January 11 2021

Economic Development Month in Review: December, 2020

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.

To learn about more the Capital Region’s economic development news from the past month, see CEG’s Economic Development Week in Review posts:

Albany region startups launching new products during the pandemic

“Despite the burdens brought on by the pandemic this year, Albany region startups have managed to introduce their first products to the market.

The Business Review has spoken with several companies this year that have launched products, or soon will, after years of investment and development. Though they have been forced to make adjustments because of the pandemic, they’ve still been able to push ahead during a difficult time.”

Pioneer Bank lends $14 million to First Prize project

“Pioneer Bank has lent $14.4 million to the owners of the former Tobin’s First Prize meat packing plant property on Exchange Street, where an environmental cleanup will take place before redevelopment of the site can happen.

First Prize’s owners have proposed turning the crumbling former factory into an urban-style mixed use commercial property with shops, apartments and other amenities.”

Capital Region BOCES plans $64 million development near Watervliet Shaker Historic District

“The developers of two proposed buildings for the Capital Region BOCES in Colonie had to overcome an objection to constructing them near the Watervliet Shaker Historic District.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation determined in July that a three-story, 165,000-square-foot BOCES Center and Technical Training Center and two-story Maywood School at 925 Watervliet Shaker Road would have a “demonstrable adverse impact” on the West Family Farm complex.”

Photonics program in Albany wins $19 million in defense grants

“AIM Photonics, a federal and state research consortium based in Albany and Rochester that focuses on using light instead of electricity to power computer chips, has won $19 million in grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

AIM Photonics is run by NY CREATES, the nonprofit that oversees industry research programs and real estate at SUNY Poly and other high-tech sites across the state. The program will fund development of laser-on-chip technologies that would be used in autonomous vehicles. Researchers will use a chip fabrication line at the SUNY Poly campus.”

Simmons Machine Tool of Albany pushes beyond rail into aerospace and defense work

“David Davis and Simmons Machine Tool Corp. are teaming up with their German parent company to expand their North American focus beyond freight and commuter rail customers by diving into aerospace and defense work.

Simmons is now responsible for all non-automotive North American sales and technical support for its German parent company NSH Group, Niles-Simmons-Hegenscheidt. Automotive work will continue to be handled by Simmons’ sister company Hegenscheidt Corp. near Detroit.”

What’s happening with startups YDS Medicine, Pill-Locker Technologies and CHAaSM

“Xing Che landed her first contract just a few months after founding a drug discovery company earlier this year.

YDS Medicine is one of numerous Capital Region startups at various stages that are getting assistance at the multiple incubators and accelerators around the area. Here are three of those early tech startups and how they plan to make a wave in their respective industries.”

Startup housed at Albany Med sells 25,000 devices one year after incorporation

“The company ZephyRx was incorporated in August 2019 to create a remote monitoring device for lung disease patients. The startup has now shipped more than 25,000 devices since April to the top 200 hospitals in the country, and that number could double next year.

‘We have a very unique solution, and it’s being adopted extremely rapidly by hospitals all throughout the United States,” said Dwight Cheu, CEO of ZephyRx. “It was the fastest product I’ve ever brought to market.’”

Experts tout advantages of SUNY’s saliva Covid-19 tests

“Sometime in the next few days, officials at the Albany International Airport will choose a location for the airport’s new COVID-19 testing center. Testing of employees throughout the airport, from cargo handlers to the Transportation Security Administration officers, could begin by the end of the week, with public testing later in December.

The saliva tests were developed at the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse by Frank Middleton, an associate professor at the school, said Mantosh Dewan, the school’s interim president. And from Dr. Dewan’s description, they avoid some of the drawbacks of the nearly ubiquitous nasal swabs used in other tests.”

Schenectady school bus-routing company has grown workforce 30 percent through pandemic

“Of all the tech companies operating in the Capital Region, one that specializes in school bus routing software would seem to have some of the worst prospects amid a pandemic that has shut down schools for days, weeks or months at a time.

But Schenectady-based Transfinder has blossomed this year, adding 36 new employees so far in 2020, the bulk of them after the COVID-19 crisis took hold in March and 21 of them in Schenectady. The total workforce as of Monday is 128.”

Restored school to lure filmmakers | Columbia County

“Basilica Hudson co-founders Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone redeveloped an old schoolhouse to create The River House Project, 34 Allen St., as part of an initiative to attract filmmakers upstate.

The couple co-developed and co-own the building, which now houses 12 tenants. Stone is the general contractor. Film production companies, filmmakers, media specialists and an herbalist are leasing space in the building, Auf der Maur said.”

FlowActive prepares FirstDrops plumbing leak detection system for buildings

“The startup FlowActive is in the early production phase of a product that can help building owners save money by identifying water leakages.

The Troy startup’s device, called FirstDrops, can be used to identify leaking toilets in hotels and other multi-unit buildings.”

Stonewall Defense ready produce GPS cargo tracking system for U.S. Department of Defense

“A Watervliet company that’s building a device to help the military track cargo shipments is about ready for production.

Stonewall Defense has created a heavy duty GPS device that can communicate with the Department of Defense’s tracking system to share information on the whereabouts of shipments.”

Jahnel Group workforce hits 100; Schenectady software firm started with 3 in 2012

“The downtown software development company that began with three employees in 2012 — actually two owners and one employee — saw its workforce reach triple digits last week.

The growth of the Jahnel Group in eight years has been a steady line, not a jagged series of spikes, and the two brothers who founded the company credit its internal culture for this.”

Saratoga County gets $121M in new investment from manufacturers and developers

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