August 8 2017

Economic Development Month in Review: July 2017

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:

This startup spun out of SUNY Poly wants to make flexible solar panels cheap

“Two SUNY Polytechnic Institute students are developing a technology that could make flexible solar panels cheaper, and more productive.

Shane McMahon and Graeme Housser started Lux Semiconductors in May 2017 to commercialize technology that makes super thin layers of silicon, which can reduce the cost of flexible solar panels, and other devices.”

Adirondack Studios added jobs prior to landing multimillion contract

“The $2.9 million contract Adirondack Studios landed last month was the result of an investment that saw the company add about 20 jobs last year in a plan to draw new projects to the facility.

‘Now, we will be able to keep those 20 jobs intact and look for more projects,’ said Adirondack Studios Vice President for Development Michael Blau, whose firm employs 160 people. ‘Getting this project was a direct result of adding jobs, including to our sales force, last year.’”

EXCLUSIVE: Bala brothers new video game studio raises $7 million

“Velan Studios, the downtown Troy, New York, video game studio that was started by brothers Guha and Karthik Bala in 2016, has raised $7 million in venture capital.

The series A investment was led by Velan Ventures, and additional undisclosed investors. Velan Ventures is the investment firm formed by the Balas after leaving Vicarious Visions in April 2016.”

Schenectady train station demolition begins, will be replaced by $23 million project

“The plan to replace the Schenectady, New York, train station with a $23 million new one is moving forward.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that the demolition of the nearly 50-year-old station has begun.

The project, which has faced several setbacks, is partially funded by $17 million from the state for construction costs and $2 million for engineering services and other costs.”

Cohoes repeats as state’s fastest-growing city

“For a second consecutive year, the Spindle City has ranked as New York’s fastest growing city, experiencing 2.3 percent year-over-year population growth as of July 1, 2016.

According to a Center for Economic Growth analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, Cohoes saw its population rise by 379, to 16,883, between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016. This follows a 279-person gain over the previous 12 months.”

Duke University signs new partnership with bacteria-killing Troy tech company

“Vital Vio, the Troy, New York, startup that designs lights meant to kill bacteria and germs such as MRSA, E. coli and salmonella, is partnering with Duke University Athletics.

The university started using Vital Vio’s bacteria-killing lights in its recently renovated athletic training center and will soon install them in the sports medicine area of Duke’s new softball stadium.”

Plug Power expands partnership with Wal-Mart in major deal

“Plug Power, the Latham, New York, fuel cell manufacturer, has signed a three-year contract with Wal-Mart that includes the opportunity for Wal-Mart to buy about 17 percent of Plug.

Wal-Mart has been one of Plug Power’s largest customers for years, making up 34 percent of Plug Power’s revenue last year. The company has more than 6,000 Plug Power fuel cells in 31 warehouses in the U.S. and three sites in Canada

Watervliet Arsenal secures $3.5 million in contracts for Iraqi, Afghan, Lebanese armies

“Watervliet Arsenal has secured $3.5 million in contracts to provide mortar components to the Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese armies.

The U.S. Army arsenal in Albany County, New York, will begin delivery in July 2018 and should be complete by 2020, according to a statement by the U.S. Army.”

Adirondacks boat maker, whose customers include Tommy Hilfiger and Kurt Busch, could double production

“George Badcock is negotiating a contract that would expand Hacker Boat Co. Inc.’s sales pipeline throughout Europe and require the mahogany boat maker to double production in the next year.

Badcock, 68, is the president and chief executive of a 109-year-old Silver Bay, New York, company that has hand-made boats for 2017 Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch, clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger and the royal family of Thailand.”

Saratoga Juice Bar’s reach grows as retailers stock up

“Colin and Christel MacLean are moving out of their one remaining non-juice venture to devote full attention to their Saratoga Juice Bar and the line of cold-pressed juices that bears the same name.

The couple, who’ve operated four restaurants in the city, listed their last remaining eatery, the Circus Cafe, for sale last week. This comes as the MacLeans have in rapid succession expanded their product line, added a West Coast production facility and reached deals to put their juice in more locations of more stores, locally and around the Northeast.”

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