By Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency
In 2017, New York State continued to advance the state’s innovation economy, creating increased opportunity across the state. Through strategic investments, and working with regional stakeholders, New York is building economies from the ground up, supporting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s holistic approach to economic development. We’re making strategic place-based investments in revitalizing our downtowns and cities, developing the state’s workforce, supporting tradable sectors with incentives for companies to grow here and fostering innovation through industry-university partnerships. And our approach is working; diverse businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, are launching here, moving here and thriving here.
That’s all against a background of positive economic growth and opportunity in New York State. Private sector jobs are up, tax and unemployment rates are down and wages and personal income have risen. Between 2011 and 2017, private employers across New York State added nearly 1.4 million jobs.
New York State’s community-based, bottom-up approach to economic growth reflects our belief that where investment occurs matters. In 2011, Governor Cuomo changed the way New York does business by establishing 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) in each region across the state. This approach empowers local stakeholders and experts to help identify problem areas in their communities and develop long-term strategic plans to support local job growth and community development. As each region is unique and features its own industry strengths and assets, the REDCs are essential in guiding investment to where it is most needed.
Since the first year of the initiative, the REDCs have helped direct more than $5.4 billion in awards to more than 6,300 projects that are projected to create and retain more than 220,000 jobs statewide. The 2017 awards were focused on the state’s priorities of growing our life sciences industry cluster, supporting downtown revitalization projects and identifying workforce development strategies.
In 2015, Governor Cuomo announced the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), a $1.5 billion competition designed to breathe life back into the Upstate economy. Based on the regions’ comprehensive plans for economic growth, three regions were awarded $500 million each, over five years: The Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier. Each region began awarding funds to dozens of projects in 2016, and the initiative continued to build momentum in 2017. Additionally, the remaining Upstate regions were awarded $50 million to support projects and initiatives identified by their URI plans.
Photo Caption: A 50-mile flight traffic management system launches in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, home to the burgeoning Unmanned Aerial Systems industry.
URI highlights from 2017 include the development of a 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and Rome to advance the burgeoning Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry in Central New York. In Southern Tier, a consortium of businesses called Imperium3 committed to establishing R&D and production operations of lithium ion batteries in Broome County. AIM Photonics began constructing a new facility at Eastman Business Park in Rochester and the Governor announced the launch of Luminate NY, the world’s largest business accelerator for optics, photonics and imaging start-ups. Luminate NY is just one of several business accelerator competitions supporting entrepreneurship and growth in New York State. They include the Central NY-based Genius NY, which focuses on UAS, cross-connected platforms and other technology-based sectors; and 76West, a Southern Tier-based clean-energy business competition administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Strong foundations and structures are vital to the future of business in New York State, which is investing $100 billion to build world-class transportation hubs and advanced infrastructure for the 21st century. In 2017, construction began on the new Moynihan Train Hall as part of the Pennsylvania Station complex redevelopment in New York City. The first phase of the project, the new West End Concourse, opened in June and major construction of the main train hall commenced in August.
Photo Caption: Major construction begins on the new Moynihan Train Hall, as part of the Pennsylvania Station complex redevelopment in New York City.
Governor Cuomo also broke ground on the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion in March and announced the selection of Lendlease Turner as the design-build team for the expansion. The $1.5 billion project will generate $393 million in new annual economic activity and 6,000 permanent jobs. The state also announced plans to develop Long Island’s Republic Airport, which is expected to result in more than $1 million in annual revenue to the airport for the next 49 years. A $1 billion redevelopment of Belmont Park will transform the surplus land into an internationally-recognized mixed-use destination and new home of the New York Islanders, a NHL hockey team.
Photo Caption: The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Expansion will generate $393 million in new annual economic activity and 6,000 permanent jobs.
Last year marked the second year of the $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The DRI challenges community leaders in each region of the state to develop a strategic plan for transforming their local downtown areas and urban centers into attractive destinations to work, play, visit and live. Ten communities receive $10 million each in state funding to implement their plans. In 2017, winning projects were announced for each of the Round One cities. A second round of DRI-winning cities was announced in May.
A fifth round of the Restore New York Communities Initiative launched in September, providing local governments with funding for redeveloping abandoned and blighted buildings, $80 million is available to support projects that include demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant, condemned and surplus properties, especially in economically-distressed communities. The Initiative has been allocated a total of $395 million since its inception, supporting more than 200 projects investing in the removal and restoration of blighted properties.
Western New York’s resurgence continued in 2017, building on the considerable economic growth and revitalization fueled by the Buffalo Billion, an investment aimed at creating new jobs and generating large-scale private investment and increased economic activity in Buffalo Niagara. Governor Cuomo made a historic commitment to the Buffalo area economy in 2012, when Buffalo Billion was first announced. Since then, over $1.5 billion has been committed to 49 signature initiatives, most of which are underway. As part of the 2017 state budget, $500 million in funding was allocated to a second round of the program, or Buffalo Billion Phase II. A Western New York Workforce Training Center, currently under construction, will develop the next generation of highly-skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing and energy industries when it opens in 2018. And last year’s fourth round of the Buffalo-based 43North business plan competition, the nation’s largest, awarded a total of $5 million to eight start-ups from around the world that will incubate their businesses in Buffalo.
In 2017, visitors continued to boost record-setting numbers for New York State’s tourism industry, the fourth-largest industry in the state and the third-fastest growing job sector. Tourism supported more than 936,000 jobs across New York in 2017, with a record 239 million visitors and economic impact topping $105 billion, the highest in the state’s history. Tourism is vital to the economic health of New York State, and we continue to promote awareness of New York as a tourism destination and inspire and encourage visitation to all of the state’s 11 vacation regions.
Access to broadband is crucial to economic growth and innovation in the 21st century and the New NY Broadband Program continued its commitment to providing broadband to all New Yorkers in 2017. In February, Governor Cuomo announced $212 million in New NY Broadband Program Round II awards, driving $268 million in public/private broadband investment across the state. Round III launched in January of this year, after which it is anticipated that 99.9 percent of New Yorkers will have broadband access.
2017 was a year of continued progress and achievement for New York. We’re breaking ground on major infrastructure and downtown revitalization projects, expanding innovative industries, setting record-breaking tourism numbers and extending internet access to the farthest reaches of the state, and we’re accomplishing it all through strategically-placed investments and initiatives in local communities. From Brooklyn to Buffalo, New York is committed to building a better state of opportunity for all.
To read more about New York State’s economic development, read our 2017 Annual Report: https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ESD_2017_Annual_Report_0.pdf
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/new_york_ed for local economic development office directory listings.