Governor Andrew M. Cuomo continued a statewide Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Progress tour in Buffalo and Niagara Falls where he was briefed on Western New York projects to understand their progress and their economic impact in the region.

This is the eighth visit in the Governor’s REDC Progress Tour that is part of a review of last year’s strategic economic development plans and job-creating projects. Following the Buffalo Billion presentation and briefing of regional projects, the Western New York REDC provided a formal presentation outlining the progress it has made in advancing last year’s strategic plans and projects, as well as their endorsed projects for the coming year to the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team at the Conference and Events Center Niagara Falls.

Governor Cuomo also announced that New York will invest $50 million in state of the art biomedical research equipment and has secured an agreement from a private company, Albany Molecular Research Inc (AMRI), to locate in Western New York at Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BMNC) a new drug discovery research and development center. This investment will leverage $200 million in private investments and create 250 jobs.

“New York no longer has a one size fits all approach to economic development, and now we are seeing the benefits of this new way of thinking throughout the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “As you can see in Western New York, the regional council has developed a plan that fits its region best and that plan is creating jobs, growing the economy and transforming neighborhoods.” 

“Our Western New York Regional Economic Development Council has created a plan that is focused on a strategic, collaborative, creative and forward thinking approach,” said Satish K. Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of the University at Buffalo. “We are proud to welcome the Governor to Western New York today to learn more about the progress we are making as we work together to advance common priorities for change in our region.” 

“The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is proud to have Governor Cuomo join us today to learn about the progress we have made since being designated a best plan awardee,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group. “All the projects we reviewed today are in response to the Governor’s challenge to chart a fresh course for sustained economic growth in New York State and were driven by our council’s strategy to create a more dynamic economy for our region and all its citizens.”

The Governor was briefed on the following WNYREDC projects: 

The Jacobs Institute

The Jacobs Institute was awarded $4 million for the construction of a medical device prototyping and research facility. The project will result in the creation of 20 new jobs, and will help leverage an estimated $12 million in private sector investment. The construction of the Jacobs Institute facility is on schedule as the non-profit continues to build partners with businesses like Toshiba. 

Hebeler Corporation

Hebeler Corporation was awarded $1.25 million in Excelsior tax credits to expand its production of liquid natural gas fuel tanks for medium and heavy duty trucks due to increased market demand. This project strengthens the region’s advanced manufacturing sector and collaborates with another CFA funded project, the Dream It Do It Western New York initiative, to enhance workforce development and training opportunities offered to local high school and college students. The project will result in the retention of 129 jobs and creation of 55 new jobs, and will help leverage $3.65 million in private sector investment. 

Niagara County Community College Culinary Institute

Niagara County Community College (NCCC) was awarded $2 million to renovate nearly 90,000 square feet of the former Rainbow Centre for the Culinary Institute. The project will result in the creation of 30 new jobs, and will help leverage $24.6 million in private sector investment. In addition, creating a new downtown population cluster in the City of Niagara Falls will benefit the region’s tourism profile and economy. NCCC held a ribbon cutting in September and is now training students for employment in the growing field of hospitality and leisure. At the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center earlier in the day, the WNYREDC presented its plan for Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented commitment of $1 billion to Buffalo. Bruce Katz, Vice President of the Brookings Institution, and his colleagues have worked with a group of local institutions—the WNYREDC, University at Buffalo’s Regional Institute, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise and Empire State Development, among others—to assess the region’s market position, identify distinctive assets and advantages, and lay out a series of investment options in light of the best innovations underway in the U.S. and around the world. Then a private consultant was hired to provide greater specificity on strategic investments that are likely to have high return, create jobs in the near term, and retool Buffalo’s economy for the long haul. 

· Buffalo Niagara Tourism Program: a regional tourism program to leverage the world-class tourism assets in Niagara Falls and the City of Buffalo through a more coordinated and sophisticated marketing strategy; investments and increased programming in the Niagara State Park; investments in other regional tourism assets and amenities; and the creation of regional offerings.· Buffalo Center for Manufacturing Innovation: a state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of the region’s manufacturing sector. It will be a shared services enterprise that provides support in commercializing applied research, developing more efficient operational processes, enabling entry into new markets, and up-skilling the existing workforce.· The Buffalo Science Productivity and Research Catalyzer (SPaRC): to help bring breakthrough healthcare innovations to market. The Accelerator supports researchers in developing translational research, acquiring patents, and then licensing those patents or developing them into businesses.· The Buffalo Skills Partnership: a skills broker with initial investments in Rapid Right Skilling and Say Yes. The partnership will make Buffalo’s workforce system the most flexible, diverse and responsive in the nation by aligning education and training behind the skills employers need to expand and workers need for job success.· Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge: a world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will receive initial funding, incubator space, mentorship and introductions to leading venture capital firms· Better Buffalo Fund: to make targeted investments through a dedicated fund to support high impact economic and community development projects. A competition will determine the best investments, based on overall strategic fit, impact, proven capacity for execution and commitment of additional funds.

About the Regional Council Initiative

In the first round of the Regional Council Initiative, the Western New York region was awarded $100.3 million in state resources through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process to support 96 projects. Currently, 96 percent are moving forward. Once completed, the projects awarded funding in the Western New York region through the 2011 CFA will significantly boost the local economy by supporting the creation and retention of more than 8,000 jobs and leveraging more than $525 million in additional private sector and other investment.

“Governor Cuomo created Regional Councils to serve as the new approach our state needs to create new jobs and economic opportunities,” said Lieutenant Governor Duffy. “Today is an exciting opportunity for an open discussion of the incredible progress Regional Councils are making in Western New York and across the state, as well the steps we are taking to build on that success for the coming year.”

“Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative is taking New York from a state known as frustrater of business growth to a facilitator of new business and private sector job development,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “Through its first year, we have seen job-creating projects in Western New York and across the state start to take shape and pay dividends in new jobs and economic activity to boost our local economies.”

The Council’s progress report and full list of endorsed priority projects for 2012 can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.

To learn more about each Regional Council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.