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Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Awarded $83.9 Million for 125 Projects

Projects that will move forward as a result of Round Five of the Regional Council initiative include Biorefinery and Development Commercialization Center, Historic East Village Revitalization and Riviera Theatre expansion
(December 11, 2015)

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Awarded $83.9 Million for 125 Projects

As part of Round Five of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) was awarded $83.9 million for 125 projects that build on the region’s assets to invest in the future. The announcement, which supports projects in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, was made Thursday in Albany. In the first five rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region has been awarded $356.4 million in state support for 429 projects across the region. This substantial award is more than last year’s $58.6 million in REDC funds awarded to Western New York.

“We’re tremendously pleased with this new funding for projects that are bringing our regional economic development strategy to fruition,” said Jeff Belt, CEO of SolEpoxy and Regional Council Co-chair. “I couldn’t be more proud of our region’s many project leaders who are implementing our strategy and accelerating our turnaround. All the arrows are pointing up and we’re just getting started!”

“The REDC funding awarded today is a significant investment to help our communities continue to thrive with the transformative momentum spreading across Western New York,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “With additional funding through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council coming to Western New York, we can build even further on that momentum, for the benefit of our region now and for years to come.”

The Western New York region’s 2011 strategic plan, “A Strategy for Prosperity,” leverages the region’s strategic advantages in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health & life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan focuses on economic enablers that promote smart growth, prepare the workforce and foster a culture of entrepreneurship. The following Western New York projects are highlights of priority projects awarded funding in Round Five:

Allegany County

  • $1.5 million to Alfred State College for Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center Phase 2. This project is a collaboration among Alfred State College, SUNY College of Environmental Forestry (SUNY ESF) and Applied Biorefinery Sciences LLC that will create a multi-functional shared facility to enable private firms to scale the production of bio renewable materials and sustainable energy from lab-bench to commercial volumes using a Hot Water Extraction process developed at SUNY ESF.

Chautauqua County

  • $1,653,000 to Chautauqua Harbor Hotel LLC for the development of a destination hotel in Celeron on Chautauqua Lake. The project aims to create new jobs and increase tourism traffic for the area that will fuel local business and the development and beautification of abandoned land. Plans call for a full service hotel with approximately 100 guest rooms, restaurant, bar, conference space, grand ballroom and business center.
  • $200,000 to Chautauqua County for the South County Industrial Park. The county will to acquire 66-plus acres of land to expand the park, which is currently at capacity, and develop a shovel-ready site that can be marketed and developed into two or three buildings, with necessary parking and other site amenities.

Cattaraugus County

  • $160,000 to City of Olean for the North 3rd Street Reconstruction Project. The City of Olean will restore the 200 block of North 3rd Street into a “complete street,” including new sidewalks, granite curbing and new street trees, paving the way for additional private investments.
  • $980,000 to Jamestown Community College for the expansion of its Manufacturing Technology Institute on JCC’s Jamestown and Cattaraugus County campuses. The new institute will help JCC expand its advanced manufacturing courses currently offered only at JCC’s main campus in Jamestown by providing additional classroom equipment and technology infrastructure for both the Olean and Jamestown campuses.

Erie County

  • $50,000 to Friends of Corpus Christi for Historic East Village Revitalization Phase 1. The Friends of Corpus Christi will complete a master plan for the Historic East Village Revitalization Initiative, an initiative that will transform the Corpus Christi campus, consisting of five buildings spread over a three-block area, including an urban green space. The Friends of Corpus Christi envision providing community facilities for workforce development opportunities, recreation, office space for community agencies and professionals, urban green space and green infrastructure, lodging and cultural/historic tourism at the site.
  • $2 million to Gates Circle Holdings LLC for construction of the Lancaster Extension and Lafayette Connector, installation of underground utilities. Construction of an approximately 225,000 square feet mixed-use building, and completion of repairs to the parking garage as part of the mixed-use redevelopment of the former Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital site in Buffalo.
  • $385,000 to Massachusetts Avenue Project for The Farmhouse Community Food Training and Resource Center. MAP will construct a 11,413 square foot, multi-use, community food hub that will house a commercial teaching kitchen, a training space and library, increased cold and dry food storage, CSA distribution space, office space and one unit of affordable housing that will promote economic growth in our region’s agriculture and food systems by providing jobs, job training and resources to the next generation interested in careers in food related fields.

Niagara County

  • $500,000 to City of Niagara Falls for the Highland Avenue Business Park Phase 1. The City of Niagara Falls will transform a New York State designated Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) priority brownfield site in the Highland Avenue Corridor into a prosperous, economically diverse location capable of attracting new investment and employment opportunities by stabilizing and upgrading existing buildings, remediation of the land, acquiring strategic properties and developing a marketing package to attract businesses and developers.
  • $200,000 to the Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society, Inc. to expand the Riviera Theatre by adding 23,00 square feet of space providing the venue with ability to increase the number and type of events it offers, as well as positively influencing its impact on the downtown area.

The full list of 2015 Regional Economic Development Council awards can be found at:

In the first five rounds of the Regional Council initiative, the Western New York region was awarded $356.4 million in state support for 429 projects across the region. In just the last year, the WNYREDC also recommended that Empire State Development (ESD) award $17.7 million in grants and Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to 25 different companies that are expected to leverage $162 million in private sector investment and lead to the creation/retention of more than 3,500 jobs. This is in addition to the great strides being made in Western New York through the Buffalo Billion.

A centerpiece of the Governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were established in 2011 to transform the State's approach to economic development from a top-down model to one that is community-based and performance-driven. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of New York State, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region’s unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs, improve quality of life and grow the economy.

During Round Five, members from the 10 Regional Councils traveled to Albany to make in-person presentations of their proposals to the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team. Over the course of three days, the SIAT, which is composed of State officials and outside economic development experts, heard from each of the Regional Councils directly, reviewed the progress being made on projects that have previously received state funding, and assessed the regions’ strategic plan implementations and proposals for funding in 2015.

To learn more about the WNYREDC, visit