The Upstate Economy

Business and economic developments affecting the central and northern regions of upstate New York.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Now that the Mohawk Valley Health System has secured the necessary state funding, designs are underway for its new hospital in downtown Utica. Officials working on the project say the hospital will breathe new life into downtown and make the surrounding area more attractive. But that could come at the expense of dozens of businesses that are already operating in the proposed footprint.

WhiteHouse.Gov

President Donald Trump hosted the owners of Oneida County's Sherrill Manufacturing at the White House Wednesday for a "Made in America" showcase. At a roundtable discussion with 20 small businesses, he praised the company's co-owner Gregg Owens for being the country's only remaining silverware manufacturer.

"What happened?" Trump asked.

"Well, everybody else went overseas chasing cheap labor," Owens said.

"That's terrible," Trump said. "I'm not surprised, but it is really somewhat surprising when you say the only. That's a hell of a statement."

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

The historically high water levels on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River this year have presented those in the shipping industry with both challenges and opportunities.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The residential growth in downtown Syracuse shows no sign of slowing down, with the newest property almost filled.

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield moved it’s offices to the suburbs in 2008, it left a gaping hole in downtown Syracuse. The Warren Street complex actually is made up of four buildings, and that’s what Graziano Zazzara has repurposed into dozens of luxury apartments.

"We opened up four months ago, started renting apartments, and we have one left out of 89," Zazzara said. 

Syracuse University photo by Stephen Sartori

A study of the central New York labor market finds a disconnect between people looking for jobs and organizations trying to hire.

The non-profit Onondaga Citizens League conducted a year-long study of the employment picture in the region, called ““How CNY Works.” The report includes some positive statistics – like the fastest-growing occupation (computer and information research scientists), and the industries with the most growth (management of companies and enterprises).

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council / File

Plans for creating an inland cargo port in the central New York remain in limbo. The proposal for an inland port was part of an Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant , that the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council won in 2015.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

NASA participated in a drone demonstration Wednesday at the Griffiss International Airport, which those involved in the test say was a milestone for their work and the future of the drone industry.

WXXI News

Three massive tanks in the shape of 60-foot-tall beer cans lie on their side on a barge, as a red tugboat pushes them down the last leg of their journey along the Erie Canal.

The Genesee Beer Co. is shipping a total of a dozen of these tanks to Rochester as part of a massive modernization project, and public relations campaign. The fermentation tanks will be used to brew millions of bottles of beer at a time and were too large to ship by truck or train.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Spring flooding along Lake Ontario is damaging many homes along the shoreline, and it’s hurting people who have businesses there. Now, business owners say it will take a long time to recover -- even after the floodwaters go away.

Marge’s is a little bungalow bar in Rochester. Inside, there's a small wooden bar and a few games, but you don't go to Marge’s to stay inside.

Out back is a big stretch of beach looking out over Lake Ontario. There's a tiki hut and frozen drink machine, and live music on the weekends.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

As residents continue to deal with the high water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, businesses along the shore are preparing for the all important Memorial Day weekend. One town along the river is waiting to see if the weekend will be an indicator of how tourism will be this season.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Developers are asking the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency for tax breaks to build a new Hampton Inn in Syracuse’s trendy Armory Square neighborhood. But it comes at a time when new hotels are sprouting up all over central New York.

Small NY cities wonder whether to fund stadiums

Apr 22, 2017
Gabe Altieri / WSKG News

Public money is often used to fund stadium upgrades. Elected officials say it builds up a local economy by attracting businesses, who want to set up nearby, and people, who spend their dollars in the city.

That claim is debated in major league cities around the country. But what about smaller cities, like Elmira and Binghamton? Could stadiums benefit those economies?

Nola Agha, a researcher at the University of San Francisco, set out to find the impact of minor league baseball stadiums on local economies.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The growth of the security industry, coupled with a bit of government funding, is allowing one Syracuse security system company to expand its workforce. According to the Cuomo administration, Rapid Response Monitoring Systems is expected to create more than 275 jobs in its workforce over the next year as part of a $14 million expansion.

Of that $14 million, $2.5 million was given by the state to encourage the company to stay in central New York; almost half of that through an Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant and the rest through Excelsior tax credits.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Nearly 20 years after the Miller Brewing Plant in Fulton closed its doors, a new craft malt house is opening in the same factory.

