Region reaps more the second time around
The Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council did it better the second time around, as judged by Albany officials, presenting a strategic plan with a beefed-up list of priority projects for the seven-county region that recently earned a top award in the state’s 2-year-old regional economic development funding competition.
A total of $92.8 million in state agency funds will be awarded to 84 private and municipal projects in the region. That is a nearly 39 percent increase from the region’s share of state funding a year ago, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a consolidated interagency funding application process and created 10 economic development regions to compete for winner’s shares of state capital grants and employer tax credits. The mid-Hudson region was a runner-up with its strategic plan in 2011.
In addition to grants for individual projects, the region as a best-plan award winner in 2012 can tap up to $21.5 million in tax-exempt federal industrial development bonds that state and local government entities can issue to finance economic development, infrastructure and community revitalization projects. The region also will have $4.5 million in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for businesses in targeted industries that invest in facilities in the region and create or retain jobs.
The state’s largest awards will support construction and rehabilitation projects to provide affordable housing for older residents in two counties.
In Westchester County, the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency was awarded $9.5 million to rehabilitate Maple Terrace, a 100-unit low-income housing complex for senior citizens.
In Orange County, the Newburgh Housing Authority will receive $10 million for the purchase and renovation of Burton Towers, a 126-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors. The Middletown Industrial Development Agency was awarded $7 million for a development project to acquire and rehabilitate Southeast Towers, a 106-unit apartment complex for seniors. Eighteen of the 22 priority projects backed by the mid-Hudson council this year in its strategic plan were awarded funding. In 2011, the council recommended only three priority projects and only one of them, a biotechnology business incubator at New York Medical College in Valhalla, was funded.
Two priority projects denied state funding a year ago were among 20 projects that recently won awards of $1 million or more.
Marist College President Dennis J. Murray, who co-chairs the mid-Hudson council, returned to Poughkeepsie from a Dec. 19 awards ceremony in Albany with word that the Cloud Computing and Analytics Center that Marist plans to develop on its campus in partnership with IBM Corp. was awarded a $3 million grant. It was the council’s second attempt to secure funding for the estimated $42.4 million project.
The center at Marist will give businesses access to emerging technologies and enable their growth through three components: a workforce development cloud to provide information technology education and training, a cloud computing incubation and analytics center to nurture startup companies in the region, and an analytics cloud that will make advanced business IT tools available and affordable to companies. The center also will be a part of the New York State High Performance Computing Consortium.
In the town of Thompson in Sullivan County, The Center for Discovery, the county’s largest employer, was awarded a $2.5 million grant for its proposed $36 million Regional Children’s Assessment Center, a 60-bed specialty hospital for children with autism, severe developmental disabilities and medically complex conditions. The health care development is expected to create 300 permanent and 120 construction jobs. The private institution’s project was denied state funding last year.
The sole repeat award winner in the region was New York Medical College in Valhalla, which will receive $1 million for its iBio-NY incubator for startup biotech companies. The college received $4 million in last year’s inaugural funding round for the initial stages of the project, estimated to cost $14 million.
Two days after the Albany awards were announced, New York Medical College officials and faculty were joined by state and county officials and Westchester business leaders for the construction launch in a vacant laboratory and research building on the Grasslands campus. The renovated building also will house a federally funded regional biotech business training center that the college will operate with the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. and Westchester Community College.
In New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers, health care and urban redevelopment projects were among the region’s million-dollar award winners.
The city of White Plains was awarded $2 million to redevelop the Post Road corridor, a project that includes improvements at White Plains Hospital, renovations to the Winbrook housing complex, a mixed-use development and parking garage.
The city of New Rochelle was awarded a $1 million grant for Sound Shore Medical Center’s approximately $35 million project to construct a medical office and ambulatory services building and a parking structure on the hospital campus.
New Rochelle also will receive a $1 million grant for infrastructure improvements needed for Forest City Residential Group’s planned redevelopment of industrial land on Echo Bay as residential, retail and public space.
In Yonkers, first-year Mayor Mike Spano’s push to revive stalled redevelopment downtown and on the city waterfront was boosted by approximately $5.1 million in state funding awards.
Developer Glenwood POH L.L.C. was awarded $1 million for an initial $50 million project to stabilize buildings at the long-vacant Glenwood power plant on the Hudson River. The developer has proposed to create 256,475 square feet of hotel, restaurant and entertainment space in the existing historic buildings. The estimated $175 million project is expected to create 1,800 construction jobs and an estimated 955 permanent jobs.
The city of Yonkers was awarded $2 million for the first phase of a private developer’s planned $22 million rehabilitation of five commercial properties on downtown Mill Street as residential and retail space. Developer Nick Sprayregen, managing member of Yonkers Rising Development L.L.C., has said he wants to create a music and arts destination on the downtown cul-de-sac.
In tandem with the Yonkers Rising project, the city was awarded $921,425 to uncover another segment of the Saw Mill River in the Mill Street area and create a new downtown public space.
Manufacturing, once the mainstay of employment in Yonkers, will be assisted by a $1.15 million state grant to Kawasaki Rail Car Inc. at i.Park Hudson, the former Otis Elevator factory complex. Kawasaki will invest $16 million to expand its manufacturing operation there and create 80 jobs.