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Gov. Cuomo: New York state to build high-tech manufacturing complex in Buffalo

by jmaloni


Thu, Nov 21st 2013 11:45 pm

$225 million state investment leverages $1.5 billion in private investments

Single greatest investment of governor's Buffalo Billion and one of the state's most significant investments ever in Buffalo to create 850 permanent jobs and at least 500 construction jobs

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, as part of his Buffalo Billion initiative, New York state will build a state-of-the-art anchor hub facility for high tech and green energy businesses at RiverBend in the City of Buffalo. Two companies at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, Soraa and Silevo, will collectively invest $1.5 billion into the project and relocate major parts of their operations to the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend from California, creating 850 permanent jobs and at least 500 construction jobs and attracting additional manufacturing companies to the site. RiverBend, formerly Republic Steel, is a 90-acre site that is ready for development.

"Under the largest investment in our Buffalo Billion initiative, we are building a state-of-the-art campus to house high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies that will create hundreds of jobs and leverage over a billion dollars in private investment for Western New York," Cuomo said. "Today, two of the world's most renowned high-tech companies are choosing Buffalo to call home - an affirmation that Buffalo is on the move. This project marks a giant step forward in our Buffalo Billion strategy, transforming a once-vacant property into a development ready site that will create good-paying permanent jobs, make Buffalo an international hub for innovation, and attract more businesses from around the world."

Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, senior vice president and CEO of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, said, "With this announcement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it clear once again that New York state sets the gold standard for the innovation-driven economic development model of the 21st century. The launch of the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend, fueled by the attraction of Silevo and Soraa and the promise of additional corporate partners in the future, further builds the governor's high-tech Erie Canal and positions Western New York as a nexus for advanced research and manufacturing for clean energy technologies."

Soraa is a California-based manufacturer of green LED lighting with the highest efficiency on the market. The company will relocate its corporate R&D and manufacturing operations to RiverBend, investing $750 million and creating 375 jobs. Silevo is a California-based company that develops and manufactures silicon solar cells and modules, with an already established manufacturing plant in China. Phase 1 of Silevo's project, with a $750 million investment, which will create at least 475 jobs, involves a 200-megawatt production facility, establishing its sole North American manufacturing operations at RiverBend.

New York state will invest $225 million in Empire State Development capital to establish infrastructure at the site, including water, sewer, utility and roads; construct 275,000 square feet of facilities for Soraa and Silevo; and purchase and own equipment. Neither company is receiving direct funding from the state's $225 million investment. Additional facilities will be built over time to accommodate new manufacturing companies operating in the field of biotech, high tech and green energy. The facilities and equipment will be owned by the State University of New York Research Foundation. SUNY Buffalo will also benefit from the partnership and contribute to the project's future growth.

A video from today's announcement is available here.

Zheng Xu, CEO and founder of Silevo, said, "Inspired by the bold leadership and demonstrated commitment of Gov. Cuomo, and buoyed by the strong regional infrastructure and highly skilled workforce present in Western New York, Silevo is excited to bring its next phase of high-volume manufacturing operations to the United States with our new location in Buffalo. Working closely with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, we look forward to accelerating innovative and cost-effective solar module technology that will position both Silevo and New York as leaders in driving the next wave of solar adoption in homes and business nationwide."

Dr. Tom Caulfield, president and COO of Soraa, said, "Soraa's proprietary GaN on GaN LED technology has allowed us to make ordinary lighting extraordinarily vibrant, brilliant and efficient - in other words, simply perfect. Our GaN on GaN LED bulbs are now widely regarded as the best in the world. Whites look whiter, colors are natural and more saturated, and shadows are crisp and clean. We chose Buffalo as the best location for our new fabrication facility based on several factors, including the innovative high-tech vision and strategy of Gov. Cuomo; the ability to attract some of the best and brightest scientists and engineers in the world; and the capacity to tightly control the product quality and intellectual property around our LEDs through our partnership with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. With the new facility, our LED lighting capabilities will be refined and expanded, product innovation will accelerate, and light quality and functionality will continue to improve."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said, "It is vital that we attract innovative, new businesses to Western New York, and the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend will do just that and more. The jobs Soraa and Silevo are creating, as well as the private investment they are bringing to the Buffalo Niagara region, will go far to create a region that is admired worldwide and that will attract additional businesses and dynamic jobs. I applaud the governor on this exciting announcement."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Larkin Development Group Managing Partner Howard Zemsky said, "Advanced manufacturing is a focus of our Buffalo Billion investment development plan, and today's announcement is well aligned with our strategy. Gov. Cuomo's Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend will serve as a building block for continued growth and investment in next-generation advanced manufacturing jobs in Buffalo and Western New York."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "While we have known it for some time, the world is catching on to the idea that Erie County and all of Western New York are at the forefront of big, positive economic development. With the state's $225 million investment into RiverBend making it ready for development and these two dynamic advanced manufacturing nanotech companies set to call Buffalo home, we are truly at the start of a new economic turnaround. Buffalo's past glory was based on its technological innovation and, with today's announcement, as well as the promise of more high tech companies to come, innovation is once again leading the way for our entire community's rebirth."

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "I am proud of the strategic plan my administration put in place when we purchased 185-acres of brownfield land for development in 2008. With more than $2.2 billion in economic activity underway in Buffalo, jobs and private investment continue to bring new opportunities to city residents. Today's news about the Buffalo High Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend adds to the positive momentum. I thank Gov. Cuomo as well as Soraa and Silevo for creating this 21th century high tech hub."

Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, said, "This idea of manufacturing with atoms is difficult to comprehend, but you need to be able to think small to understand how big the benefits to our workforce and economy will be. RiverBend will fuel Buffalo's future with high-tech companies and the jobs they provide. This is Gov. Cuomo's vision for the Buffalo Billion initiative coming to life."

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise President Thomas A. Kucharski said, "Today's announcement is a tremendous boost for the entire Western New York economy and further proof that the manufacturing resurgence in our region, particularly advanced and clean manufacturing, is real. The Buffalo Niagara region has the sites, the workforce, the natural assets, and, under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, the state commitment to attract these one-of-a-kind opportunities that will drive our economic fortunes for decades to come."

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