Buffalo Niagara: Looking Back at 2015

Buffalo Niagara is a region on the rise. We are enjoying incredible new venues and amenities at locations like Canalside and Larkinville and Business First recently reported that Buffalo Niagara is the hottest construction market in the northeast according to latest employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Buffalo, is up 28.6% from 21,000 construction jobs in October 2010 to 27,000 jobs in October 2015.

For those stuck on the adage, you must see it to believe it, we certainly invite you to visit and see all we have to offer. But this year we’ve had the good fortune to have our region’s momentum and efforts recognized in leading publications. Here is a look back at just some of the national press received in 2015:

Millennials Are Moving To Buffalo & Living Like Kings   |  gothamist, January 28, 2015

“If moving to New York City is like dating the most popular kid in your high school only to discover ‘all the blemishes that aren’t visible when gazed upon from a distance,’ then Buffalonians will tell you that moving to their city is like dating the girl next door who’s undergoing a She’s All That-style transformation.”

“Starting a business, like paying rent or buying a drink is also less daunting in Buffalo.


Elon Musk’s Boldest Bet Yet: Buffalo NY, Solar Hub  |  YAHOO! Finance, June 29, 2015

“Henry Ford had River Rouge; Musk and SolarCity have a Buffalo solar panel manufacturing plant named Riverbend.”

“SolarCity’s plant is part of a construction push in the Nickel City unlike any in memory . . .”


Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Driving Buffalo Forward  |  The Huffington Post, June 11, 2015

“Buffalo is channeling its legacy of hard work – dating back to its heyday as a turn-of-the-twentieth-century giant – into a new push for entrepreneurial progress.”

“This concept of exacting change through entrepreneurism is what’s driving Buffalo forward. It’s a bold venture for a city to bet on bright ideas and put them into action. But it’s a critical step, with potentially high reward, in restoring the brightness to America’s City of Light.”

“A number of factors including [Buffalo’s] access to an international border, a strong labor force, and low operations cost are gaining attention.”


The Wind and Sun Are Bringing the Shine Back to Buffalo  |  The New York Times, July 20, 2015

“…the Queen City of the Lakes is suddenly experiencing something new: an economic turnaround, helped by the unlikely sector of renewable energy.”

“The effort has capitalized on the city’s unusual strengths in renewable energy — think Niagara Falls — and the infrastructure that was built to harness it.”

“One result of the investments is newly vibrant neighborhoods, many with reused buildings hosting apartments, shops and restaurants that have attracted young workers from other cities.”


Buffalo’s Tech Scene Reboots the City  |  USA TODAY, August 23, 2015

“…this western New York city of 261,000 is slowly transforming into an attractive destination for tech entrepreneurs.”

“…reasonable real estate prices, a thriving university system and medical research facility pumping out talented graduates, and its proximity to New York and Toronto to draw young entrepreneurs.”

“…the city of “Good Neighbors” is shedding its decades-old image, and in the process is drawing comparisons to Austin on steroids, brimming with funky culture and Art Deco architecture that can leave visitors slack jawed.”


Why Buffalo is Rising (Again), and Why It’s Only the Start |  Huffington Post, September 19, 2015

“The local economy’s current turnaround is happening because people of all ages, backgrounds, experiences, and areas of influence — sole proprietors and CEOs, state and local officials, artists and academics, economists and environmentalists — have come together to make it work.”

“…the greatest melding of vision, strategy, creativity, and cooperation that this city’s ever known…”

2015 was a good year for Buffalo Niagara but we are even more excited for what is to come. As Steve Case discussed when he visited during the Rise of the Rest Tour, now is the time to double down – and we are taking that challenge to heart.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing

Development Opportunities in Buffalo Niagara


Buffalo is a City on the Rise. The growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and significant development projects such as SolarCity and IBM are driving demand for new amenities and residential living.

Buffalo will add over 12,000 new employees by 2018, the vast majority of whom will locate downtown. The Central Business District’s 97% occupancy rate is driving Mayor Byron Brown’s goal of completing 2,000 residential housing units in the downtown area during this time frame. Close proximity to major employers, access to public transit, a vibrant restaurant scene and many entertainment offerings make downtown an attractive housing option.