The 1886 Malt House is setting up shop in what is now the Sunoco ethanol plant, where more than 25 million bushels of corn are processed every year. The two businesses will share the facility's scale house, lab technicians and maintenance employees. The actual malting of the barley will take place on the north side of the plant.

Lockheed Martin

Three years after the Lockheed Martin plant in suburban Syracuse was nearly closed, the Salina location has received the single largest contract in its history. Changing methods of warfare have paved the way for more production of a special kind of radar made in central New York.

business.syrgov.net

The city of Syracuse has developed a business web portal that allows users to access information to start or grow their businesses. The database application is meant to spur economic development in small businesses.

U.S. Census Bureau / Empire Center for Public Policy

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that New York's statewide population fell for the first time in a decade, largely a result of upstate population losses outpacing the gains made downstate.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A new report from the Brookings Institution puts the Syracuse metropolitan area last out of the country’s 100 largest metro areas in adding jobs from 2010 to 2015. The Syracuse metro area consists of Onondaga, Oswego and Madison counties. But some of the data is not as bad as it seems for the region.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Despite continued downsizing at Fort Drum, the base's impact on the local economy actually increased in 2016.

The northern New York army base spent nearly $1.2 billion dollars last year. That's down by about $300 million from 2015 with most of those cuts from payroll. That influx of money indirectly supported about $400 million in economic activity across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

More than a year ago, the central New York region was awarded $500 million over five years from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative. Some critics say the money has not yet gone to some of the region’s big projects.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said she is not satisfied because funding for a veterans complex, inland port and the city’s Say Yes to Education program has not materialized.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce is becoming an integrated affiliate of CenterState CEO, central New York's principal economic development organization. Those involved in the partnership say it will help Oswego county share in the growth of the region.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Oswego County is embarking on its first comprehensive economic study in decades. The county legislature and Oswego County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) will split the cost of hiring a Saratoga Springs-based consultant to develop a plan for advancing the local economy. The goal is to identify impediments to economic growth and untapped development opportunities.

Michael Treadwell is the CEO of the Oswego County IDA. He says the study will also offer a fresh perspective on what existing assets the county can use to spur economic growth.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Inside a factory near Oneida, a roll of flat, shiny steel slowly inches into a machine that cuts, imprints and bends the metal, spitting out two shells on the other end. Sherrill Manufacturing CEO Matt Roberts says the way this machine fuses those two halves to form the handle of a knife,  through a process called brazing, is one of a kind. But this machine is not the only unique thing about this factory.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council / File

The lack of progress on creation of an inland port in the Syracuse area is frustrating central New York business boosters.

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson says in the last six months central New York has lost out on two big opportunities to create jobs, because of lack of an inland port.

via Flickr

Part of the economic growth strategy Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out in his State of the State speech in Syracuse includes the creation of high-tech jobs. Cuomo announced the state will invest $30 million into the Saab company, which will add about 250 new jobs to Syracuse and make its facility their new North American headquarters. Cuomo said the development of radar and sensing technology fits perfectly into drone industry.

"Nationwide, this is an industry that has tremendous potential," Cuomo said. "We want the home of it and the capitol of it to be central New York and it will.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York’s economy continues to lag behind others across the country and in upstate, according to the CenterState CEO annual economic forecast. 

LtGovHochulNY / Flickr

Officials in the Mohawk Valley are scrambling to find a replacement tenant for a semiconductor chip fabrication plant in Marcy after its main corporate partner dropped out. But officials say they are still optimistic about the future of the project.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Upstate Medical University moved 340 employees to a new location in downtown Syracuse bringing their downtown workforce to about 400. Businesses are also moving downtown as part of a revitalization of the district.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt was once a major holiday shopping destination. But in recent years, more and more stores have moved out, leaving a shell of a building. And it doesn’t look like things will be changing soon.

Julia Botero / WRVO News File Photo

Every year, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, raises millions of fish to be stocked in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

The hatchery raises several species of fish, but their pride and joy is the chinook salmon. Each fall, employees harvest millions of eggs, fertilize them, incubate them, and raise the fish until they're ready to be released into the wild.

This time of year, Les Resseguie and his team are overseeing millions of chinook eggs -- each about the size of a pea -- incubating in big trays in the hatchery’s basement.

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