Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Presents Progress Update to Strategic Implementation Assessment Team
The New York State Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT) today met with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) in Rochester and toured several priority projects to see first-hand the progress the Council has made implementing its five-year strategic plan for the Finger Lakes region. Today’s visit begins the SIAT team’s review of all 10 REDC’s regional economic development plans, progress reports, and job creation and community development projects.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, statewide chair of the Regional Councils said, “Throughout the first four rounds of the REDC initiative, the Finger Lakes REDC has taken full advantage of its unique assets while focusing on the most important needs of its communities and residents. The Regional Councils across the state and in the Finger Lakes have fostered successful projects by staying true to each regional strategy, zeroing in on what matters most locally, and backing projects that are designed to have a positive impact on the regional economy. Thanks to the Governor’s vision for economic development, we are seeing a revitalized Finger Lakes region that is generating not only jobs, but a greater sense of pride for the region.”
"Governor Cuomo's economic development efforts are helping to create jobs and economic investment across the region," said New York Secretary of State, Cesar A. Perales, chair of the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team. “Today's tours provide our team a unique opportunity to engage local business and community leaders and to highlight the successes that have been achieved as a result of their hard work. We look forward to getting a first-hand look at the progress that has been made as the regions prepare work for the next round of the competition.”
Earlier today, the FLREDC provided a formal presentation to the SIAT at the Wegmans Conference Center, outlining its progress, achievements and funded priority projects from the Regional Council competition.
The Council’s progress report and full list of 2014 endorsed priority projects is available at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/finger-lakes.
“Today, the state assessment team got a good look at some of the projects we have supported that are truly making a difference for our region,” said FLREDC Co-chairs Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester and Danny Wegman, CEO of Wegmans Food Markets. “There is substantial progress being made on projects that are enhancing workforce development, advancing redevelopment efforts in urban and rural communities, enabling agribusinesses to expand to meet the growing demand for their products, strengthening academic and industry partnerships, and accelerating the creation and revitalization of key industrial sites. It is abundantly clear from the tour – as it moved from the Sibley’s building to CityGate and by the impressive College Town development – that the Finger Lakes region’s transformation is well under way thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership and the hard work of our Regional Council.”
SIAT team members, including Secretary of State Cesar Perales, Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll, Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone, and Director of Upstate Development Economic Development Richard Tobe, toured and heard presentations at the following FLREDC project sites:
LiDestri Foods Innovation Center
LiDestri Foods Innovation Center is a new $6.2 million state-of-the-art high-pressure food processing user facility, located at Eastman Business Park in Rochester, which enables companies to extend the life of their products and meet the growing demands of customers that prefer to limit the use of artificial preservatives. This facility, which is the only one of its kind in New York State, will create 29 manufacturing jobs and build upon Governor Cuomo’s commitment to New York’s agriculture economy. The equipment will be available for use by other food and beverage manufacturers and the company plans to partner with local universities to develop new applications for this technology, including packaging techniques. Wegmans, which is currently using an out-of-state high-pressure processing facility, will transition its business to the new Rochester facility. The project was awarded $468,300 in Round IV of the REDC process.
The Sibley Building
The Sibley Building in downtown Rochester is in the midst of a $200 million comprehensive restoration. The project will transform the largest building in Monroe County into a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments, office and retail space, an outdoor roof terrace, an urban farmers market and underground parking. The project is a major component of Rochester’s downtown revitalization plan and will attract residents, jobs and investment to the city’s center. The building is within a 15-minute walk of the entire downtown core and the thriving East End district, and it is directly adjacent to the region’s new transit center. The initial phases of The Sibley Building’s large-scale redevelopment are projected to create more than 900 jobs. Additionally, it will soon be home to the Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative, creating the cornerstone component of the newly designated Downtown Innovation Zone. It is estimated that the Business Accelerator will create more than 1,000 new jobs – in the form of new business creation or expansion – in the first five years of operation.
The FLREDC secured $3.5 million for the redevelopment of the Sibley Building during Rounds III and IV, and High Tech Rochester’s Business Accelerator, which received $5 million in Round IV, has reached a deal with The Sibley Building’s developer, WinnDevelopment, to locate on the top floor of the building. The creation of a $24 million incubation and business support facility in downtown Rochester will drive regional growth in entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as help accelerate the revitalization of the city by creating an “innovation district” in the heart of Rochester.
