Empire State Development approves $19 million to fund projects generating economic opportunity across New York
The Empire State Development board of directors met in New York City and approved $19 million in funding for nine projects that are spurring economic growth and opportunity in New York.
The board approved the following "Buffalo Billion" initiative grant:
•Robert Moses Parkway South segment: Riverway Project - (Western New York Region - Niagara County) - $10,000,000
The New York State Department of Transportation, on behalf of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, will use a grant of up to $10 million for an infrastructure improvement project that includes road reconstruction on a portion of the Robert Moses Parkway South and the adjoining areas. The project is part of the "Buffalo Billion" initiative to enhance the development of downtown Niagara Falls and is a demonstration of the state's commitment to revitalize the tourism economy of Western New York, which is a focus of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. As a result, the WNYREDC strategic plan outlined measures to enhance and grow Niagara Falls tourism, including re-establishing waterfront access in the city.
The project involves reconfiguration of a one-mile segment of the RMP to create an at-grade, landscaped roadway, including replacement of a grade-separated interchange at John B. Daly Boulevard with a modern roundabout to create a more fitting gateway experience into Niagara Falls State Park and downtown Niagara Falls; removal of the elevated embankment to open views and access to the upper Niagara River and rapids; and implementation of a full landscaping and access plan with native vegetation, scenic overlooks and multi-purpose trail facilities.
The project will construct an access system that is "right-sized" to accommodate all modes of travel; eliminate underutilized and/or redundant roadway facilities; and restore native habitats along the riverfront.
The economic impact of the project will be significant as it will directly support and facilitate at least four mixed-use lodging/retail projects in the adjoining Buffalo Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard corridors, representing more than 450 hotel rooms and nearly $50 million in new investment.
Additionally, according to the City of Niagara Falls waterfront master plan, which this project will help bring to fruition, projected long-term economic benefits include: a net increase in demand for more than 1 million new hotel room nights; net annual increase in retail/non-retail spending of $336 million; new retail, lodging and travel-related employment totaling more than 2,800 jobs; and more than $14 million in annual state tax revenues.
In total, these 19 targeted investments will leverage more than $136 million in private and other public funding to support small businesses, community and downtown revitalization, regional tourism, and projects that are building a foundation for future economic growth and job creation.
The projects will directly create nearly 120 new jobs and retain more than 380 existing New York jobs.
"The state's formula for growing jobs and the economy is working: Gov. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils have made smart suggestions, and ESD is taking action to support key projects across the state that are creating economic and employment opportunities for New Yorkers," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "The funds approved by the board are supporting expanding businesses, infrastructure improvements and helping to revitalize communities from Buffalo to Brooklyn, and are proving to be critical investments in our efforts to strengthen and grow our economy."
The board approved the following Regional Council award grants:
•COR Development Co. - (Central New York Region - Onondaga County) - $3,600,000
•City of White Plains - (Mid-Hudson Region - Westchester County) - $2,000,000
•Medcare Administrators LLC - (Mohawk Valley Region - Oneida County) - $200,000
•Adirondack Historical Association - (North Country Region - Hamilton County) - $130,000
•Mohawk Valley STEM Opportunities Program - (Mohawk Valley Region - Oneida County) - $90,000
The board approved the following New York Works capital grant:
•Rosina Food Products Inc. - (Western New York Region - Erie County) - $1,500,000
Rosina Food Products Inc., a manufacturer of frozen foods including pre-cooked meatballs, Italian sausages, filled pasta, eggplant cutlets, entrees and pizza toppings, will use a grant of up to $1.5 million for a portion of the cost of building construction and renovations as well as to purchase new machinery and equipment. The project involves upgrades to its pasta, entrée and protein manufacturing facilities.
The renovations are needed so that Rosina can obtain British Retail Consortium certification, a global food safety initiative required to maintain current larger customers. In addition, the company will expand to return its research and development activities to Western New York; the operation was previously outsourced to Chicago.
Rosina was founded in 1963, originally manufacturing sausage products sold to neighborhood meat markets, supermarkets and restaurants, from a single Buffalo storefront location. The privately held, wholly- and family-owned company now maintains five locations in Western New York, as well as an international division in Cheektowaga; and employs several hundred New Yorkers.
This expansion and improvement project is consistent with the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's strategic plan, as it builds upon the region's advanced manufacturing strengths. When complete, the project will retain 345 existing jobs. Rosina has already created the 25 new jobs to which it has committed, as well as achieved BRC certification. Without ESD assistance, 150 of Rosina's 345 employees would have been relocated out of New York.
The board approved the following urban and community development program grant:
•New York eHealth Collaborative - (New York City Region - New York County) - $250,000
•The board approved the following downtown revitalization fund loan:
•Sims Municipal Recycling of New York LLC - (New York City Region - Kings County) - $1,500,000
The next meeting of the board of directors will be in November.