Spreading #Buffalove

BNE-PostcardCampaign-recap

Over the past few months BNE helped send a little bit of #Buffalove across the world.

Starting in November 2014, Buffalo Niagara locals could tell friends and family that “Someone in Buffalo Niagara Misses You” in postcard form for free by visiting www.wherelifeworks.com and submitting names and mailing addresses of family and friends living outside the region.  BNE hand-addressed, stamped, and mailed the postcards.

The idea behind the “Someone in Buffalo Niagara Misses You” campaign was to connect with expats and others residing outside the area and entice them to learn more about living here. The postcards spurred positive conversations about the transformation of our region.

BNE designed three unique postcards, representative of the different months they were sent. Each card featured a Buffalo composed of different elements: fall leaves for November, ginger snap cookies for December and confetti for January.  The back of the postcard featured facts about the region.

During the campaign, www.wherelifeworks.com received 2,300 visitors and we sent nearly 1,000 postcards to 49 U.S. states and nine international countries including; Australia, Canada, England, France, Ireland, and Kyrgyzstan.

This simple idea went a long way, literally traveling thousands of miles.  We hoped those who received the postcards enjoyed them as much as we did sending them out.  Now it is time to think of the next innovative way to spread the #Buffalove! Share your thoughts with us.

BNE-PostcardCampaign-recap2 (3)

By Megan Savage, Marketing and Communications Specialist

Powerful Utility Savings a Plus for Canadian Companies

Many Canadian companies considering US expansion are heavy power users and electricity costs can easily eat away at profits.  As Canadian companies seek US expansion for many reasons (made in USA requirements, supply chain, bridge issues/delays, etc.), being able to manage operating costs is yet another major consideration.

When BNE is working through the due diligence process with a prospective company, energy needs and consumption are discussed.  With a large power user, we typically run a comparison between Canadian costs for monthly usage and what the same usage would cost in Buffalo Niagara.  The company shares its current electric bill and our local utility runs the numbers.  Most times there are significant savings.

Many of the larger power users are companies in plastic injection molding or extruding, food processing, or steel processing and fabrication.  A recent example is a plastics company that currently pays $0.13 per kWh for power in Canada. By comparison, they would pay an estimated cost of $0.082 per kWh for that same operation in Buffalo Niagara and realize a savings of over $18,000 each month. A different plastics company could save more than $20,000 per month by reducing their electric costs from $0.14 per kWh to $0.098 per kWh. We were able to identify over $50,000 in monthly savings for a food processing company currently paying $0.19 per kWh for electric.  Their pricing in Buffalo Niagara is estimated at $0.083 per kWh.

Steel processing in Buffalo Niagara.

Steel processing in Buffalo Niagara.

In addition to standard utility savings, companies may also qualify for special incentive programs that further reduce power costs. New York State offers some programs and others are administered by the local utility.  Many are contingent upon the number of new jobs that the company will be creating and the total investment into the new facility.  Prospective companies should consider these programs once they have identified a potential building or land site.   Thanks to our ability to offer low-cost power, selecting Buffalo Niagara for US expansion can make great economic sense for our Canadian neighbors.

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

It’s Happening Now! Check out the New Buffalo

This short video (Paget Films) shows some of Buffalo Niagara’s newest developments and captures the region’s momentum and energy. Nice job Western New York Regional Council and ESDC. Check it out!

New Buffalo,NY Development Maps

New Downtown Buffalo, NY Developments Maps Now Available

New Downtown Buffalo, NY Developments Maps                Now Available

As 2015 settles in, what better time than to revisit and update our downtown Buffalo, NY development maps. The past few years have been a watershed for the economic momentum of the region and downtown Buffalo is receiving the brunt of the benefits. As usual, we updated two maps. The first shows the projects classified by status (Under construction, Proposed, & Completed), the second captures that information as well, but organized by project type, (Buffalo Billion, Office, Mixed use, Hospitality/Tourism, Medical, Residential, Other).