Boys and Girls Club
New programs that target at-risk students in order to prepare them for academic success and job opportunities, and provide underserved communities with affordable childcare, will enhance the region’s Opportunity Agenda plan. These include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rochester, Hillside Work Scholarship Connection project and the Stepping Stones Learning Center’s new Child Care facility. The Boys and Girls Club’s building will expand its space from approximately 18,000 square feet to 27,000 and, by the end of 2015, a second computer lab is expected, as well as a performing arts space, a skylight, a new playground, weight room and bathrooms, new windows, and expansions to the kitchen.
The College Town project is a comprehensive plan to redevelop 16 acres in the City of Rochester into a vibrant neighborhood consisting of mixed-use development that will serve as a gateway to the City and the University of Rochester. The project is the culmination of years of community planning and is expected to create 900 construction jobs along with 320 permanent jobs. The first tenants of the $100 million shopping, dining, business and residential district are currently open for business.
College Town, was a 2012 FLREDC Priority Project and, as a result, awarded $4 million through the Regional Council process. In addition to 500,000 square feet of shopping and dining, College Town features the Mount Hope Lofts apartments, a five-story, 136-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel and conference center, a 1,500-space parking garage, and 50,000 square feet of Class A office space.
At over $250 million, CityGate is the largest of several transformative projects underway in the City of Rochester. The mixed-use project has secured Costco as the anchor store, will include a 150-room hotel, 300-unit apartment complex, and additional retail and office space. Remaining construction is underway, including on a 500-car parking garage, an avenue of shops, and 300 apartments catering to young professionals. The first residents should move in late this year or early 2016. According to the project’s developer, once fully built and occupied, CityGate has the potential to generate almost $29 million in sales tax revenue and create up to 2,500 jobs.
The I-390 Corridor Project is the largest infrastructure project in the region. The first two phases are well under way and have already improved access to the area surrounding the University of Rochester, allowing for considerable planned growth at the campus and its medical center. The project will support thousands of jobs, not only in construction, but also in expected growth at the University of Rochester and other businesses that will benefit from this project. Funding has been secured to build the final phases of the I-390 Southern Corridor transportation improvement projects in the area of East Henrietta Road and West Henrietta Road in the town of Brighton and city of Rochester, Monroe County.
- The first phase of the project began in the fall of 2012 and completed in the fall of 2013. Work as part of the $8.2 million phase included:
- Construction of a modern roundabout at Kendrick Road and East River Road to replace the existing signalized intersection;
- Improvement of access to I-390 southbound through the construction of a new entrance ramp from E. River Road;
- Reconstruction and relocation of the existing off-ramp from I-390 southbound to E. River Road; and
- Construction of a new auxiliary lane at the divergence of I-390 southbound and I-590 northbound near Route 15A in the town of Brighton.
In the first four rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Finger Lakes region secured $305 million in state support for 366 projects across the region. Based upon published guidelines (available in the 2014 Guidebook), the SIAT will review and assess each region’s progress as it relates to their accomplishments in the following categories:
- Keep the project pipeline flowing;
- Select “Innovation Hot Spots” to facilitate tech transfer;
- Develop an Opportunity Agenda to revitalize distressed communities and address barriers to entry into the workforce for people living in areas of concentrated poverty;
- Assure the workforce is being trained for today and tomorrow;
- Engage local government officials in reshaping the regional business climate;
- Create interregional collaborations around shared resources and opportunities;
- Advance regional Cleaner, Greener Communities sustainability plans; and
- Measure performance.
Two Ways to Submit Ideas to the FLREDC The FLREDC encourages businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders to submit ideas for consideration in one of two ways online:
- Strategic planning ideas via the new FLREDC URI Public Input Form at: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/flredc-uri-public-input-form; and
- Specific project ideas via the new Priority Project Request Form at: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/genericcfa/finger-lakes-priority-project-request-form.
NOTE: The new Priority Project Request Form is an optional submission that replaces the former FLREDC Letter of Interest to help engage with FLREDC stakeholders and workgroups. An official Consolidated Funding Application (see below) must still be submitted to be considered for State funding.
It is highly recommended that interested applicants review the goals, strategies and criteria for projects in the FLREDC Strategic Plan prior to submitting ideas. This document is available at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/finger-lakes.
About the Regional Economic Development Councils
The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans to strengthen and grow their regional economies. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. After four rounds of the REDC process, nearly $3 billion has been awarded to more than 3,100 projects consistent with each region’s Strategic Plan and are projected to result in the creation or retention of more than 150,000 jobs. For more information on the Regional Councils, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.