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Links Roundup – Inside New York State Edition

May 31, 2012

 

IDAs need wider focus
Buffalo News
The good news is that the Amherst Industrial Development agency is doing a bang-up job in producing jobs, although not necessarily industrial jobs. The bad news is that it still doesn’t get it—or at least doesn’t admit to getting it.
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Staten Island business leaders: We need to aim higher
SILive.com
Part of the complacency in not seeking broader opportunities may be due to a friendlier City Hall under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations some believe, including Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City.
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Fitch Affirms Brighter Choice Charter Schools (NY) at ‘BBB-’; Outlook Stable
MarketWatch (press release)
NEW YORK, May 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Fitch Ratings affirms its ‘BBB-’ rating on the approximately $17.9 million of the City of Albany (City) Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) civic facility revenue bonds issued on behalf of the Brighter Choice
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Labor group laments economic development efforts
Niagara Gazette
New York City’s industrial development agency has the ability to do this, but the power isn’t widespread throughout the state, Duwe said. “We always hear the economy in Niagara and Orleans counties is so bad, the only way we can attract business
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Agency modifies AES agreement
Buffalo News
By Richard E. Baldwin SANBORN — Directors of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency approved a modification Wednesday in the payment- in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with bondholders of AES Somerset and an abatement of the mortgage
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Hain Celestial to Relocate to Lake Success
Patch.com
Thanks to tax incentives through the State of New York via Empire State Development and the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, Hain Celestial has committed to investing $10 million as part of its relocation and operation expansion.
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Rudy Giuliani rides in to the rescue in a bid to rework financing for broke
New York Daily News
The firm originally financed the project with $100 million in direct city and state subsidies, plus another $237 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the city’s Industrial Development Agency. Since then, the garages have operated at less than 50%
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Southern Tier economic council offers 3 loan, grant programs
Ithaca Journal
The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council has announced three regional, job-creating programs have received approval from the Public Authorities Control Board, a move that clears the way to begin accepting applications for eligible
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Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Announces Community
WBGH
The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council today announced that three regional, job creating programs have received approval from the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) – clearing the way to begin accepting applications for projects
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JCIDA to host economic-development crash course for local officials
WatertownDailyTimes.com
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency hopes to provide answers to these questions by offering a crash course in economic development from 4 to 9 pm on June 19 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1290 Arsenal St. Registration for the workshop is $25,
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IDAs get low grade from state comptroller
Westfair Online
in prepared comments accompanying his office’s annual performance report on agencies’ annual reports filed with the state Authorities Budget Office.

Bill would remove most county oversight of groups that manage mental health
Winston-Salem Journal
Public authorities can borrow money and own property. They have limited or no local government oversight on executive salaries, as well as their overall operations. The bill contains changes to General Statute 122c allowing MCOs to do all those things.
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Suffolk Notebook: IDA Hopes Incentives Will Keep Broadridge
Patch.com
By Henry Powderly Hoping to prevent the loss of 1600 jobs on Long Island, the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday floated an incentive package worth millions to Broadridge Financial, a public company that has threatened to move
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Why New York’s Tallest Doesn’t Measure Up

via Metropolis by Eliot Brown on 4/30/12   Ramin Talaie for The Wall Street Journal

One World Trade Center, built to replace the towers destroyed Sept. 11, 2001, on Monday gets steel columns to make it New York City’s tallest building. Once finished, it will be one of the world’s highest.

With its steel beams expected to rise past 1,250 feet on Monday, One World Trade Center will eclipse the Empire State Building as the tallest building in New York City on its way to becoming the Western Hemisphere’s highest skyscraper.

One WTC’s 1,776-foot height, measured from the top of its spire, is a towering achievement by American standards — 325 feet taller than the nation’s current highest, the 1451-foot Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly the Sears Tower).

But when compared to skyscraper projects underway across the globe, the skyscraper formerly known as the Freedom Tower projects a less imposing image: 1,776 feet just isn’t so tall anymore.

With fast-growing economies and a desire to use buildings as statements, countries in the Middle East and East Asia have seized the tallest-skyscraper mantle from the U.S., which for the bulk of the 20th century was home to the world’s tallest building (a distinction that passed between towers in Chicago and New York).

The current holder of the world’s tallest title, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet, reaches nearly 1,000 feet higher than the  One WTC’s completed height. If the Freedom Tower was completed tomorrow, it would become the second-tallest skyscraper in the world. But even that distinction would be short-lived.

Looking forward, there are five towers under construction that will surpass One WTC, and another six proposed buildings that best America’s tallest building-to-be, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the organization recognized as the authority on skyscrapers.

None of these up and comers are being built in the U.S. Saudi Arabia lays claim to two, and the remaining nine are set to pop up in China, Korea and Indonesia.

There’s something of a tall-building boom afoot — just not in the birthplace of the skyscraper. By 2015, the number of new buildings over 300 meters, or 984 feet, is slated to jump to 116 from just 52 in 2010, according to CTBUH. The vast majority of these new buildings will be located in Asia.

The Asian skyscraper boom — and the lack of one in North America — has come about for a variety of reasons.

Labor costs, a big component of skyscraper construction, in many countries are substantially lower than in the U.S. The owners of the Burj Khalifa, for instance, have put the price tag at $1.5 billion, while One WTC is expected to cost about $3.9 billion. Although security costs are substantially higher at the site of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks than elsewhere, higher-priced labor is also a large factor.

Another issue is the timing of financial cycles. Investors and banks in the U.S. tend to be wary of putting money into tall buildings given the lengthy construction — to build vertically, tall skyscrapers can take as much as two years longer to complete than shorter buildings. That extra time adds considerable uncertainty, as the economy and office market can swing the other way while construction continues slowly.

In contrast, many lenders and investors have been attracted to fast-growing economies overseas, betting on an increasing need for office space. That, and many of the tallest buildings overseas have been backed, in part or full, by state-run companies that have their eyes on longer-term impacts.

One World Trade, of course, fits this mold. As a financial bet, the building would be a failure. With its $3.9 billion price tag, it was valued in 2010 by its developer, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, at about $2 billion. While this was a substantially higher cost than initially envisioned, the tower was pushed forward by former New York Gov. George Pataki and the Port Authority because of the desire to rebuild the site after America’s worst terrorist attacks.

Then again, maybe the construction of the world’s tallest building shouldn’t be something to boast about. Given that it only becomes easy for developers to find financing for their buildings in boom periods, the groundbreaking of world’s tallest building often comes shortly before the burst of an economic bubble.

“Often the world’s tallest buildings are simply the edifice of a broader skyscraper building boom, reflecting a widespread misallocation of capital and an impending economic correction,” analysts at Barclays PLC said in a report released in January.

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