Buffalo, NY Downtown Development Maps:


As always, this information is gathered from a variety of public sources, focusing on projects with a minimum of $1,000,000 in investment. Any omissions are oversights, and feedback is always welcome!

by Christopher Finn, Research Manager

10 Years of BNMC Development

There’s been no shortage of development happening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) the last 10 years with plenty more to come. According to the BNMC, two million square feet of development has recently been completed and almost two million square feet more is under construction. Significant streetscape enhancements are nearly finished including 44 signature signs throughout the Campus and informational kiosks with maps located at major pedestrian areas.

Click on the ’10 year graphic’ below to view pdf of past development.  Also coming soon:

Development is funded by an investment of nearly $750 million in private, public, and philanthropic dollars. 5,000 more employees to the Medical Campus is estimated by 2017.

10 year BNMC Development

Cars on Main are Driving Development

Decades ago there was a vision for downtown that included a bustling multimodal transit system. While the NFTA’s Metro Rail System remains one of the country’s most heavily used per-mile light rail systems, there were unforeseen consequences. Many blame Main Street’s decline on the lack of vehicular access and believe economic development in the city’s core has been stifled since cars were removed in 1982.

Main-BeforeAfter-10_22_14-2

Click image to see photos on Facebook

Fast forward 20 years and that thinking has shifted. In 2010, the Cars Sharing Main St. project team was assembled and a new directive was issued:  allow cars to share the track bed with the light rail cars and bring people back to Main St.  Construction is advancing with the 700 block was completed in 2012, the 600 block is near completion, and the 500 block is in the midst of reconfiguration.

The $30,000,000+ million project is intended to be a catalyst for change on a once bustling stretch of commercial activity that has lagged behind the momentum of downtown development.  Even before the project is complete, developers are seeing its potential. Mixed-use development projects are popping up among adaptive reuse projects, bringing high-end offices to once darkened storefronts. Groups like Carmina Woods Morris and Ricotta & Visco led the charge as more continue to secure space, capitalizing on increased access. Huge projects like the $42,000,000 Tishman Building transformation to a Hilton Garden Inn and office space is nearing completion and IBM’s recent announcement to bring 500 people to the south Key Tower will boost Main St.’s profile even further.   New restaurants and cafes are meeting the increased demand resulting from the development happening along downtown’s once-primary thoroughfare and the surrounding Central Business District.

Expectations are high for the reconfiguration and with the projects already underway it is clear that once completed, cars sharing Main St. may be one of the most significant downtown development projects in decades.

By Chris Finn, BNE Research Manager

Next Generation Manufacturing & Workforce Development

Several innovative programs have been or will be launched in Western New York designed to enhance and improve the talent pool for regional employers, especially manufacturers, for years to come. These new workforce development programs bolster training efforts available at community colleges as well as the vocational programs offered through Buffalo Public Schools and Erie 1 BOCES.

Here are the workforce development programs that will be game-changers for manufacturers relocating to Buffalo Niagara.

Dream It, Do It WNY’s (http://www.didiwny.com/) mission is to introduce middle and high school students to careers in manufacturing and they’ve been successfully doing so for several years. Its goal is for more young students to choose education paths that will guide them into skilled trades and other critical support roles necessary for advanced manufacturers. Ideally, it will result in a deeper talent pool as these students graduate through the system. Dream it, Do it WNY encompasses school districts, colleges and manufacturers in Erie, Niagara, Allegany, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.

Already underway, and projected to increase in size and scope over the next five years, is the Buffalo Manufacturing Works. The facility will “provide technology solutions to companies across the manufacturing industry through world-class engineering support, research and design, training and strategic services” (http://buffalomanufacturingworks.com/). The Manufacturing Works is partially funded by a $45 million investment by New York State as part of the “Buffalo Billion” pledge from Governor Andrew Cuomo and will help manufacturers to research and innovate new products, improve productivity through “process excellence,” develop new export markets for their products and cultivate a highly skilled workforce.

