See the 10 projects the Finger Lakes is pinning its future on

Nov 2, 2011

After months of keeping project details close to the vest, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council has announced the ten projects it's throwing its weight behind, as it compiles its competitive application for state economic development cash.

The priority projects run the gamut from a $300 million biofuel plant, to a Finger Lakes natural history museum.

Here's more info on the priority projects.

So now it's your turn: Is this what the future of the Finger Lakes economy should look like?

  1. U.S. Renewables Group - One of the nation's largest renewable energy investment firms is proposing a two-phase project that will create a "clean tech cluster" at Kodak's Eastman Business Park. The first phase would create a $300 million plant that would create biofuel out of household waste. The biofuel project would be headed up by Fulcrum BioEnergy - a California-based company that is currently pursuing plans to build a facility in the Reno, Nev. area. The second phase of the so-called "Empire State Accelerated Clean Technology Innovation Initiative" is the creation of a fund that would draw more clean tech business to Eastman Business Park. The total project cost is listed at $242.6 million. The council is recommending $11.5 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 1,200, plus 500 construction jobs.
     
  2. Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative - The "Finger Lakes region" (that's as specific as it gets) is proposing a $40 million support center that would help small businesses and tech startups scale-up toward commercialization. According to the council's strategic plan, the facility would be located by the Rochester airport with "satellite nodes" in each of the region's nine counties. The total project cost is listed at $40 millionThe council is recommending $10 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 1,070 direct jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs.
     
  3. Regional Internal Harvesting and Economic Gardening - No, your internal organs won't be at risk. With this $15 million initiative, a handful of Finger Lakes economic development organizations (including Greater Rochester Enterprise, the region's industrial development agencies, and Monroe Community College) are trying to create a program to "harvest" information on existing companies. The goal is to help companies expand by acting on good data. The total project cost is listed at $15 millionThe council is recommending $500,000 in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 500.
     
  4. The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT - RIT's green tech institute is asking for $10 million from the state to equip a set of labs that will help "corporations tap into the expertise of faculty and students," according to the council's strategic plan. The project has already received $13.1 million from Washington and $10 million from New York State. RIT is trying to position itself as the "test bed" for emerging technologies. The total project cost is listed at $107 millionThe council is recommending $5 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 750 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs.
     
  5. University of Rochester Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation - The U of R and IBM are teaming up to tackle the nation's health problems by using high-performance computers. The $100 million project seeks to cement the University of Rochester Medical Center as a "international center for biomedical research." U of R and IBM have committed $66 million to the initiative. They want New York State to cover the rest. The total project cost is listed at $100 millionThe council is recommending $5 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 400 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs.
     
  6. NY-BEST Commercialization Center - The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-Best) is proposing a manufacturing center, preferably at Kodak's Eastman Business Park. NY-BEST is trying to develop batteries that can store energy from solar and wind power plants. NY-BEST is made up of some of the country's leading manufacturers, including General Electric, BAE Systems and General Motors. The total project cost is listed at $200 millionThe council is recommending $2.5 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 220 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs.
     
  7. Seneca AgBio Green Energy Park - Earlier this week we reported on an energy firm setting up shop at the old Seneca Army Depot. The facility is pursuing a $16 million expansion that would help that energy firm, and two others, increase production. The Energy Park is asking for $1 million in taxpayer help. The total project cost is listed at $16 millionThe council is recommending $1 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 60.
     
  8. Finger Lakes Museum - Keuka College is leading efforts to build a natural history museum in Keuka Lake State Park. The museum would showcase the natural and cultural assets of the Finger Lakes region, in an attempt to bolster the local tourist economy. The total project cost is listed at $38 millionThe council is recommending $2 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 37 direct jobs and 50 indirect jobs.
     
  9. Finger Lakes Health Cooperative - A coalition of local organizations is proposing a public health campaign. The campaign would focus on high blood pressure and the ailments that stem from it. The total project cost is not listed in the strategic plan. The council is recommending $500,000 in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 20.
     
  10. Midtown Redevelopment and Tower - The beleaguered site of the former Midtown Plaza mall still needs more money to get in shovel-ready shape. To date, New York State has committed $66 million to the downtown redevelopment project. The City of Rochester is requesting another $2 million for transforming the former Midtown Tower into the focal point of the mixed-use property. The total project cost is listed at $73 millionThe council is recommending $2 million in state support. The estimated job creation is listed at 685, plus 330 construction jobs.

An Empire State Development spokeswoman tells the Innovation Trail that the council will be accepting public comments on the priority projects until Sunday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m.

Here's the latest draft, beginning with more details on the priority projects.

Finger Lakes Draft Strategic Plan 11-1-11