March 31 2017

Economic Development Month in Review: March

For the Top Economic Development News of the Month, CEG selects news articles about projects or developments that promise to improve and/or transform the Capital Region’s economy, particularly those that related to manufacturing and initiatives outlined in Capital 20.20, a five-year, multi-pronged plan for bringing economic prosperity to the entire region.

Convention center dream becomes reality

“Jerry Jennings still remembers when, as a 19-year-old bellhop, he imagined a revitalized convention center in downtown Albany. Five decades and four governors later, the five-term former city mayor watched his vision realized with the official unveiling of the Albany Capital Center.

Construction on the 80,000-square-foot convention center started exactly two years ago. But officials were quick to credit Jennings, who after taking office in 1994 pushed a variety of iterations of the complex. The structure that stands today is smaller than Jennings’ original idea, but he said he was just happy that “we accomplished what we started out to do.”

Union College planning $100 million project

“Union College is launching a $100 million project to expand and renovate its Science and Engineering Center, the biggest project in school history.

The project at the private, liberal arts college in Schenectady will be completed in phases over the next two years. An addition to the current building is planned to open in fall 2018, and renovations to the three current sections are planned to open in fall 2019.”

Unnamed donor gives $4M to UAlbany engineering school

“An anonymous, $4 million donation has brought a long-sought engineering school at the University at Albany closer to reality.

The gift is the first seven-figure donation to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences that will occupy the Schuyler Building, located on Western Avenue, which was Albany’s high school until 1974.”

After a refigure, better job figures

“Newly revised figures show the Capital Region gained 6,800 jobs for the year, from 456,700 in 2015 to 463,500.

It’s a far cry from the earlier, somber federal data that showed job losses locally — figures that state labor markets analyst James Ross had questioned. In the 12-month period ending in August, for example, figures had shown a loss of 1,600 jobs, even as more complete data, which lag the reports by about six months, had shown strong gains.”

Solar power use soaring in Capital Region

“After five years of huge growth in the Capital Region, solar power is poised for further expansion as area installers add staff and move forward under long-awaited regulatory changes issued this past week by the state.

One local company doubled its business last year, another is doubling its staff this year, and both are optimistic that the solar-friendly environment in New York will continue as the method of reimbursing solar power producers is revamped.”

UAlbany biochemists make breakthrough in Ebola detection

“Mehmet Yigit can pinpoint the strain and source of Ebola virus killing a person. All he needs is a vial of their urine and a well-lit room.

At the University at Albany, the assistant chemistry professor has developed a breakthrough process to detect the virus that killed more than 11,000 people in 2014 in West Africa.”

New blood test developed at RPI may identify autism

“An algorithm developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute may accurately predict whether a child is on the autism spectrum of disorder.

The algorithm, based on levels of metabolites found in a blood sample, is the first physiological test for autism and opens the door to earlier diagnosis and potential future treatment.”

Center for Economic Growth surpasses $6 million campaign goal

The Center for Economic Growth has eclipsed its $6 million fundraising goal as the Albany, New York, organization works to expand its marketing and job retention efforts.

The region’s largest economic development group shifted its campaign strategy last fall and started seeking larger donations instead of relying on annual membership dues. The move was designed to help provide more funding for business retention and communications. The transition also is intended to provide more clarity by allowing CEG to be more certain about its revenue stream over the next few years.

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