To view development opportunities – including over 20 unique parcels ready for redevelopment – please see the 2016 Downtown Development Guide.

Sponsored by National Grid, the guide is the result of a collaborative partnership between Mayor Byron Brown, Chairman of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, CBRE Buffalo, and Buffalo Place.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director Marketing & Communications

BNE Launching New Labor Market Assessment

In 2010, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (“BNE”) released a comprehensive labor market study “Buffalo Niagara 2010 Who’s Your Economy?”  The six-month study was conducted by the University of Buffalo Regional Institute (“UBRI”) and assessed the region’s labor market to yield insights on strategies for attracting new businesses to the region, improving workforce training and aligning labor supply and demand.

BNE is working to update and expand upon the body of work completed in 2010 in a new 9-month study conducted by UBRI with a focus on emerging trends and developments and implications for labor demand, workforce readiness, regional economic competitiveness and growth. To date, BNE has secured $145,000 through New York Power Authority Western New York Power Proceeds and National Grid. We are seeking an additional $95,000 in support to fund all portions of the planned study.

The project will engage experts and stakeholders representing employers, workforce development groups, organization labor and human resources within the eight counties of Western New York, to provide insights on scope and research approach. More broadly, the study will include the following key components:

  • Availability of Labor: Determine the labor pool for jobs requiring higher-level skills, the availability of labor within the region’s target industries, which demographic groups are most mobile, how migration patterns for young adults compare to other age groups, barriers to relocation, typical commute zones across the region, worker retirement projections, and which industries are projected to have the greatest workforce needs.
  • Quality of Labor: What is the quality of labor in WNY, in terms of educational attainment, and how this compare with what employers find elsewhere, how productive are workers, what is the overall stability of the regional workforce, what percentage of jobs require higher education, multiple years of experience, long-term training and/or above-average skills.
  • Workforce Development: Determine the landscape of workforce development, in terms of key players, capacity, affordability, incumbent-worker training, supports for target industries and distribution of funding dollars.
  • The Skills Gap: What do short- and longer-term job projections look like in the region’s target industries, how many graduates do the region’s schools produce to fill these jobs, where do potential gaps exist between demand for labor and supply, what is the typical career pathway for the region’s seven high-growth target industries.
  • Underemployment: Research will update a labor availability study conducted in 2006 for the WNY region by The Pathfinders for New York State. It will answer questions such as: How many underemployed workers does the region have? What kinds of skills, educational levels and experiences do they offer potential employers? What rates of pay do they desire to reenter the workforce or leave current positions?  How important is the availability here compared to other locations?
  • Labor/Management Relations: The reality vs. perception of high rates of unionization, the percentage of all unionized workers by a union by industry, which companies in the region with unionized workers that are reporting notable success, are there best practices that others could learn from, is there a network of business and union leaders that a prospective or existing employer could turn to for best workplace practices in terms of company-union relations.
  • Payroll and Other Costs: Data and insights on the wages a prospective employer can expect to pay within the region’s target industries and comparability to other metro areas, what non-wage payroll costs (such as benefits and incentives) should employers in the region expect to pay to attract and retain employees. Government-mandated benefits such as unemployment insurance and Worker’s Compensation, variation by county, how much have salaries escalated, and how common are two-tiered wage scales in the region’s manufacturing industry?

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about this study and on supporting the initiative through available funding sources.

Graham Smith, Research Director


Buffalo Niagara: The Fam Tour

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise recently hosted a group of Site Selectors for a two-day Familiarization Tour. As you can tell by one attendee’s comments below, it was truly perception changing:

I wanted to thank you for your hospitality and that of your entire team during last week’s program in Buffalo.  I came away with an entirely new perspective on Buffalo, many ideas about how I might use what I saw and learned, and the knowledge that your team is knowledgeable, professional, personal, and enthused about Buffalo. I look forward to working with the people I met, both from BNE and the various organizations we met with, and I must say that there has not been a day since I returned that I have not told someone about things I saw and learned there.

Here are some highlights of the exciting (and busy) event:

Niagara Falls Tour

The weather was perfect and we had a great view – including a rainbow.  We can’t visit the Falls with Site Selectors without having good discussion about low-cost hydropower available from the New York Power Authority.


