Taking Buffalo Niagara’s Message Global

selectusa map Invest Buffalo Niagara’s efforts to target foreign direct investment opportunities continued full-throttle last week at SelectUSA’s 2016 Investment Summit in Washington, DC.

SelectUSA is a federal initiative tasked with facilitating foreign business investment opportunities and raising awareness of the role foreign direct investment plays in the overall domestic economy.  Foreign direct investment influence on the United States’ economy is massive; economists from the US Department of Commerce Office of Trade and Economic Analysis estimate that approximately 12 million jobs nation-wide are directly associated with foreign direct investment.  Locally, Invest Buffalo Niagara has assisted 58 foreign-owned companies establish operations in the region creating nearly 2,200 new jobs and investing approximately $798,000,000 since 2010.

The Investment Summit is SelectUSA’s marquee event promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. This year’s gathering welcomed over 2,400 participants from 70 countries. The Invest Buffalo Niagara team, President/CEO Tom Kucharski, Vice-Chair Douglas Dimitroff, and I, met with dozens of companies seeking to expand their businesses into the United States at the “New York State of Opportunity” booth facilitated by our partners at Empire State Development.

Additionally, Invest Buffalo Niagara’s business attraction efforts were discussed with New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and The Buffalo News’ Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski.  Summit participants also heard from key federal officials, mostly notably President Barack Obama, and participated in breakout sessions, including “Welcome to the United States: Visas and Beyond” on which Invest Buffalo Niagara President/CEO Tom Kucharski was a panelist.

Our mission is to help grow our local economy and bring new jobs and capital investment to the region.  We will continue to work with foreign direct investment opportunities from around the world to help them expand their businesses into Western New York.

SelectUSA picture

by Matthew Hubacher, Research Manager

CBRE|Buffalo MarketView Highlights Opportunities


Last Thursday evening CBRE|Buffalo released its Q4-2015 WNY MarketView reports to a jam-packed crowd of real estate professionals, economic developers and municipal officials from across Western New York.  The WNY MarketView reports represent the most detailed analysis of the current state of commercial real estate in the region and serve as an important tool for Buffalo Niagara Enterprise to inform and recruit companies to relocate or expand their operations in Buffalo Niagara.

The program was kicked off by CBRE|Buffalo Managing Director Shana Stegner and keynote speaker Leslie Zemsky provided an upbeat “State of Larkinville” report in which the past, present, and future of the district was reviewed.  From there, the CBRE|Buffalo team presented their reports on the local commercial real estate scene, and their findings were eye-opening.

Sarah Cashimere-Warren discussed positive trends for the local office market, with vacancy down 0.5% to 13.5% and average rents in the central business district hovering at an affordable $22-$26/SF for Class A office space and $16-$20/SF for Class B office space. The data show a strong office market, but one facing uncertainty surrounding One Seneca Tower.

Robert Starzynski shared an overview of the multifamily residential market which sees consistent transactional deal flow, especially in the City of Buffalo. The average per unit sales price continues to climb.

Steve Blake announced the lowest industrial vacancy rate (3.6%) in decades and urged developers to continue to do whatever they can to increase inventory in the region in order to reverse the trend that has Buffalo Niagara second only to San Francisco in the lack of industrial building availability.  There is, however, land on which to build for industrial customers seeking build-to-suit options.

Michael Clark offered positive retail market news with several national retailers choosing Buffalo Niagara for new locations.  Available retail inventory is being in-filled, but the region is still a low-cost area for retailers and restaurateurs to do business.  Concern expressed by these operators is the proposed minimum wage hike, which could hinder future retail developments.

The CBRE|Buffalo MarketView reports are available for download on our website: http://buffaloniagara.org/RealEstate/MarketViewReports

By Matthew Hubacher, Research Manager

Buffalo Niagara Saves Travelers Time and Money

As Thanksgiving approaches in Western New York the temperatures drop outside, but the warm feeling of celebrating with loved ones can tame even the coldest breeze off Lake Erie.  There are many things for which to be thankful this holiday season: family, friends, community, Buffalo Niagara’s local economic resurgence, and Jack Eichel are tops on this author’s list.

Visitors to Buffalo Niagara – whether they be expats returning home or first-timers making their maiden trip – can also be thankful for the relative ease and cost-effectiveness in arriving in Buffalo Niagara.  Nearly 5 million passengers traverse the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) annually and those travelers enjoy air fares that are among the lowest in the nation.  At $190.80, the average market round-trip fare in Buffalo ranks 10th least expensive of the nation’s largest 70 metro areas according to the US Department of Transportation’s Domestic Airline Consumer Airfare Report.

