SUNY Adirondack ideal place to start

Ed Bartholomew, the economic development chief in Warren County, doesn’t expect a flood of inquiries

Ed Bartholomew, the economic development chief in Warren County, doesn’t expect a flood of inquiries now that SUNY Adirondack’s plan for participating in START-UP NY is approved.

But he does expect interest from companies.

Like other public and private colleges in the state, SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury, formerly known as Adirondack Community College, was quick to get in line for START-UP NY. The initiative, announced by the state last year, exempts companies from taxes for 10 years if they locate at or near colleges and partner with them in some way to create new jobs and growth.

The colleges have been stepping forward with ideas for usable space and possible academic/research collaborations, which the state must approve before any square footage can be offered. Another round of state review also is required before specific deals can be struck.

Last week, the first dozen companies to pass muster for the tax breaks were announced in Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca and New York City. For their part, the companies pledged to invest $50 million in their new operations and to generate nearly 400 jobs.

The state created a START-UP NY website when the initiative launched that includes a database of potential space that can be searched by region or property type (research, manufacturing, office). A quick check of properties in the Capital Region shows approved sites associated with the University at Albany and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, as well as newly OK’d space at Schenectady County Community College.

SUNY Adirondack has space listed there, too — lots of it. The list is identical to what Bartholomew’s group, EDC Warren County, offers on its own website as available in local business/industrial parks — which really isn’t a surprise since the group has been working closely with the college.

Soon after I finished an interview with Bartholomew in his office in Glens Falls, where he also oversees city economic development efforts, he said he got word that SUNY Adirondack’s plan had been approved.

I had asked whether he expected a flood of inquiries after approval, but he spoke about a steady stream — similar to his experience since the state began advertising START-UP NY late last year. (New York reportedly has spent some $15 million on 30-second TV spots for the program through March, more than half of it in out-of-state markets.)

Bartholomew called the ad push “brilliant” because it opened the door to conversations about why companies should locate in New York. Not every business curious about START-UP NY will qualify, he said, but they might find another suitable program.

In the same way, it’s good to have the “great diversity” of Warren County sites available for START-UP NY, he said, since “one location doesn’t fit” all businesses.

Also working in the county’s favor under the program? “Our region is known for the quality of the workforce,” Bartholomew said.

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