2:55 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Finalized plans for Governor's $1 billion for Buffalo

Governor Andrew Cuomo is not backing down from his commitment of $1 billion for Buffalo.  The Governor appeared Tuesday before the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The WYNREDC  delivered its finalized plan for the governor's billion-dollar investment.  Cuomo said the state must "jump start" the Western New York economy.   

Local leaders and area business people fill the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Tuesday to hear details of $1-billion investment plan
Local leaders and area business people fill the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Tuesday to hear details of $1-billion investment plan
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

"And we need to do it big, and we are not going to do it with little programs here and there," said Governor Cuomo.  "We have to generate a critical mass and an energy, and we have to change the dynamics and it's going to take a billion dollars to do it. So I'm betting on Buffalo for a billion dollars."

The investment plan calls for developing life sciences, advanced manufacturing, skills training and tourism.  Areas leaders say it will create jobs and attract and keep young people in the region.

Cuomo says the billion dollar investment is unprecedented.

"It's the largest, single investment we have made as a state government anywhere, anywhere," said Governor Cuomo.

The Governor also announced the state will invest $50 million in Albany Molecular Research -- known as AMRI -- to open at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. 

The company is a new pharmaceutical research, development and testing operation.  It will invest $200 million to create 200 new jobs.  

State Senator Patrick Gallivan is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee.  He issued the following statement on Tuesday's announcement:

“The Governor’s reaffirmed commitment to Western New York is welcome news amidst Superstorm Sandy’s  yet-to-be determined fiscal impact on the state budget. Western New York’s economy is a sleeping giant and I believe our regional economic development council has put forth a series of initiatives that recognize and build upon our local strengths: new market biotechnology applications, advanced manufacturing and continued investment in our regional tourism assets are the road map to a prosperous future.  In the coming months I look forward to working with the Governor and the regional council to see these initiatives to fruition.”

The following outlines the WNYREDC investment plan:

The WNYREDC has now finalized its plan and presented it to the Governor. It recommends six signature investable initiatives, including:

  • Buffalo Center for Manufacturing Innovation: a state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of the region’s manufacturing sector. It will be a shared services enterprise that provides support in commercializing applied research, developing more efficient operational processes, enabling entry into new markets, and up-skilling the existing workforce.
  •  The Buffalo Science Productivity and Research Catalyzer (SPaRC): to help bring breakthrough healthcare innovations to market. The Accelerator supports researchers in developing translational research, acquiring patents, and then licensing those patents or developing them into businesses.
  •  Buffalo Niagara Tourism Program: a regional tourism program to leverage the world-class tourism assets in Niagara Falls and the City of Buffalo through a more coordinated and sophisticated marketing strategy; investments and increased programming in the Niagara State Park; investments in other regional tourism assets and amenities; and the creation of regional offerings.
  •  The Buffalo Skills Partnership: a skills broker with initial investments in Rapid Right Skilling and Say Yes. The partnership will make Buffalo’s workforce system the most flexible, diverse and responsive in the nation by aligning education and training behind the skills employers need to expand and workers need for job success.
  • Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge: a world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will receive initial funding, incubator space, mentorship and introductions to leading venture capital firms
  • Better Buffalo Fund: to make targeted investments through a dedicated fund to support high impact economic and community development projects. A competition will determine the best investments, based on overall strategic fit, impact, proven capacity for execution and commitment of additional funds.

Public Private Partnership with AMRI

Today, the Governor announced that New York will invest $50 million in state of the art biomedical research equipment and facilities, and has secured an agreement from a private company, Albany Molecular Research Inc (AMRI), to locate in Western New York at Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BMNC) a new drug discovery research and development center. This investment, $35 million of which will go towards new equipment and $15 million of which will go towards improving existing lab space, will leverage $200 million in private investments and create 250 jobs.

The advanced manufacturing and health sciences approaches to job growth, two key tenets of Governor Cuomo’s overall Buffalo Billion investment, will be based on recreating what nano-electronic research and development did for the Capital Region in Western New York, instead using nano-biomedical R&D. Rather than give money directly to private companies, the State, through SUNY, invested in core infrastructure and equipment and used that equipment as the incentive to attract companies to establish themselves in these new high-tech facilities located in the Capital Region. This provided a state owned foundation for private sector job growth. This approach made the Capital Region the international center for nanoscale research, and now commercial, development in the field of electronics. The Governor, through his Buffalo Billion initiative and under the leadership of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, is making a down payment on replicating this approach in Western New York, however using a different field of research and development than what was used in the Capital Region. These strategic investments by the state, leveraged significantly with private investment, will build upon Western New York's leadership in life science research and increase the commercialization of innovations developing from that research as well as more advanced manufacturing jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.

AMRI Chairman, CEO & President Thomas E. D’Ambra, Ph.D. said, “Albany Molecular Research, Inc. is pleased to be working with the State of New York to locate a new state-of-the-art pharmaceutical research, development and testing operation in Buffalo. We salute Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vision and leadership in building a new New York as a global hub for pioneering innovation and economic opportunity in the leading scientific fields of the 21st century. This new initiative with recognized institutions like the Jacobs Neurological Institute of the University at Buffalo and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is projected to generate over $250 million in investments and attract 250 high-paying positions to Buffalo. The Governor’s commitment and involvement will result in establishing Western New York as a centerpiece of cutting edge research to drive exciting drug discoveries that advance the treatment and prevention of disease and improve the quality of life, while addressing our nation’s critical challenges in providing effective and affordable health care for an aging Baby Boomer population. Since our founding in the Capital District in 1991, AMRI continues to be a long-time corporate citizen in Upstate New York. AMRI currently has nearly 700 employees in New York, with just under 1,300 employees companywide and has invested almost $200 million in the Albany and Syracuse regions over the years. AMRI is excited to be working with the Governor and our other partners in making this vision a reality.”

“As a region, we must drive transformative, sustainable, economic growth and opportunity,” said Satish K. Tripathi, President of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council Co-chair. “Our signature initiatives are first and foremost about private sector jobs and investment. The intent of our plan is to utilize the public funding as seed money to attract the businesses that will make a long term investment in our local economy. I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo sat down with us today to review our plan and I look forward to moving forward as a community on these signature initiatives.”

“Our signature initiatives build upon our council’s 2011 five-year plan, ‘A Strategy for Prosperity in Western New York,’ by exploring the opportunity to leverage our region’s key assets,” said Howard A. Zemsky, Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council Co-chair. “I thank Governor Cuomo for giving our region this incredible opportunity to support the expansion of local companies, and to target and attract new businesses from across the country and around the globe.”

About the Buffalo Investment Strategy

With Governor Cuomo’s commitment to invest $1 billion in the Buffalo area economy, which is designed to spur significantly greater private investment and create thousands of new, sustainable jobs, New York State is helping the Buffalo area to realize immediate economic growth to put “generation now” back to work while setting the foundation for sustainable economic opportunity for future generations.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) – a top economic development plan award winner – will play a key role in how the funding is used to support the expansion of local companies and how to target the attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe to come to Buffalo. Those businesses will likely be related in some manner to the cluster industries identified by the WNYREDC in its strategic plan, which include, advanced manufacturing, agricultural/food processing, bi national logistics and distribution, energy, life sciences/medical devices, professional services.