Plus, the relative ease of getting around the region is apparent (and appreciated).  The “20-Minute City” moniker is no joke as commuters spend a mere 21.3 minutes during the average journey to work.  Once visitors touch down at BNIA, it does not take them very long to get to their true final destination; chances are it won’t take much longer than the 1st Intermission.

Thanks in part to inexpensive air fares and quick commutes, visitors to Buffalo Niagara are able spend quality time with friends and family during Thanksgiving, as opposed to staying at home or being stuck in traffic, something for which to truly be thankful.

by Matt Hubacher, Research Manager

Business Mentor NY: Better – Together

The economic transformation of Buffalo Niagara is well underway and the data are now confirming the optimistic economic outlook shared by many across Western New York.  The unprecedented support from Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative has leveraged $5.5 billion in private investment in the region over the last five years.  Positive economic indicators abound in Buffalo Niagara, the most recent of which is the nearly 8-year low 5.2% unemployment rate in August 2015.

A major driver of the recent explosion of economic growth in our region is the evolving entrepreneurial ecosystem and rapidly developing start-up scene.  Entrepreneurs in Buffalo Niagara are taking advantage of the myriad of resources and support provided by the ever-growing network of support organizations.

In an effort to further assist entrepreneurs find sustainable success, Empire State Development has established Business Mentor NY, a no-cost business mentoring program that seeks to foster entrepreneurial and small businesses growth throughout New York State. Through an innovative web platform, entrepreneurs connect with mentors who volunteer to help with key business issues – from accounting and finance to marketing and web design. The program is a true “win – win” – entrepreneurs receive the support and guidance they require to make their business ventures a success and their mentors give back by sharing their expertise and guidance, while at the same time honing their leadership skills and staying engaged with the local business community.

Interested? Create a profile on Business Mentor NY and reach out to mentors or entrepreneurs to connect. Click here to get started!

by Matt Hubacher, Research Manager


CFA One-Stop Access to $750M in State Funding

Consolidated Funding Applications (CFA) are due 4:00 pm on Friday, July 31st!

The signs of summer are in full affect in Western New York. The days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener (and longer), and the Consolidated Funding Application submission period is open!

As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative, the Consolidated Funding Application has streamlined and expedited the grant application process by allowing interested parties to apply for over $750 million through 20 economic development assistance programs offered by state agencies and authorities.

The online CFA portal is now open to applicants across New York State.

Businesses, community organizations, not-for-profit groups and any other stakeholders interested in learning about the CFA process and accessing state economic development assistance are encouraged to attend one of the scheduled public workshops hosted by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

The workshop schedule is as follows:

Monday, June 15th
Jamestown Community College – Cutco Theatre
260 North Union Street, Olean NY 14760
Register here

Monday, June 29th
Niagara Falls Conference Center – Cascades Ballroom
101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls NY 14303
Register here 

The workshops will include an overview of available funding programs, eligibility and selection criteria, and instructions on how to use the online CFA application systems.  Further, the 2015 CFA Resources Manual, the 2015 Regional Economic Development Council Guidebook and other important information can be found on the REDC website.

by Matt Hubacher, Research Manager


Ready for the Future of Manufacturing

by Matthew Hubacher, research specialist

Over the past two decades the economy of Western New York has diversified a great deal.  In fact, the regional economy looks more like that of the nation as whole now more than ever.

Manufacturing is no longer the dominate sector of the regional economy, but it remains a critical sector, employing over 51,000 workers and generating approximately $6.3 billion in gross regional product.  Community colleges and other workforce training centers do an excellent job in giving production workers the foundation of knowledge and the skills they need to begin a successful career in manufacturing.  In fact, a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future shows that community colleges in Western New York have higher graduation rates than the state average.

In order to ensure manufacturing remains strong in the region, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council recently recommended the creation of a worker training facility specifically dedicated to manufacturing.   The facility will provide training opportunities focused on hard-to-fill job categories and support local manufacturers “up-skill” their workforce.

Thanks to the leadership of the WNY Regional Development Council and the support of Governor Cuomo, Buffalo Niagara is making the necessary investments to ensure manufacturing remains a strong sector of the regional economy for years to come.

Sentient Science recently relocated to Buffalo, NY. Hear their thoughts on the area’s workforce readiness and ability to meet future needs in manufacturing:

View Video (3.34 min.)

Buffalo Niagara GDP Reaches $45.99 billion

by Matt Hubacher, Research Specialist

Last month the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released advanced 2011 GDP data for 366 metropolitan areas across the nation.  At $45.88 billion, the Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY MSA (Erie and Niagara counties) ranks as the 56th largest metro economy in the country and the 3rd largest metro economy in New York State.