Bak USA Tour

Ulla Bak, president of Bak USA, the first pc tablet manufacturer in the US, hosted a tour of their new facility. Karen Utz, director, program administration, University at Buffalo Office of Economic Development and Robert Leteste, commercialization coordinator, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, provided an overview of StartUP-NY and discussed how the program helped drive Bak’s decision to locate in Buffalo Niagara. Attendees each received a WIFI Bak tablet as a memento of their visit.


Buffalo Manufacturing Works & Manufacturing Panel

Steve Levesque, operations manager, and Nadine Powell, business development and engagement, gave an in-depth look at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan.  Moog, GM Powertrain, Tapecon, and Remedy Staffing all participated in a panel discussing manufacturing opportunities in terms of workforce, real estate, infrastructure and affordability in Buffalo Niagara.


Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Vic Nole, director of new business development, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc, delivered an in-depth tour of the booming Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while Dennis Penman, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation gave an inside peak at the Conventus, including a rooftop tour.



Site Selectors enjoyed meeting business leaders and elected officials during a reception hosted by Phillips Lytle LLP overlooking Canalside.


Professional Service Provider Panel

IBM Buffalo Innovation Center, Delaware North and Liazon provided insight to the attraction, hiring and retention of key talent  that businesses can expect when starting or growing in Buffalo Niagara. They delivered strong testimony to the quality and talent of the region’s workforce.


SolarCity GigaFactory Tour

Empire State Development Corporation’s, Peter Cutler, director of communications and special projects showcased construction and discussed progress on the SolarCity site at RiverBend, the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.


Development Site Tour

Peter Cammarata, president, and David Stebbins, vice president, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation along with Christopher Pawenski, coordinator of industrial assistance programs, Erie County showcased available properties at RiverBend (southside), Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, (former) Bethlehem Site, and Northlands.


When asked about their perceptions of Buffalo after their visit, site selectors responded:

“Very impressed with the development, transition and opportunities. I like what’s going on.”

“An area that is absolutely in the process of transforming itself. A vibrant, diverse economy with business owners that care about the community. A cooperative economic development approach across multiple departments.”

Thank you to the wonderful site selectors that visited with us in Buffalo Niagara and to all of the organizations and people that supported this event!

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Hey Buffalo Niagara, Opportunity Knocks…

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Blog | Economic Development Discussions

Do you have a dynamite business idea? Do you want to be part of the new Buffalo momentum?  Check out these incredible opportunities that reflect the changing tide and join the growing community of entrepreneurs who are living their dreams, contributing to the region’s renaissance and growing jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

Applications are open for not one but TWO amazing investment opportunities:


During the nationwide “Rise of the Rest” tour, Steve Case — cofounder of AOL and CEO of Revolution — will visit Buffalo to discuss the importance of startups to the city and invest $100,000 in a local startup during a pitch competition.  Case will also host a happy hour celebration for supporters of the startup community.

If you are interested in pitching your startup to win the $100,000 investment from legendary entrepreneur Steve Case on September 30th, start your application today.


Get busy! …

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Hey Buffalo Niagara, Opportunity Knocks…

Do you have a dynamite business idea? Do you want to be part of the new Buffalo momentum?  Check out these incredible opportunities that reflect the changing tide and join the growing community of entrepreneurs who are living their dreams, contributing to the region’s renaissance and growing jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

Applications are open for not one but TWO amazing investment opportunities:


During the nationwide “Rise of the Rest” tour, Steve Case — cofounder of AOL and CEO of Revolution — will visit Buffalo to discuss the importance of startups to the city and invest $100,000 in a local startup during a pitch competition.  Case will also host a happy hour celebration for supporters of the startup community.

If you are interested in pitching your startup to win the $100,000 investment from legendary entrepreneur Steve Case on September 30th, start your application today.


Get busy!  The application deadline is Sunday 9/13 at 11.59pm EST.

For further details and to start your application visit: https://www.f6s.com/riseofrest/apply

To learn more here is a recent Buffalo News piece on Rise of the Rest, and here is a blogpost from Steve Case announcing the upcoming tour.


University at Buffalo will host the Seventh Annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo on October 28, providing business owners the opportunity to present live pitches and make connections with venture capitalists at the entrepreneurial trade show. This dynamic forum, designed to increase exposure for startup businesses and develop valuable relationships, will feature Daymond John, founder and CEO of the FUBU (“For Us, By Us”) clothing line, and star of ABC’s business reality show “Shark Tank.”