Currently in the planning phase, the Regional Workforce Advancement Center (http://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2013/05/02/manufacturing-training-center.html) will open in Buffalo thanks to additional investment from New York State. This facility will be exclusively focused on workforce development, especially the replacement of thousands of baby boomer employees who will retire over the next several years.

These are exciting times for the next generation of skilled workers as well as adults looking for new opportunities in tomorrow’s manufacturing jobs.

 

15 Winning Years for Western New York

To view BNE's most recent results, check out our 2013/14 Annual Report

To view BNE’s most recent results, check out our 2013/14 Annual Report

Since our inception in 1999, BNE has worked to attract more than $3.5 billion in new business investment to the region.  That figure accounts for 319 projects, with an impact of nearly 41,000 jobs either pledged or retained.

Here are some highlights:

Alpina was started in 1945 in Sopo, Colombia and produces more than 500 consumer products including baby foods, juices, cheeses, smoothies, and yogurts.  In March 2011, Alpina announced its first U.S. manufacturing facility focusing on Greek yogurt products.  Alpina USA now has 83 full-time employees making a variety of products in their brand new $16M facility located in the Agribusiness Park in Batavia, NY.

Fichman Furniture, founded in Scarborough, Ontario, manufactures custom wooden radiator covers.  In June 2012 they purchased their first U.S. industrial building in Holland, NY and pledged to create 15 new jobs over five years while investing $3M into the new facility.  After only two years, the company employs five full-time workers and has seen sales exceed expectations thanks to its U.S. location.

GEICO opened a WNY office on March 8, 2004 with just 75 employees and a long-term goal of having as many as 2,500 associates within 15-20 years. GEICO eclipsed 2,500 associates in June 2013 and, a decade after opening, the office is now home to more than 2,700 associates with plans to add another 700 employees this year.

Greenpac Mill is a partnership between Cascades Inc. and three other partners.  In June 2011, the company pledged to create 108 jobs and invest $400M in a new facility.  They built a state-of-the-art containerboard mill in Niagara Falls, manufacturing lightweight linerboard from 100% recycled fibers.  Today, the company employs 130 full-time employees with two shifts on a four-shift rotation.

Nutrablend Foods is a Canadian based company and the leading manufacturer in the sports nutrition and nutraceutical industries.  Headquartered in Cambridge, ON, in October 2009 they located to their first U.S. manufacturing facility in Lancaster, NY.  Pledging to create 40 new jobs in the first five years and invest $1M into building and equipment, they now have 134 employees running two shifts daily.

Muller Quaker Dairy, formed in 2012, is a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Theo Muller Group.  The company opened a state-of-the-art yogurt manufacturing facility on 82 acres in Batavia.  Pledging to create 186 new jobs and invest $206M into the facility and operations, they currently employee 172 full-time employees and make three yogurt varieties.  Muller Quaker Dairy was recently named Northeastern Economic Developers Association’s (NEDA) project of the year.

US Off-Track is a licensed account wagering service provider and management company serving the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing industries.  With a corporate office in Florida and call centers in Portland, OR, and Amherst, NY, the company announced a new Amherst location in October 2011. Pledging to create 80 jobs and invest $750,000 into the new facility, just three years later they employ 63 people and operate six days a week.

Welded Tube, headquartered in Concord, ON, announced their newest U.S. location to be built in Lackawanna, NY in October 2012.  Welded Tube USA is a leading manufacturer of cold-formed tubing products that are distributed throughout North America.  The company pledged to create 121 new jobs and invest $48,250,000 in their new facility.  After only two years, they employ 60 full-time workers at the former brownfield site.

Yahoo! announced plans for their Lockport, NY data and internal operations center in 2009.  Phase 1 was completed in March 2011 with the opening of a 190,000 sq. ft. facility employing 90 technicians and engineers.  Announced in 2013, Yahoo’s Phase 2 expansion is underway and includes an additional 236,000 square feet of data center and 35,000 square feet of administrative space that will house 115 employees for Yahoo’s Customer Experience Center.

