Looking back on 2016, we can honestly say that things are moving in a positive direction for Broome County. We've had the good fortune to facilitate, partner and support a number of great projects big and small that will positively impact the local economy. Our team truly feels privileged to promote economic development in Broome County and work with some amazing partner along the way.
Here is a quick review of what we were working on in 2016:
January rang in a new year and the continued development of the Southern Tier High Technology Incubator in downtown Binghamton. As an investment partner in this project, we've been thrilled to watch the construction of this state-of-the-art facility that will catalyze new and innovative companies in connection with Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College.
February saw the opening of the phase of Skye View Heights, a modern and upscale housing development for individuals age 55 and over and a project we supported to provide new housing opportunities in the Village of Endicott.
We hosted our first First Friday event in March at The Center, our incubator and co-working space Downtown to announce details of the 76West Clean Energy Competition with the Southern Tier Startup Alliance. Over the next four years, 76West will offer $20 million in award money and support services for innovative clean-tech companies locating in the Southern Tier.
April brought the announcement of the construction of a new economic and business development center that will house our offices as well as the Alliance for Manufacturing & Technology, the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the National Development Council, the New York Business Development Corporation, and a Visions Federal Credit Union branch, working together to promote new opportunity and investment in Broome County.
In May we finalized tax incentives for the Century Sunrise Development, a dynamic and innovative adaptive re-use project that will transform two historic Endicott Johnson industrial buildings into modern market and affordable housing next door to the Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. We also saw the start of the final phase of the U Club Binghamton apartments on the Vestal Parkway, a project that we supported through tax incentive assistance.
June brought summer and the opening of the Broome County Regional Farmers Market which we served as an investment partner. The year-round farmers market operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome provides fresh and locally sourced agricultural products from more than thirty-five vendors from the region. The Printing House apartments; the redevelopment of the former Press Building that we supported; opened its doors to the public in June to showcase high-end student housing opportunities in the heart of Downtown. We also provided project assistance for the expansion of Pacemaker Steel to support their growing manufacturing operations in Broome County.
In July, and nearly a year in the making, we welcomed Governor Cuomo and Ed Stack to announce the location of a Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. Regional Distribution Center in the Broome Corporate Park. This 650,000 s/f state-of-the-art facility will serve more than 200 retail stores in the northeast and create more than 460 jobs over the next five years. It also signaled the return of a major Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. facility to the community where it all began.
In August, we offered details about the potential redevelopment of the former Stow Manufacturing and DOT sites in the City of Binghamton. This interchange at Interstate 81 and Route 17 (the Brandywine Expressway) is one of the most heavily traversed interchanges in the state, making it a prime location for redevelopment.
September was a busy month. We joined SUNY Broome for the transfer of ownership of the historic Carnegie Library and the official groundbreaking of the SUNY Broome Culinary Arts Center. We launched our Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) program at Gearcor in Johnson City. And with multiple partners, including Binghamton University’s Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Partnerships, Binghamton Economic Development, the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the Entrepreneur Alliance, the Small Business Development Center and SUNY Broome, we hosted the first Breaking Down the Silos networking event at Water Street Brewing Co. to connect with our local entrepreneurial community.
In October we joined our partners for the groundbreaking of The Business Center at FIVE South College Drive, our new economic and business development center on the SUNY Broome campus and followed by the groundbreaking of a 5.5 megawatt solar farm at the Broome Corporate Park. We also provided project assistance to Nealon Transportation for the relocation and construction of a new facility in the Town of Kirkwood. Breaking Down the Silos (part II) at M&T Bank saw more than 100 local entrepreneurs and business organizations connect.
We had the opportunity to assist two small businesses with their expansion needs in November through our revolving loan programs and we launched, in partnership with Upstate Venture Connect, Binghamton University and a host of additional partners, #drivebinghamton - a cloud-based calendar of events for entrepreneurs, technologists and creatives.
Our November Breaking Down the Silos (part III) networking event at Remlik’s continued to grow with more than 130 attendees, including several 76West Clean Energy Competition award winners, many of whom are located here in Binghamton and the Southern Tier.
We closed November with one of our most exciting initiatives yet, the launch of a new Workforce Development and Talent Attraction Program. Broome County…a good life ™ is a new marketing effort designed to celebrate the businesses and people choosing Broome County for their ideal work/life balance. Told through the stories of Broome County residents, this new initiative will be the signature piece of our economic development marketing strategy to attract the best and brightest to our community. Linked to our Broome County Workforce Analysis (coming in 2017), this initiative will be a data-driven marketing campaign to assist businesses in key employment sectors.
We closed out the year with two important projects in December. We approved tax incentives for the redevelopment of 50 Front Street in the City of Binghamton. This long abandoned and vacant property will be demolished and made way for River Landing at 50 Front Street, the first new market-rate construction in the City of Binghamton in decades. River Landing will offer high-end urban living opportunities within walking distance to the City’s central business district.
We also approved the sale of the former Link building to local developer and Broome County native Todd Grubham. Grubham will work to attract new businesses to the facility, which is possibly one of the best strategic locations for companies looking for immediate highway accessibility.
December also launched our newest entrepreneurship partnership with Upstate Venture Connect, “Tales from the Trenches” a speaker’s series at The Center highlighting the paths of local entrepreneurs. Our first featured guests included the stories from the CommuniKey and Muckles, Inc.
As you will see there were many successes in 2016, but many challenges lie ahead. Much to do in 2017. Bring it on.
Wishing you joy, health and prosperity!
“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” ? Rainer Maria Rilke