Report: Start-Up NY job growth slow statewide

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

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In its first two years, Start-Up NY has created more tax-free zones than it has actual jobs, according to a report released July 1.

The program has created 408 new jobs: 76 in 2014 and 332 in 2015, according to the report from Empire State Development Corp., the state agency that oversees the program.

Start-Up NY offers a 10-year reprieve from state and local taxes to new or growing businesses in the state, if they locate in specific locations in New York partnered with public and private college campuses.

While 441 locations and more than 5 million square feet in the state have been designated as Start-Up NY space, according to the report, job growth hasn’t exactly matched up. In the Mid-Hudson region — which includes Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster and Putnam — 5 jobs were created in 2015, all in Kingston, according to the report.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has touted the program since its start, calling it one of the most ambitious economic development initiatives in the state in decades. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent in advertising, catching the eye of New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. DiNapoli released an audit of Cuomo’s economic development initiatives as a whole in 2015 that said Empire State Development had spent $211 million in advertising with “no tangible results.”

Far from being advertised, the latest report on Start-Up NY was unceremoniously posted on the Empire State Development website late in the afternoon on a Friday before a holiday weekend. The report was legally due March 31. The actual job numbers can be found only in a footnote on the tenth page of the report.

Instead, the report highlights other numbers, such as the 159 total companies enrolled in the program as of December 31, 2015 and the more than $230 million they are committed to invest over five years. The program expects it will reach 4,100 jobs created within five years.

“We’re on a great trajectory,” Start-Up NY executive vice president Leslie Whatley told The Associated Press. “The first year was all about building the program. Now we’re starting to see momentum.”

Whatley is leaving her position as leader of Start-Up NY at the end of the month for a private-sector job in Connecticut.

While Westchester had no locations or companies listed on an appendix to the job report, there are Start-Up NY locations within the county:

  • BioInc@NYMC, a biotech incubator in Valhalla run by New York Medical College, has about 12,000 square feet of space.
  • SUNY Purchase College has a small amount of space, 97 square feet in an administrative building. Elizabeth Robertson, director of government relations and strategic projects at Purchase, said the school could expand on that space if it finds the right company.
  • College of New Rochelle has 20,334 square feet of space on its main campus in New Rochelle. The space is still vacant and the school is in discussions with Montefiore Medical Center and seeking state funding for renovations, said Lenore Carpinelli, a spokesperson for CNR.
  • Iona College has about 9,000 square feet of designated space on its New Rochelle campus, and another 50,000 square feet at its Rockland Graduate Center in Pearl River. In January, Iona announced that Syncsort Inc., a big-data software provider, will move into the Pear River space, relocating its headquarters from Woodcliff Lake in New Jersey’s Bergen County. The company is expected to bring all of its 145 employees across the state border when it makes the move, the Business Journal reported in January.

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About the author

Ryan Deffenbaugh covers energy, education, food and beverage and the Sound Shore for the Westchester County Business Journal. He previously worked for Westchester Magazine and The Citizen daily newspaper (Auburn, N.Y.). He started with the Westchester County Business Journal in March 2016.

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