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Can Billion Dollar "Shock and Awe" Investment Jump-Start Buffalo's Economy?
The help Buffalo "[turn] around an economy that has missed out on much of the nation’s growth over the past half century", the State of New York is planning to replicate an economic development strategy that spurred billions of dollars in private investment and created thousands of jobs in Albany, explains Robinson. "The Buffalo Billion is following the Albany model to try to create a hub for clean energy research and manufacturing, as well as a center for medical genomics research centered around the University at Buffalo’s supercomputing capabilities."
"But the most immediate benefit of the Buffalo Billion is its 'shock and awe' value. It has already brought the Buffalo Niagara region notice as a place where something is going on. State officials hope that positive attention will build on the Buffalo Billion’s momentum."
Robinson details nine projects that are in line to receive funding as part of the initiative:
- $225 million towards a high tech manufacturing innovation hub at RiverBend
- $50 million towards a medical innovation and commercialization hub
- $50 million towards a genomic research partnership
- $10+ million towards workforce training and development
- "ten of millions" towards an Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Competitiveness
- $20 million towards the downtown Niagara Falls development challenge
- $11.5 million towards Robert Moses Parkway removal
- $4.5 million to stimulate the city's visual effects industry
- an unknown amount to help transform a vacant mall owned by the city of Niagara Falls into a mixed-use complex