout the county and really help redevelop and improve some parts of the city," Molino said.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 11:14 pm

ABO report contains data on GCEDC's work and staff compensation

post by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC

The Authorities Budget Office has released an annual report, along with several spreadsheets, that contain a range of data about the state's multitude of public authorities, including industrial development agencies, such as the Genesee County Economic Development Center.

Here's what the report shares about GCEDC:

  • Total staff compensation for GCEDC's 12 employees was $772,360 in 2012, the third highest in the state behind Erie County, with 19 employees at $1.2 million and Yonkers with 20 employees at $1.14 million. Yonkers and Erie also have the largest staff of IDAs in the state, followed by Genesee and Jefferson with 12 apiece.
  • Eighteen authorities in the state paid performance bonuses in 2012, but only three were IDAs, and only GCEDC among IDAs paid bonuses in excess of $10,000. In all, six employees received bonuses of $10,000 or higher, including Steve Hyde, whose bonus of $142,000 put his total compensation for the year at $312,388.
  • The 51 other authority employees in the state that received performance bonuses in excess of $10,000 all work for health care agencies, such as the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and pulled in total compensation packages two and three times Hyde's compensation. The president and CEO of the Westchester County Health Care Corporation was paid $1.4 million in total compensation.
  • GCEDC has 11 projects that were approved in 2008 with total tax exemptions awarded of $2 million. Those projects were supposed to create 66 new jobs. There were actually only 14 jobs created, according to the ABO report. That's far from the worst performance in the state, however. The Albany IDA's projects came up 2,138 jobs short on promises and 14 other IDAs had greater deficits than GCEDC's projects.
  • In the list of new IDA projects for 2012, GCEDC ranks third with 13. Topping the list is Monroe County's IDA with 33 followed by New York City with 16.
  • On the same list, GCEDC is third in total net exemptions, having awarded  $3.6 million, behind Jefferson County with $5.34 million on six projects and Westchester County with $4.2 million on 11 projects. Monroe's 33 projects received $2 million in exemptions and NYC's $1.5 million.
  • Those 13 projects for GCEDC are expected to net 341 new FTE positions, which is the seventh highest projection in the state. NYC is number one with 1,409 estimated FTEs followed by Monroe County with 501.
  • Jobs created by IDA-funded projects are a self-reported number from the employer to the sponsoring IDA. As the sponsoring IDA, GCEDC reported 244 jobs created for its 2012 projects, which is 137 new FTE positions that didn't exist before the projects were approved, but still 97 fewer jobs than promised by the projects.
  • Those 137 additional jobs are enough to place GCEDC fourth in the state for IDAs creating jobs from approved projects. Tops is Monroe County with 1,369 new jobs, followed by NYC, 206, and Syracuse, 198.
  • Erie County actually lost 56 jobs on its 10 projects that received $1.18 million in exemptions.
  • Orleans County had one project in 2012 that received $3,000 in exemptions that promised three new jobs and three new jobs were created.  
  • The Genesee Gateway LDC gave out $5.8 million in loans for projects expected to create 244 jobs with 99 FTEs positions reportedly created in 2012. That's $58,435 of loan money per new FTE position, 10th on the list for highest loan amount per job. Topping the list is Washington County LDC, which gave out 33 loans totaling $3.4 million and had two FTEs created for an average of $1.7 million per job. At the other end of the scale, Livingston County gave out 16 loans totaling $1.1 million and those projects created 243 positions, for an average of $4,501 loaned per job.
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