By Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager
In November 2013, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a clean-energy research campus on 90 acres of land along the Buffalo River calling this initiative the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub @ RiverBend. At the same announcement, SORAA and Silevo were named as the first two tenants. Recently, SolarCity announced plans to get into domestic gigawatt-scale PV cell and module production (via acquisition of Silevo) that would further transform Riverbend.
Why New York? Partially because we have invested in developing properties such as Riverbend and the 1,250 acre development site , WNY STAMP. But more moreover, we are home a number of important assets that support a high-tech corridor, including:
- Existing Fabs –IBM, Global Foundaries and multiple development sites created with the semicon industry in mind – STAMP, Marcy, Luther Forest
- Top semiconductor industry suppliers like ASML, AMAT, TEL, Praxair, Edwards Vacuum
- Rare infrastructure, especially low-cost, highly reliable hydropower and affordable, plentiful process water
- Deep connectivity with regional universities that support R&D and workforce needs
- Six AAU universities across the New York state
- Public-private partnerships, with more than $20 billion invested across New York by major players in the industry
- Federal and state representatives that strongly support the semiconductor industry
If you are attending Semicon West, July 8-10 in San Francisco, CA, stop by booth #2411. The New York Loves Nanotechnology team will be there to discuss the region’s resources and advantages.
by Tom Kucharski, BNE President & CEO
Buffalo Niagara has had one of the country’s most affordable commercial markets since the 1980s, when manufacturing decline, sprawl and economic uncertainty depressed the area’s real estate values. Now, however, as the local economy’s gained a level of momentum not seen in 60 years, what’s the impact on commercial real estate?
From 2012 to 2013 Buffalo Industrial Market experienced a sizable decrease in the overall vacancy rate, decreasing from 9.2% to 5.7%. The 2013 results mark the eighth consecutive year the Buffalo Industrial Market vacancy rate has remained below the national average, currently 11.7%. (CBRE, Inc. U.S. Industrial MarketView Q3 2013).
The region’s growth and expansion has caused a decrease in vacancy rates, driving factors behind new medical and office developments from the south campus of the University at Buffalo through the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. And brownfields between Buffalo and Lackawanna, as well as several northward through Niagara Falls, are bursting to life with facilities to support advanced manufacturing and future-looking technologies. Local development is currently estimated at approximately 700,000 sq. ft. of new construction planned for the first and second quarter of 2014.
Offices are filled with employees, of course, and we’re also seeing subsequent demand for residential properties, particularly mid- and high-end rentals. More people means a need for more service-oriented businesses, too, like coffee shops, restaurants and grocers – providing opportunities for small business entrepreneurs and a need for refurbished, ground-level spaces. Residential and commercial vibrancy also creates a more robust destination for tourism and recreation, and cranes are high in the sky with ongoing work at Canalside and the hockey-centric HarborCenter development.
This low vacancy rate may also be an opportunity for developers. Steve Blake, a partner in CBRE Buffalo expects the 3rd quarter/2013 vacancy of 5.7% to tighten even further by the end of 2014. Blake recently commented that, “This will inevitably result in higher lease rates and require longer lease terms as tenants turn to developers for new product to meet their demands. While the Buffalo industrial market rarely has ‘true’ speculative development occurring, with market conditions there is a good probability that by simply publicly announcing a proposed, high bay, distribution warehouse project, a developer will have a good chance of pre-leasing a major portion of that project”.
Overall, while the market is stronger than it has been in decades, strategic reuse of existing buildings coupled with targeted new development means that commercial properties in Buffalo Niagara will continue to be attractively priced while still reflecting the region’s economic and cultural resurgence. And with potential support through “Buffalo Billion” allocation and the STARTUP NY Tax-Free Zone program, there’s unprecedented financial support for Buffalo Niagara business development.
Comprehensive sector overviews and up-to-date listings of new construction and redeveloped properties, available brownfields, and shovel-ready sites can be found in the Real Estate section of the BNE website. Our team also offers a range of services including assistance with financing and incentives to help new, relocating and expanding businesses take advantage of one of the country’s most affordable and dynamic commercial real estate markets.
Work is underway at 145 and 149 Swan Street as the two buildings are rehabilitated. Dubbed the Apartments at the HUB, the two historic buildings will house 50 new apartments and first floor retail in original storefront space. This will all be done with a bicycle them, hence the name “the HUB”. The buildings are being developed by architect/developer Jake Schneider and his team at Schneider Design. The $13.5 million project is utilizing historic tax credits with historic review and approval services provided by Preservation Studios.
