Plastic injection molding. Food processing. Steel fabrication. All of these industries have one thing in common: Heavy power use. These operations often run multiple shifts or even 24 hours per day using an immense amount of power. Soaring operational costs, especially utility costs and energy needs, are a hot topic for companies across the nation. The Buffalo Niagara region offers a solution: A combination of low electric utility costs and unique incentive programs like hydropower allocation.
One of the most important ways Invest Buffalo Niagara can assist companies with an expansion project is through the identification of suitable commercial real estate. Utilizing our vast market knowledge and close relationships with the commercial real estate professionals across our region, Invest Buffalo Niagara conducts site searches and presents the findings to our prospects in a timely, detail-orientated manner. Similar to the consideration of incentive programs, there are some important factors to keep in mind before engaging in a commercial real estate search for a business expansion project.
Many businesses are utilizing these unprecedented times to strategize on business growth and innovation. Growing your business – whether it is through the development of new products, entering new markets, or organic market opportunities – often requires additional staff and an increased physical footprint. Here are some important considerations companies should have top of mind before the business expansion process begins.
In which geographies is your business, or even your employees, equipment, and building, at risk of catastrophic natural disasters?
Not in Buffalo Niagara.
Buffalo Niagara is one of the safest areas from natural disasters. The risk for a business is significantly lower and should be considered when weighing location decisions for relocations or expansions.
Trulia and CityLab named Buffalo the fourth safest city from natural disasters in 2017. The story also points out that Western New York is affordable, on top of being safe (Check out our Cost of Living Calculator to crunch the numbers yourself).
This map below from The New York Times also shows how safe from natural disasters the Buffalo Niagara region is.
The map specifically values earthquakes lower than other disasters because of their relative infrequency, which may be why the West Coast is surprisingly covered in green circles. Though they may be infrequent, when a quake does hit, damage can be lasting. Buffalo Niagara is virtually untouched by the sprawling effects of tornado, hurricane, and earthquakes.
But, what about the snow you say?
To a certain extent, that’s fair. The international image of Buffalo is one covered in snow. And we’d be lying if we told you it didn’t snow here. There’s also 205 sunny days a year, but yes, it snows a bit. However, not as much as people think and well… snow is fun. Snow creates a fourth season to enjoy. In Buffalo, snow allows outdoor enthusiasts exercise and bliss of activities like snowboarding, skiing, sledding, and ice skating. Yes, it snows a bit.
More importantly, when the snow does hit, we’re prepared for it. Buffalo Niagara is built for snow, with the infrastructure and equipment to operate almost completely unaffected. The climate in Buffalo Niagara is actually a benefit to certain companies. Large data centers often run the risk of technology overheating and food processing companies can struggle to keep required temperatures.
When Invest Buffalo Niagara helped to attract Oath (Yahoo at the time) to Western New York, one of the big reasons for their ultimate decision was the safety from risk and temperate climate that could be used to naturally cool equipment.
Our region is well-equipped to handle snow and even storms, with a large plow network and removal operation. And, most importantly, snow melts. Hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes do lasting and irreversible damage. It’s risky business.
There was a time in Buffalo Niagara’s not too distant past where industrial real estate availability hovered around or above the double-digits, absorption rates were routinely negative and the local economy suffered mightily as manufacturing operations closed shop permanently or moved overseas.
Buffalo Niagara’s general economic resurgence has been positively impacted by the diversification of industries in our economy, howeveradvanced manufacturingremains our third largest industry sector with 66,000 employees.
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.