Strengthen The Region

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CenterState CEO works to create a strong economy by developing proactive and data-driven strategies that focus on the region’s most competitive and emerging industry sectors.  We partner with business leaders, public officials, anchor institutions, economic development allies, and national foundations and think tanks whose expertise lies in regional development to advance our work.

Regional Strategy & Planning

Strategic Partnerships, Regional Leadership

In partnership with the Brookings Institution and regional partners, CenterState CEO developed the CenterState Agenda for Economic Opportunity  and the CenterState NY Export Plan, to advance economic development and business growth strategies for the 12-county CenterState NY region.

The CenterState Agenda for Economic Opportunity’s strategies and initiatives are designed to build on and strengthen the region’s distinctive assets while addressing critical needs to achieve long-term economic success.  Implementation of the Agenda’s initiatives - establish the Data to Decisions Innovation Alliance, launch a regional seed and venture fund, establish a commission on government modernization, implement the CenterState export initiative - are ongoing, charting the course for further opportunities.

The CenterState NY Export Plan is designed to improve regional competitiveness in the global marketplace.  Its core strategies to increase export activity of the region’s top exporters, build export capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises, and expand exports of the region’s key service providers are being realized through the efforts of the Central New York International Business Alliance.

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council

In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 Regional Councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations.

CenterState CEO has played a leadership role on the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council (CNY REDC) since its inception, helping shepherd $844 million to the region, and leading a community-based approach to establishing regional strategies and investment priorities for state funding, while ensuring a strong track record of success.

In 2015, the CNY REDC was one of three regions in the state selected to receive $500 million through the state’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative, for its bold and visionary plan to bring jobs, private investment and greater prosperity to all the region's residents.

Government Modernization

CenterState CEO identified government modernization as a priority for economic development and helped initiate efforts to create Consensus, a local commission to lead New York’s first comprehensive, countywide review of local governance.  Establishing the commission was among the strategies outlined in the region's Metropolitan Business Plan created by CenterState CEO and the Brookings Institution.  Consensus was also named as a signature investment area of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative in 2015.

After 18 months of research and public input, Consensus released more than 50 recommendations on opportunities to reduce the cost of governance, improve services and promote economic growth.  Final recommendations are expected in April 2016 after a period of public comment.

Infrastructure & Urban Revitalization

Urban Revitalization 

CenterState CEO works to advance urban revitalization and enable business growth through improved regional infrastructure, coordinated site redevelopment, and management of key business districts and sites. We work to spur investment, build density and reduce sprawl through catalytic programs, strategic partnerships, and policies that support urban areas.

Tangible results of these efforts can be seen across the community:  from downtown, to University Hill, to the Northside of Syracuse, and beyond.  CenterState CEO has a long history developing and implementing strategies to revitalize vacant or underutilized properties into affordable office and industrial space. Hancock Airpark, Electronics Park, and The Tech Garden are successful projects that are now active centers of business rather than community blights.

Success Story:  Hancock Airpark

Hancock Field Development Corporation (HFDC), a once affiliate of CenterState CEO, completed capital improvements to transform the former Hancock Air Force Base into the largest, shovel-ready site in Onondaga County, now ready for new development. The project serves as an incredible model of efficiency, collaboration and effective planning as CenterState CEO used minimal resources to redevelop and revision this land. Leveraging $12 million in federal and state aid, including an $8 million grant from New York State Assemblyman Al Stirpe, CenterState CEO has driven $42 million in additional private investment. In 2014 development responsibility was transferred to Onondaga County for additional light industrial and commercial growth. The site is now home to tenants including ICM Controls Corp., GA Braun, JADAK Technologies, and Air Innovations, among others.

Success Story:  Pike Block

The Pike Block consists of four historic buildings at the heart of downtown Syracuse’s main street. CenterState CEO and its affiliate, MDF Property Holdings, took a leading role in this transformative project for downtown Syracuse by acquiring the long-vacant properties in 2007, packaging them and negotiating their redevelopment as one project. In 2009, VIP Development was selected as the developer. Since then, VIP has worked to renovate and restore the collection of four 19th century buildings. The more than $25 million development, which utilized various sources of funding including preservation tax credits, has transformed the abandoned buildings into a vibrant commercial and residential complex, and now serves as the headquarters of CenterState CEO and its affiliates.

