Over the past few months, Invest Buffalo Niagara undertook an extensive study of the advanced business services industry in our region. The research team interviewed and polled stakeholders and compiled qualitative and quantitative data on specific industry, subsectors, companies, occupations, education programs and training opportunities.
Another successful Site Selectors Guild Fall Forum is in the books. It is always beneficial for economic developers to interact with site selection consultants to build new relationships and nurture existing ones, as well as learn about developing industry trends and best practices. I was fortunate to be joined by several Upstate NY economic development colleagues in Greenville, South Carolina at the event, which was highlighted by five breakout sessions focused on the theme “The Risk of Complacency.”
When it comes to large economic development projects, every community in the nation pictures itself as Santiago, the experienced fisherman in Hemingway’s classic The Old Man and the Sea, ready to land the “big fish” project in their backyard.
The temperatures outside are beginning to warm slightly, but the industrial real estate markets in both Buffalo Niagara and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) remain scorching hot.
Tight industrial markets with lowering availability and vacancy rates across the Golden Horseshoe make finding a suitable production facility an increasingly difficult task, a dynamic which is diametrically opposed to the market status of just fifteen years ago.
The CBRE|Buffalo team recently released its 2017 Buffalo MarketView reports to a lively crowd of real estate professionals, commercial real estate developers, economic developers, and municipal officials from across the region at Hotel Henry on the Richardson Olmsted Campus.
The middle of January is a time for getting back to normalcy. The hustle and bustle of the holidays and New Year’s celebrations are over. We settle back into the normal flow of work and recreation. Students at all levels return to regular schedules of school and extracurricular activities.
In September, my travels took me to Seattle where (outside of my investigatory work traversing Amazon’s HQ1 and urban campus) I participated in the Fall Forum hosted by the Site Selectors Guild, the premiere professional association of global site selectors.
Among the many factors economic developers must consider for future business development opportunities are changes in global market trends. Trends in technology, supply chain or production capacity rarely change overnight, but closely following target industries can assist economic developers anticipate and prepare for the deals of the future.
Invest Buffalo Niagara and our partners at Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) are working with many economic development, infrastructure, workforce, technology, and education partners to ensure the Western New York/Finger Lakes super region positions itself to be a leading site destination for semiconductor and nanotechnology expansion projects at the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP).
The team at GCEDC has already dedicated 11 years and over $50 million in planning and infrastructure development at the WNY STAMP Campus for critical site readiness initiatives, including site acquisition, environmental review, zoning and permitting considerations, and even archeological work. Our team has developed strong relationships with key contacts within the semiconductor sector through our participation at industry shows such as Semicon West and the Semiconductor Industry Association Annual Awards Dinner.
Know any commercial real estate professionals? We do. Just a few though. Oh, only a little over 300 of them.
Among the many benefits Invest Buffalo Niagara provides to the companies with whom we work is the ability to tap our vast network of local professional service providers, perhaps best evidenced when conducting a commercial real estate search.
The availability of suitable buildings/sites is one of the most important site location decision factors for companies considering an investment in our region. Invest Buffalo Niagara identifies, collects, and transmits commercial real estate data to our prospects by communicating with over 300 commercial realtors, real estate developers, building owners, and economic developers.
The process begins when the prospect provides information on the specific real estate specifications that are necessary for the business’s operation. An email, commonly called a “Site Broadcast,” is created and transmitted to our extensive network of commercial real estate professionals for consideration. Responses are received, organized, and transmitted to the prospect for review and Invest Buffalo Niagara staff communicates with those who submitted sites throughout the project lifecycle.
Additionally, those wishing to conduct a general search of available commercial real estate in the region can do so through Western New York ZoomProspector. The comprehensive database also provides demographic data through detailed community profiles, as well as local business search functionality.
Invest Buffalo Niagara is proud to have such a strong relationship with commercial real estate professionals across the eight counties of Western New York. Bill Heussler, president of the WNY Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors (NYSCAR), was recently elected to serve on Invest Buffalo Niagara’s board of directors and InBN’s research manager Matthew Hubacher (yours truly) serves as our liaison to WNY NYSCAR’s board.
The close working relationships Invest Buffalo Niagara staff enjoys with commercial real estate professionals across the region is of great benefit not only to us, but to the numerous business attraction opportunities we assist in expanding their operations in Western New York.
Shovel Ready – In New York State shovel ready, refers to a site that is “certified” under the Build Now-NY Program. A certified shovel ready site is one where a developer and/or municipality has proactively worked with Empire State Development and undergone required zoning considerations, completed necessary environmental surveys and studies, received proper permits and installed utility infrastructure sufficient for the proposed development.
Economic resurgence abounds in the largest regional economy in New York outside of New York City: We see sustained job growth trending 3% above 2010 levels, a Gross Metro Product boost of over 7% since 2011 – outpacing peer regions such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh - and an increase of 7.5% in exports since 2010.