First Floor Retail:
Three bicycle-related commercial tenants will have storefronts at the Hub and a bicycle sculpture will be featured on on the corner of Michigan and Swan along with ample bike racks. Commercial tenants will include:
- A fitness center dedicated to cyclists
- A Pub called the Handle Bar at the Hub
- The Bike Shop, an expansion outlet of the Bike Shop located in East Aurora
Go to Mapping Downtown Buffalo’s Development for more information on developments in Buffalo, NY.
by Christopher Finn, Research Manager
In the years ahead, 2014 will be viewed as a milestone in Buffalo’s history.
-The year that development plans and proposals turned to cranes and steel.
These projects were not achieved by happenstance, but through decades of hard work and persistence from local stakeholders, built from the foundation of other significant development ventures that came before.
From Buffalo Billion Initiatives, (eg – High Tech Park @ Riverbend and IBM’s announcement) to HARBORcenter; from the University at Buffalo’s Medical School to Canalside, Buffalo’s development is occurring organically and with great diversity.
Our future is now and it’s the culmination of a development strategy rooted in unprecedented cooperation between public and private entities, community organizations and every level of government.
In an effort to chronicle this momentum, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has updated our downtown developments maps. We consider this an ongoing effort, with updates occurring regularly, so input is always welcome. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with observations, additions, or edits.
STATUS, Downtown Buffalo Development Projects (Completed, Under Construction and Proposed)
TYPE, Downtown Buffalo Development Projects (Medical/Medical R&D, Mixed Use, Office, Other, Residential and Tourism/Hospitality)
There are more reasons than ever to set up shop or expand in the Buffalo Niagara region. Take a look at our Top Ten list and a give me a call to discuss opportunities for your business.
With the New Year upon us, New York State’s most exciting tax incentive program in recent memory has officially begun. On January 1, 2014, START-UP NY went into effect, allowing companies to partner with colleges and universities to create partnerships that allow these businesses, and their owners and employees, to operate completely tax free for a ten-year period.
Many have heard something about the program, but may have many questions about which businesses are eligible, what an affiliation with a college or university must look like, how to apply, and more. I wrote an earlier blog outlining the basics of the program. Now, I’ll do my best to offer some clarity to the process a company can anticipate should it seek to take advantage of this exciting new program.
An eligible company should start by thinking about which college or university with which it would like to affiliate. For some companies, this might be a simple process, but for many others, they may have never considered partnering with an academic institution. Well, in order to participate in the program, each school must submit and publish a plan that outlines the specific industries it is targeting for this program. Here in Buffalo Niagara, I am working with each participating institution and am familiar with their respective plans, so I can be a resource during this process. Empire State Development (ESD) is also here to help.
Once a company and an academic institution are matched up, the two will enter into negotiations on four key points:
- Space and lease rates – each institution will designate specific buildings and/or land on its campus(es) that are available for lease. Additionally, each institution may designate up to 200,000 square feet of space off campus, based on the company’s needs.
- Affiliation – the two parties will determine exactly how they will interact, or affiliate, a key to eligibility for the program. In this point, both parties will seek a mutually beneficial arrangement.
- Job creation commitment – the company must commit to creating net new jobs (to New York State) in order to participate in the program, and will negotiate this number with the institution.
- Intellectual property (IP) – the two parties must agree upon who will own IP should any patentable discoveries take place during the course of the affiliation.
Once the two parties have agreed on the above four items, this will represent a completed application. The application will then go to Empire State Development for final review. This review period is set to last 60 days, at which point if an application has not been rejected, it is formally approved. Once approved, the application becomes a legally binding contract between the company and the academic institution and the company and its employees can start reaping the benefits of operating free of New York State taxes for the following ten years!
Still have questions? That’s not surprising. It’s impossible to sum all this up in one short blog. But please feel free to email me at any time for more information, especially if you’re a company considering taking advantage of this exciting new opportunity! firstname.lastname@example.org.
So many people were generous with their locations and time in the making of Are You Right for Buffalo? Thank you for your help promoting Buffalo:
John Paget and fabulous crew of Paget Films, Block Club, Larkin Square, Buffalo Harbor Kayak, WNYBAC, Sun Restaurant, Healthy Zone Rink, Anchor Bar, Lexington Co-op, Liberty Hound, Canalside, Tabree, Bistro Europa, Megan Norris, Erin Habes, Bonnie Jean Taylor (wonderful host), Seamus (the wingman), and Chuck and Bill Banas the “twins”…Thanks so much to all!
