December 11, 2013 Updated: December 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Mohawk Valley, North County, Capital Region, Southern Tier and Long Island are the big winners in this year's round of competitive state economic development grants. Each region won more than $80 million in tax breaks, funding and capital.
Western New York, the Finger Lakes Region, the Mid-Hudson Region, central New York and New York City will each get about $60 million in this third year of the awards. In all, $715.9 million in grants were awarded Wednesday.
The "top performers" that won the largest grants were judged by state officials as the most promising and essential plans proposed by regional councils of top business, academic and local government leaders. They included biomedical research facilities, tourism improvements and resort hotels.
In all, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that 824 projects will be backed statewide. He said the strength of the "bottom-up" approach develops job-producing projects. It replaces complete control from Albany, which Cuomo said has failed to keep or attract employers for decades.
"We chased people from the state," Cuomo said. But he added: "Nobody wanted to leave the state of New York. We just had to let our assets shine."
The resources include state tax breaks for new and expanding companies, borrowing authority and some cash. Most projects involve partnerships between businesses and local colleges. The funding includes $150 million in capital cash, $70 million in tax credits and more than $530 million from existing economic development funds that had been disbursed directly by state agencies before Cuomo revamped the process.
Among the proposals chosen Wednesday were:
—$81.9 million to the Southern Tier, including funds for downtowns and main streets; $2.25 million to Elmira College to create a health care training center; $1.3 million to help build a new hotel in Margaretville; and $850,000 to reinvest in a long shuttered bottling plant to attract new businesses to Delaware County.
—$82.4 million to the Mohawk Valley including $5 million for the Utica Harbor Point development project on the Mohawk River; $3.25 million to the Marcy Nanocenter high-technology project; and $3.1 million to create a workforce training center the State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica and Rome.
—$81.3 million to the North Country including $6 million to improve and expand broadband computer service; $5 million to help turn the Hotel Saranac into a full-service hotel to encourage year-round tourism in the Adirondacks; and $2 million to build a new resort and waterfront restaurant.
—$82.8 million to the Capital Region including $5 million to continue growth at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which is spinning off from the state University at Albany to expand work statewide; $5 million to turn a former train factory in downtown Schenectady into waterfront development; and $1 million to create a development site in downtown Troy.
—$83 million to Long Island as it recovers from Superstorm Sandy including $2 million to SUNY at Stony Brook to support Cuomo's Start-Up New York program, which will offer new employers in select sites 10 years of operation without taxes; $2 million for the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to accelerate research efforts; and $2 million to Brookhaven National Laboratory and Hofstra University for high-tech resources.
—$60.8 million to Western New York including $1 million to SUNY Buffalo to expand computer resources and $1 million to the town of Lockport to renovate a commercial shopping center and build a hockey arena.
—$59.8 million to the Finger Lakes Region including $1.5 million to transform a polluted industrial site into a mixed-use neighborhood in the Canandaigua Lakefront Redevelopment Project.
—$59.6 million to the Mid-Hudson Valley including $1 million to build a biomass plant in Orange County that converts organic waste to energy.
—$57.4 million to New York City including $3.5 million for development of St. George's Ferry Terminal that will include a hotel, restaurant and retail outlets.