If We Build It, Will Retail Come?

 

Canalside, Buffalo, NY

Canalside, Buffalo, NY

Planners and politicians agree that a vibrant downtown is a measure of a region’s success and retail activity is a critical component. While Buffalo’s central business district is in a period of rebirth, many wonder if increased retail activity will follow. Progress in other markets illustrates that a sustainable trajectory of increasing demand will appeal to retailers. This sustainability is built on common principles: increase downtown population, develop a mix of complimentary uses, attract tourists, and improve accessibility.

Housing is a primary catalyst for downtown development and a priority for local government. The 9-5 workforce cannot sustain retail and commercial activity but a significant residential population creates the necessary balance. Mayor Byron Brown is committed to residential development with his administration’s stated goal of 1,300 new downtown housing units by 2018, leveraging the recommendations of the Buffalo Building Reuse Plan (BBRP) to achieve this effort.

Building these units alone won’t create demand. Residents will be attracted to a downtown with a variety of recreational, professional, and commercial development. BNE’s downtown development map highlights the diversity of current and proposed projects.

In addition to workers and residents, a vibrant downtown will attract tourists. Complementing the existing cultural amenities, HARBORcenter, Canalside and its future attractions such as Explore & More Children’s museum will draw millions of visitors to downtown Buffalo. To meet the demand of this development, hundreds of new hotel rooms are in the works.

Lastly, a successful downtown must be accessible. As the Cars Sharing Main St. project creeps towards Canalside, a Pearl St. reconfiguration is planned and streetscape improvements are developing for primary thoroughfares such as Ellicott, Genesee, and Chippewa Streets. Buffalo’s downtown accessibility will be markedly improved.

There is no guarantee of retail progress yet, but a sign of its imminent arrival is the arrival of at least 15 new downtown restaurants recently opened or in development.

While other components such as the regulatory environment, public safety, and surrounding neighborhoods all play a vital role in the downtown equation there isn’t enough space in this post to elaborate! However, rooted in these principles, with increased retail development on the horizon, Buffalo’s downtown future will leave visitors impressed and residents proud.

by Christopher Finn, Research Manager

When it Comes to High Tech, Buffalo Manufacturing Works

While not the flashiest of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiatives, Buffalo Manufacturing Works has the potential to be one of the most effectual of them all. Originally dubbed the Buffalo Niagara Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Buffalo Manufacturing Works will soon become a pillar of the region’s manufacturing sector, providing technology solutions to companies across the industry through world-class engineering support, research and design, training and strategic services. Over the next five years, $45 million will be invested in facilities, equipment and engineering staff creating a state-of-the-art institution for the benefit of WNY manufacturers.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Buffalo Manufacturing Works is that it creates a major new asset for existing WNY manufacturers while simultaneously creating an incentive for BNE to market to potential attraction targets. In an era where companies across the board are cutting back on research and development budget lines, the opportunity to leverage this great asset will be a significant draw for growing manufacturing firms. Few other locations provide companies with such an advantage.

Resulting from several in-depth focus groups and research, three primary technology areas will dominate Buffalo Manufacturing Works: flexible automation, materials and testing, and processing and fabrication. Columbus, Ohio-based EWI, North America’s leading engineering and technology organization, will operate the institute. The member-driven not-for-profit was selected to operate the Buffalo initiative based on its 30 years of success in central Ohio. Three additional key local partners are involved: the University at Buffalo providing access to early-stage fundamental research and academic facilities; Insyte Consulting assisting with improvements to process and operational productivity; and the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara helping companies identify new markets and export opportunities.

As manufacturing shifts ever more towards highly technical and advanced practices, this investment will prove integral in continuing the Buffalo Niagara region’s great legacy as a nucleus of manufacturing innovation.

Click here to read more Buffalo Manufacturing Works from the Buffalo News.

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager