Week in Review: February 1 – February 5, 2021
Stay up-to-date on business and economic development happenings in the Capital Region with the CEG Economic Development Week in Review. Don’t miss out on the developments that are transforming the region by following us on:
CEG IN THE NEWS
Times Union: Venture B session to hear presentation of semiconductor planarization
REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Calm before the Blizzard: Vicarious Visions studio head looks forward to ‘bright future’ after merger
“As an estimated $72 billion game developer, Blizzard is responsible for multi-million dollar franchises like World Of Warcraft, Diablo, StarCraft and Overwatch, and has built up an international reputation of creating expansive multiplayer experiences over the years. But now, another major player is grabbing a controller to join Blizzard’s team: Colonie-based Vicarious Visions.
‘The future that we have at Blizzard is so bright,’ Ebejer said. ‘And I’m just stoked, frankly, to be part of this next chapter of Vicarious Visions’ story and I’m humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be the studio head of the company during this time. I’m just super excited.’”
National Grid upgrades electrical system in Saratoga County
“National Grid’s new $14 million substation on Lasher Road in the town of Ballston may not raise many eyebrows since it was built in a very rural area of Saratoga County.
But in many ways, the project was unique in terms of local farming and future economic development in the region.”
Maria College’s Thomas Gamble on the bottleneck in health care workforce development
“Even when forced to adjust operations during the pandemic, Maria College transitioned about 100 new nurses into the Capital Region workforce last year.
And Maria College has expanded its offerings during that time. A master’s degree program in occupational therapy started last fall, and its academic partnership with Siena College was expanded with a few new programs.”
Watervliet Shaker Road land sold for new Capital Region BOCES campus in Latham
“The farmland where Capital Region BOCES is building a new $64 million campus in Colonie has sold for $2.7 million.
Rosetti Acquisitions LLC sold the 15.6-acre parcel at 925 Watervliet Shaker Road to CIDC Colonie II LLC of Lakewood Ranch, Florida, according to a deed filed in the Albany County clerk’s office.”
Schenectady route-mapping software firm Transfinder boosts revenue, again
“The $18.9 million in revenue — a 13% increase over 2019 — came amid the COVID crisis and the widespread shutdown of schools, potentially a damaging situation for a company that relies on school bus fleet operators for most of its business.
But the company adapted to the situation and its clients’ needs, and grew so much that it hired 37 new employees in 2020.”
Rural NY counties fared better than urban on sales tax in 2020
“A majority of counties statewide saw an increase in sales tax collections in 2020, despite the slowdown or halt of many retail operations due to COVID-19.
But the counties that fared best were small and rural, possibly due to the widespread consumer shift to online purchases amid the pandemic, the Office of the State Comptroller said Tuesday.”
Swimming pool builder Concord Pools increases staff amid booming sales
“A year after acquiring Concord Pools & Spas, owner and chief executive Jon Foshee is nearly doubling his construction staff, remodeling his Latham showroom and raising the bar on the number of pools he plans to build in 2021.
Even after losing eight weeks of the 2020 construction season due to the statewide government-mandated shutdown from Covid-19, Concord still managed to build or install 167 swimming pools last year. That was 15 more than the company completed the previous year.”
Jeff Buell, Ray Gillen, Kathy Sheehan and Reif Larsen on the future of Capital Region cities
“When leasing started at the Kenmore on North Pearl Street in Albany last spring, Redburn Development Partners received 2,000 requests for showings of 93 apartments.
The re-imagined former Kenmore Hotel building was full by September, and it happened in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
NYC investors unveil Game Farm plans
“New attractions will be coming to the former Catskill Game Farm under the guidance of new owners.
The 200-acre site was home to more than 2,000 animals, including the celebrated giraffe named April, from 1933 until the business closed in 2006 after 73 years of operation.”
Vorpal Board grows subscriber based for virtual tabletop games service
“A Capital Region startup has recently started selling a product that allows users to more easily play tabletop games virtually with others.
The service provided by Vorpal Board includes a virtual platform with numerous functions that allow players to roll dice, play cards and move board pieces, all while the host coordinates the virtual and real-world boards.”
Plug Power, fuel cell manufacturer, wants to build $264 million hydrogen generation plant near Buffalo
“Fuel cell maker Plug Power wants to construct a $264 million hydrogen generation plant in western New York to supply freight haulers and off-road material handlers.
The Latham manufacturer is preparing to build a 40-ton plant in the 1,243-acre Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in the town of Alabama, 35 miles east of Buffalo. It would be the first zero-emission hydrogen generation site of its kind in the northeastern United States.”
GE wins $14 million to make water out of air
“Scientists at General Electric’s research lab in Niskayuna are working on new technology that would allow U.S. soldiers to brew drinking water on the battlefield out of nothing but the oxygen in the air.
The new technology would be so light and effective compared to current water-making technologies that GE is calling it a “game changer.’”