If you are interested in pitching your startup to venture capitalists at Bright Buffalo Niagara, start your application today.


You can apply here: http://www.brightbuffaloniagara.com/

The application deadline is Friday 8/14 at 11.59pm EST.

But these events aren’t for startups only. You can support the growing startup community by registering to attend the Rise of the Rest pitch competition and cheer eight startup finalists as they compete for the $100,000 in prize money.  Come see why and how entrepreneurs and the startup community are vital to the success and future of our region.

And if that’s not enough excitement, we hope to see you October 29 when 43North Finalists pitch for $5 million in prizes! 43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and operates through the support of the New York Power Authority.

By Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo’s New View

Recently, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise had the opportunity to tour the facility currently under construction at 250 Delaware Avenue courtesy of property owner Uniland Development Company.  High above the busy intersection of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, you can experience wonderful new views of the city thanks to the 12-story structure. The building will offer 330,000 square feet of the most modern and dynamic space for office, retail and hotel use. It also provides a five-level parking garage, including underground parking. 250 Delaware will serve as the new world headquarters for Fortune 500 company, Delaware North, Inc., which is scheduled to be the first tenant to occupy the building in the Fall. Enjoy the photos below featuring views both of and from Buffalo’s newest commercial development in the Central Business District.






by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo Niagara by the Numbers


Site selectors and corporate real estate executives look to match business with locations that meet specific project criteria. Communities need to have comprehensive and accurate data readily available to respond to such opportunities.

We developed the Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide to provide a snapshot of our region and feature some of the data most frequently requested by companies locating investment projects including:  major employers, new companies, average salary by occupation, average cost of sites, infrastructure, education, quality of life and more.

Click here to download the 2015 Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide

Click here to generate demographic reports on the Buffalo Niagara Commercial Listing System

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

43 Reasons to Apply for 43North

43North incubator

With 43 days until applications for the 43North Business Idea Competition are due, we’ve compiled 43 reasons to apply to 43North and move to Buffalo:

  1. Work in One of Buffalo’s Coolest Workspaces (for FREE!)
  2. Center for Computational Research – leading super-computing site
  3. A new way to fulfill seed round financing
  4. Start-UP NY (tax free for ten years)
  5. 22 local colleges and universities
  6. Accessible local business leaders/ advisers
  7. Canalside Buffalo
  8. Z80 Labs (high-tech incubator)
  9. Niagara Falls
  10. Buffalo Startup Weekend
  11. Burgeoning Craft Brewery and Distillery Scene
  12. Livable, walk-able communities
  13. One Million Dollars
  14. Startup Grind Buffalo
  15. Affordable, funky housing
  16. VCamp (healthcare technology accelerator)
  17. Experience 4 full seasons every year
  18. Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square
  19. International border community
  20. Ranked as a top arts & culture destination for mid-sized cities
  21. Second largest city in New York State
  22. #OneBuffalo – Two major franchises, and more
  23. Great Lake City on the Erie Canal terminus
  24. Free facilitated mentorship
  25. Culture of innovation
  26. Home to masterworks of America’s Greatest Architects
  27. Dynamic entrepreneur community
  28. Buffalo Manufacturing Works (resource center for advanced manufacturing)
  29. Ranked third best food city worldwide by National Geographic
  30. Locate on the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  31. Playing Ping Pong on your breaks
  32. Forbes Magazine ranked America’s Most Affordable City
  33. Home of America’s First PC tablet assembler
  34. Average commute time 20.6 minutes (5.2 min. faster than the national average)
  35. Center for Advanced Technologies Research Funding (CAT) from University at Buffalo
  36. A revitalized downtown core
  37. Bike friendly city
  38. D!G (brand-new innovative co-working space)
  39. Buffalo Olmstead Park System
  40. Water, water everywhere
  41. Annual Pre-Seed Workshop
  42. Apartment rent $/sq. ft. $1.20
  43. And finally, Chicken Wings!

With $5M in prizes for 43North Business Idea Competition, there are millions of reasons Buffalo, NY could be the right place for you.

By BNE Staff