Success Story:  The Tech Garden

Just ten years ago the space now occupied by The Tech Garden was a dilapidated parking garage. During that same time, the region lagged significantly in the start-up and growth of new companies. Fast forward to today, and The Tech Garden has become a thriving center of progress – a place where entrepreneurs who dare to dream that their ideas can become a business reality, call home. It now supports 70 companies with more than 175 employees; it is one of New York State’s Innovation Hot Spots, allowing eligible businesses income and sales tax abatement for their first five years - a critical time when businesses need every dollar possible to grow; programs CenterState CEO has grown over the last decade are revitalizing, the region’s entrepreneurial spirit – evidenced by the demand for more incubation space and programs which led to its recent expansion.

Air Service Development

CenterState CEO launched its Air Service Development efforts and the Fly Syracuse campaign to ease business travel and attract business. In partnership with the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority, CenterState CEO works directly with airlines to attract new flights, reduce fares, and promote the use of Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Thanks to these efforts, passengers at Hancock Airport have benefited from reduced fares, additional service and new routes, and improved passenger amenities at the airport.

Hancock Airport is served by all major network carriers, including: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, as well as low-cost carriers, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Allegiant Air. Syracuse travelers can choose from more than 120 flights daily, with nonstop service to 27 destinations, including our newest nonstop flights to Dallas-Ft. Worth, served by American Airlines; Denver, served by United and Frontier; and Nashville, served by Allegiant.


Creating Economic Opportunity through Workforce Initiatives

Greater Community Prosperity, Meeting Employer Needs

Work Train develops solutions for industries with persistent, robust demand that offer good wages and opportunities for career advancement. Work Train assists businesses in recruiting, training and retaining skilled employees by listening to their needs and working together to develop innovative solutions. Meanwhile, Work Train also works with community partners to assist residents to access training and obtain careers that pay family-sustaining wages. Through Industry Partnerships, Work Train understands employer needs and leverages existing resources from partners to develop training and workforce strategies that meet industry demand. Work Train currently operates Industry Partnerships in healthcare and manufacturing.

Charting a Future in New Industries

Excelling in Unmanned Systems

Central New York has taken the lead in growing our region through the Unmanned Aerial Systems industry.

In 2011, CenterState CEO, in collaboration with sensor industry leaders  SRC, Inc., SaabSensis, Inc. and Lockheed Martin, began regional outreach to assemble the expertise and resources to found the NUAIR Alliance and successfully compete for the coveted FAA designation as a UAS test site.

NUAIR now connects more than 70 private and public entities and academic institutions working together to operate and oversee UAS test ranges in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan. NUAIR partners with regional industry leaders, educational institutions and public sector partners to recruit industry-specific businesses to the area, offer test-flight opportunities and lead the country in creating industry regulations. Headquartered at Griffiss International Airport, in Rome, New York, NUAIR manages one of just six UAS test sites in the United States leading research and deployment technologies that establish the case for safe UAS operations in the nation’s commercial airspace.

Building on Core Strengths to Bring Data to Decisions

CenterState CEO has long looked to the region’s core and emerging industries for new growth opportunities.  Among the CenterState Agenda for Economic Opportunity’s findings was the identification of embedded regional strengths in sensing, information and cyber security, systems integration and engineering.  Expertise in these fields led to the development of the Data to Decisions technology platform, which seeks to penetrate a rapidly growing industry and the need to provide secure, systematic application of algorithms and architecture to make smart, trusted, real-time decisions. The focus will be to secure the Internet of Things (IOT) at its foundation. The intended outcomes are to develop a “best-in-world” capability in this field, and to catalyze significant economic growth in Central New York by leveraging the region’s strengths, spur product development, and attract world-class talent.

Addressing Unmet Community Needs

Launching a Regional Seed and Venture Fund

Initiated by CenterState CEO, Armory Square Ventures is a new fully independent, returns-oriented venture capital fund targeting the most promising entrepreneurs, businesses and innovations. It is the first new venture capital fund focused on providing new capital for early-stage companies in upstate New York in more than 10 years, and held its first closing in 2014. Development of such a fund was among the priority initiatives identified in the CenterState Agenda for Economic Opportunity, to address the gap in venture funding in the region and the need for greater investment support to emerging businesses in the region.

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