December 13, 2013

Buffalo Business First: The blueprint



Buffalo Business First

In Albany, nanotech grew from academia into a boom industry employing thousands. State leaders are now exporting that model across New York with a big bet on Buffalo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s various high-profile announcements over the past year, particularly in Buffalo, have the whiff of a new paradigm.

In each case, the state will make a massive upfront investment on infrastructure it will continue to control.

An established partner from higher education will help guide the process, supplying talent, expertise and institutional cachet.

And a mix of facilities and financial incentives have been used to recruit private companies, with the goal of creating a “clustering” effect that attracts even more.

In Buffalo, the projects include a $50 million laboratory on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and a $225 million clean-energy/tech campus on the waterfront in South Buffalo.

“We’re putting clusters of companies in close proximity, on our development sites, that have synergy with each other and with our SUNY institutions, as well,” said Christina Orsi, Empire State Development Corp.’s regional director.

But the model isn’t new – it’s well-established in the state’s Capital Region, where the nanotechnology industry sprung from laboratories at the University at Albany and now includes tens of thousands of private-sector jobs.

The seeds were planted by Cuomo’s father, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, who directed millions in state funds toward the labs that would foster nano in Albany.

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