An economic development year in review

Though it’s about one month (and twelve days) until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, we’d like to look at 2015 as a solid effort at “playing good baseball.” In essence, this is nothing more than a focus on the fundamentals to effect all parts of the game.

Last year we had the opportunity to work with a number of great partners and businesses on projects from a single startup to a few big hits. We certainly didn’t do this alone and we think that 2015 was a big leap in shaping the future of Broome County. Here’s a quick review:

In January we announced a new small business loan fund called the Grow Broome Fund to aid with the expansion needs of existing businesses in Broome County. In February, our Board approved assistance for the Skye View Heights 55 and over residential development project in the Village of Endicott. This project will add more than fifty new market-rate townhouse style apartments for the largest demographic in Broome County.  

In March we joined with Broome County and Cornell Cooperative Extension to announce results from the Agricultural Task Force survey and the receipt of a $50,000 grant that will be used to update Broome County’s Agricultural Economic Development Plan. These efforts will help expand Broome County’s already significant agriculture industry.

In April we launched our new brand and strategy for economic development at our second annual community breakfast. With the new brand comes the desire to be a positive and dynamic driver of economic development and to connect businesses with the resources they need to expand.

May began the process of assembling a team who would craft a strategy for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, and we were thrilled to become an official member of the Southern Tier Startup Alliance, a regional partnership connecting entrepreneurs to startup resources.

In June we hosted the grand opening of The Center, our startup and small business growth center Downtown.

July began on top of a stone quarry with Joe Roberts of Roberts Stone. Our loan financing enabled Joe to expand, including the addition of nearly twenty new jobs at his operation. July also brought renewed activity to the historic Carnegie Library, as we continued to work with SUNY Broome Community College who will transform the library to a School of Culinary Arts. We ended July with Larry Regan of Regan Development Corp to announce plans to transform two historic EJ buildings into the Century Sunrise Development, a dynamic mixed-use project next to the future Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

One of the most exciting projects came in August, with the announcement by Governor Cuomo of 600 new jobs and the expansion of Modern Marketing Concepts, a company founded in, and committed to staying in Broome County. The transformation of the former Link building into Business Link Park, will set a new standard for workplace environments and attract the millennial workforce that we eagerly want to grow.  We also approved a tax incentive package to assist with the redevelopment of the fire-damaged historic Press building. The Printing House apartments will transform this building to a magnet for new development along Chenango St. in downtown Binghamton.

Walking down Hawley Street in September, we noticed the fences were up and back-hoes in place as construction on the Southern Tier High Technology Incubator began. As an investment partner in this project, this state-of-the-art building will attract innovative entrepreneurial ideas in the areas of health care and energy technology.

In October we were thrilled to join with Broome County and Cornell Cooperative Extension to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Regional Farmer’s Market, which will showcase our region’s best in locally sourced food and goods. As an investment partner in this project, we know it will be a significant attraction for agritourism.

November brought good news from the Broome County Land Bank, that the abandoned and blighted former Sheraton Hotel at 50 Front Street will be given new life as dynamic riverfront apartments developed by the Newman Development Group.

We closed the year with a homerun with the announcement of the Southern Tier as a Best Plan Awardee winner of $500 million through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. This plan will bring about game-changing investments, especially in the areas of agriculture, advanced manufacturing, and in transforming the greater Binghamton urban core. Our lead off hit came quickly when we joined Mayor David to discuss plans to develop a dynamic mixed-use project on Hawley St.  December also brought the good news that under new ownership, the Binghamton Mets will be in town for years to come and an announcement from County Executive Debbie Preston on a project to develop a solar farm at the Broome Corporate Park.

Last year, we had the good fortune to come to know some of the most dedicated and community-minded residents of Broome County. The common thread? A desire to grow here, to create jobs, and in some cases, pass a business down to the next generation. These partners and businesses are a critical part of our playbook and we look forward to another great year in Broome County.  

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