Today, Invest Buffalo Niagara’s president and CEO sat on the Power Breakfast: Economic Development panel hosted by Buffalo Business First.
The other panelists included Steve Brady, Niagara County IDA; Brandye Merriweather, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation; Michael Montante, Uniland Development; and Mary Casilio Powell, Casilio Companies.
The group talked about economic development trends in Buffalo Niagara, steered by James Fink, Business First reporter.
The benefits of Buffalo Niagara’s regional approach were highlighted. Panelists discussed how both the city, suburbs, and rural communities can succeed simultaneously, because each prospective expansion or relocation project is different. Some life sciences companies would fit the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus well downtown. Other advanced manufacturing opportunities would find more success in the suburbs. Agribusiness opportunities may prefer a rural county.
“Economic development is all about balance,” Kucharski said.
The regional approach also includes Buffalo Niagara’s innate geography, being right on the Canadian border. Invest Buffalo Niagara’s over 90 Canadian wins were highlighted as an example of the business case for the region. Power is both plentiful and affordable. Incentives are offered often. Made in the U.S. labels are attainable. And, most importantly, there is an entirely new, and large, market in the U.S.
For context, the panelists dove into the history of economic development in the region to understand both the present and future. Previous inaction has been replaced by momentum.
“You have to have enough successes to first survive, and then grow,” said Kucharski. “We had enough wins to grow.”
The region is now on the top of site selector’s minds, according to Casilio, who said she was a ‘rock star’ of sorts in a recent trip to Cleveland. Buffalo Niagara is continuing its ascension into the national conversation on business and quality of life.
“We have a great quality of life,” Kucharski said. “People are starting to discover that.”