Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than $168 million in Buffalo Billion initiative funding has been approved for three projects that will create nearly 2,000 new jobs and spur further investment and economic growth across Western New York. The funding was approved earlier today by the Empire State Development’s (ESD) Board of Directors. This funding will also leverage more than $1.7 billion in additional private investment from companies entering the market, while supporting future business growth and investment for Buffalo and Western New York. 

“The Buffalo Billion is continuing to change the economic landscape of Western New York by bringing back jobs and businesses to Buffalo,” Governor Cuomo said. “From supporting local manufacturing industries to advancing our medical and bioengineering fields, these projects will help create and retain nearly 2,000 jobs. By making these strategic investments to leverage the region’s assets, we are attracting cutting-edge businesses and bringing more good-paying, sustainable jobs to Western New York,”

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the State is making smart investments and supporting innovative projects in up-and-coming industries. Western New York is embracing economic growth by focusing on the life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “Over the last three years, we have seen many companies grow and create new jobs in New York and thanks to our support and more and more businesses discover that there is no better place to do business than the Empire State.” 

The Board approved funding for the following Buffalo Billion Initiatives: 

Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing and Innovation Hub @ RiverBend –Buffalo Billion Initiative (Western New York Region – Erie County) – $118,000,000

The Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing and Innovation Hub (the “BHTMI Hub”), a $1.7 billion public and private-sector partnership to convert a vacant former manufacturing site into a state-of-the-art hub campus for high-tech and green energy manufacturing businesses, will use a grant of up to $118 million to be used as reimbursement for design and planning costs and new machinery and equipment. This is part of a larger commitment of $225 million by the State for the project.

RiverBend, which will be strategically located in a newly-developed “smart growth” urban commerce park with multi-modal transportation opportunities, will serve as a building block of continued growth in advanced manufacturing, which is a primary focus of the WNY REDC. Initially, two California-based clean energy companies, Soraa and Silevo, will serve as the anchor tenants in the newly-constructed RiverBend complex by relocating major parts of their respective operations to Buffalo. It is expected that once fully constructed, RiverBend will house multiple industry-related companies. The $118 million award will reimburse Fort Schuyler Management Company (FSMC) for planning/design costs and machinery and equipment acquisition. The remaining $107 million will reimburse FSMC with the real estate acquisition, site and infrastructure development, and facility construction. The balance of $107 million will be presented for consideration by the ESD Directors at a later time. 

While Soraa and Silevo will be the anchor tenants, establishing operations in the initial 280,000-square-foot facility, it is expected that RiverBend will consist of at least six new structures which will be constructed over time to accommodate approximately 1,200 new manufacturing jobs in the field of biotech, high tech and green energy. 

The initial phase of the project is projected to create 850 new jobs, and establish Buffalo as a nexus for advanced research and manufacturing for clean energy technologies and attract businesses from around the world. The RiverBend project will promote smart growth by transforming a vacant manufacturing site in a distressed area that was previously owned by Republic Steel into a vibrant hub of technology. Additionally, the project will spur adjacent private-sector investment for consumables, amenities, and services, increase demand for housing, and attract and retain people to the WNY Region by providing highly-skilled and unskilled employment options. 

Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub – (Western New York Region – Erie County) – $50,000,000

The Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub (the “BMIC Hub”), a $250 million shared pharmaceutical research and development facility ,will use a grant of up to $50 million to support drug screening, pharmaceutical development, technology optimization, business attraction, workforce training, and bioinformatics operation research, development and technology. 

The project involves a partnership between Fort Schuyler Management Company, College of Nano Science and Engineering, Albany Molecular Research Inc. and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. BMIC is housed on the Campus, which is a 120-acre healthcare complex providing research, analytical and clinical service to more than one million patients and visitors annually in collaboration with its member institutions. 

The $50 million award will be used for the facility acquisition, renovation and mechanical and equipment costs.

The project will create 250 jobs. 

Edison Welding Institute, Inc. (EWI” of the “Institute”) – Buffalo Billion initiative (Western New York Region – Erie County) – $800,000

Edison Welding Institute, Inc. (“EWI” or the “Institute”), operator of a new state-of-the-art center aimed at spurring transformative growth in the high-tech advanced manufacturing sector by providing applied engineering services, will use a grant of $800,000 for reimbursement for start-up activities including personnel, marketing, interim location base/operating costs, and finalizing partnership agreements necessary to establish a sustainable Buffalo-Niagara Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Competitiveness (“BNIAMC”). A grant of $45 million will go to the Board at a later date, today’s approval covers the initial startup funding for this year. Operator EWI, a non-profit engineering services R&D company that will provide services and support to help local industry develop more efficient operational processes –facilitating entry into new markets.

An investment of $45 million from the Buffalo Billion will be used to provide machinery, equipment and future facility needs and operations. The institute’s target is to generate more than $6 million in annual revenues by year five and create or retain 841 manufacturing jobs in the region in that same span.

The University at Buffalo will be a partner with EWI on the institute. With strong research programs in fields from materials science to advanced computing, UB will play an integral role in helping companies to develop new manufacturing methods, innovative new materials and new testing technologies.

The center will allow companies an affordable way to tap into resources to test and develop technologies and improve their processes.

The Institute’s technology focus areas are: flexible automation and controls, advanced materials and testing, additive manufacturing and advanced manufacturing with technical capabilities being built in phases driven by industry demand for technology services in each area.

EWI expects to employ about 30 to 35 employees at the institute within five years at its 847 Main Street location, near the Buffalo Niagara medical Campus.

About the Buffalo Investment Strategy 

With Governor Cuomo’s commitment to invest $1 billion in the Buffalo area economy, which is designed to spur significantly greater private investment and create thousands of new, sustainable jobs, New York State is helping the Buffalo area to realize immediate economic growth to put “generation now” back to work while setting the foundation for sustainable economic opportunity for future generations. 

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) – a top economic development plan award winner – will play a key role in how the funding is used to support the expansion of local companies and how to target the attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe to come to Buffalo. Those businesses will likely be related in some manner to the cluster industries identified by the WNYREDC in its strategic plan, which include, advanced manufacturing, agricultural/food processing, bi national logistics and distribution, energy, life sciences/medical devices, professional services. 

To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit www.thenewny.com