Info graphic. The top 10 development projects in downtown Buffalo, NY (proposed, under construction and completed) ranked by investment totals an impressive $1,709,000,000.
- 4 currently under construction, 4 recently completed, 2 more proposed/moving forward
- Top 3 are located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC); remaining are throughout downtown Buffalo
- Represent a good mix of uses such as medical, tourism/hospitality, federal , office and mixed use
Read Buffalo Niagara’s story as recently featured in TrustBelt, a platform that focuses on telling the story of the economic resurgence of the Greater Midwest Region of the USA.
From Rusty to Radiant
Silver bullets don’t bring shine back – but years of hard work can, and nowhere is this more evident than in Buffalo Niagara. Here, a spirit of collaboration emanates from a shared vision, with strategic goals for business and community development that are fueled by wind, water and more than $8.1 billion in public and private investment over the last five years.
A new Buffalo Niagara is rapidly taking shape: It’s a region enjoying success today and positioned for long-term growth tomorrow in advanced manufacturing, life sciences and biotechnologies, finance, education, advanced agriculture – all within one of the most affordable and enjoyable regions of the country.
A Vision for the Future, Realized Today
A driving force behind the region’s remarkable resurgence has been the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). Conceived in 2003 with a 20-year master plan focused on bioinformatics, life sciences, clinical care, innovation, and research, the BNMC’s goals were achieved in only eight years – thanks to collaborative public-private partnerships supported by essential seed funding and streamlined processes to get new projects off the ground.
As a result, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary entities are having a tremendous impact on Buffalo Niagara’s economy:
- more than $1.5 billion invested, including the relocation of the highly ranked University at Buffalo medical school to the BNMC
- 5,000 jobs created or relocated to this innovation hub since 2003
- another 5,000-7,000 more jobs expected in the next five years
A More Diversified Region, a More Secure Future
While the success of the BNMC has been unprecedented, Buffalo Niagara’s business, government, education, non-profit and philanthropic leaders learned long ago that economic diversification is critical for sustained strength. That’s why Buffalo Niagara’s growth isn’t limited to one economic engine. Instead, a high level of creative cooperation is resulting in a total evolution of the region’s economy, with another $1.5 billion in projects underway in the City of Buffalo’s central business district and the waterfront.
From California’s Silicon Valley to Canada, and from life sciences technology to shipping, businesses like Geico, Yahoo, Greenpac, Welded Tube of Canada, and Alpina are relocating and expanding here because Buffalo Niagara offers everything they need to succeed: a skilled and dedicated workforce, highly competitive commercial and industrial real estate costs, low-cost energy, research and development partnerships, proximity to numerous major North American cities and a vast transportation network for imports, exports and cross-continental shipping. The region also offers reasonable business development costs and easy access to major markets like New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto without the hassles or high costs of locating in major metropolitan areas.
The region’s slow-but-steady growth over the last decade also meant that while other areas experienced “boom and bust” economies, Buffalo Niagara’s housing market continued to strengthen and our employment rates remained stable. In addition, our strong bi-national business ties and our proximity to Canada’s largest city benefited our region in everything from retail to restaurants to manufacturing.
And, thanks to Buffalo Niagara’s geography – within the largest freshwater basin in the world and surrounded by two Great Lakes and the mighty Niagara River – the region is uniquely positioned to support forward-looking energy production, like wind and solar energy, and to supply inexpensive hydroelectric power to new and expanding manufacturers in Buffalo Niagara.
Growth Fueled by State-Level Support
In 2012, New York State pledged $1 billion in state funding for growth in key industries and to leverage an additional $5 billion in private investment. This unprecedented state commitment to the continued revitalization of the western New York economy means that new and relocating businesses get the support they need for companies to take root and grow. Investments from the “Buffalo Billion” are decided through collaborations like the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, with input from the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) and other partners and will continue to be for several years to come.
Further fueling this growth is the Start-Up NY initiative, in which businesses opening or expanding in select economic development zones – determined largely by proximity to New York’s remarkable higher education institutions – operate tax-free for 10 years, offering extraordinary opportunities for partnerships between Buffalo Niagara’s numerous colleges and universities and business. Continue reading