The regional economy of Buffalo Niagara, which has increasingly diversified throughout much of the past two decades, has been on a growth trajectory for three consecutive years and experienced the second highest rate of metro GDP growth (1.4%) in New York State in 2011, and falls within the second quintile of growth nationwide . Major gains in the Professional and Business Services, Trade, and Leisure and Hospitality sectors helped fuel this tremendous economic expansion.

Those interested in learning more about Buffalo Niagara’s economy and labor pool can consult Buffalo Niagara Enterprise’s recently updated 2013 Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide.  The Economic Guide serves as a detailed overview of the region’s economy and provides data and information on demographics, workforce, education, and transportation (and more), for use by businesses, researchers, students and practitioners

BNIA: A Bi-National Asset

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA)

Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA)

by Matthew Hubacher, research specialist, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Convenience, reliability and cost of air transportation are all critical factors for both leisure and business travelers.  With over 5.1 million annual passengers, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) plays an essential role in the quality of life, business climate, and tourism industry of the region.  In fact, nearly one-third of BNIA passengers hail from Southern Ontario making it a true bi-national asset.

By providing 110 daily flights with non-stop service to 18 cities and 22 airports, BNIA is a convenient place from which to originate air travel.  Major passenger carriers Southwest, JetBlue, Delta, US Airways, AirTran, American and United escort passengers to top destinations across the country including New York City, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago and Baltimore.

On time performance at BNIA is extraordinary and reliable.  Departing flights registered an 82% on-time mark and arriving flights touched down on-time 78% in 2011.  Only 1.75% of flights were cancelled in 2011, and planes have been grounded at BNIA for an average of only 4.25 hours per year since 2004.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Consumer Airfare Report, Buffalo Niagara air passengers enjoy an average one-way airfare of $170, among the least expensive in all domestic markets; it would cost more to fly out of nearly every other major U.S. market.

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a tremendous asset for the community of Western New York and Southern Ontario.  For more information, please visit BNIA’s website: http://www.buffaloairport.com/.

Comparing Cost of Living Among Metro Areas

by Matthew Hubacher, Research Specialist

Among the million reasons why Buffalo Niagara is “Where Life Works” is its affordable cost-of-living.  Numerous media outlets, including CNN-Money, Forbes Magazine and CNBC, have lauded Buffalo Niagara as a low-cost place to live and do business.  In fact, the cost of living in the region is routinely below the national average.  But what are these data based on and from where do these statistics originate?

The research department at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise is one of hundreds of academic institutions, chambers of commerce and economic research teams that participate in The Council for Community and Economic Research’s (C2ER) Cost of Living Index (COLI).  COLI data are recognized as the most reliable source for comparative consumer costs by the US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.  It is designed to provide the best possible means to compare cost of living differences among metro areas.

Participating researchers are provided a diverse list of nearly 60 goods and services, which range from doctor’s office visits to fast-food items, to price in their regions on specific dates.  The prices are compiled and transmitted to C2ER, whose researchers calculate the region’s cost of living index scores.

The overall index is comprised of six component indexes – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services – and is the ratio of a metro area’s average price to the average price of the same item nationwide (the nation’s index score is 100.0).  The share of consumer spending on each category, as defined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2004 Consumer Expenditure Survey, determines the category’s weight in the Index.  In Q3-2012, cost of living index score for the Buffalo-Niagara Falls MSA was 99.2 (0.8% below the national average).

Businesses that have questions on cost of living differences, or any other detailed comparative analysis needs, are encouraged to contact BNE’s Research Department.

BNE Looks Back at 2012

Matthew Hubacher, Research Specialist, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

As we approach the end of another successful year here at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, it is important to look back at the year’s activity to take account of what we accomplished in 2012 and forecast where we are headed in 2013.

Taken together, the eight project wins thus far in 2012 have an anticipated investment of over $260,000,000 with nearly 450 new and retained jobs pledged.  The eight wins spanned four of BNE’s target industries (Advanced Manufacturing, Advanced Business Services, Agribusiness, and Logistics/Distribution) and all were international companies (seven from Canada, one from Europe).  You can view all of BNE’s wins, either by year or target industry, at our Project Wins page.

In terms of overall activity in 2012, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise worked with companies in each of our seven target industries: Advanced Business Services, Advanced Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Cleantech, Life Sciences, Logistics/Distribution and Tourism.  We experienced the most activity among Advanced Manufacturing opportunities (42%), followed by those in Advanced Business Services (27%).  Over 40% of new opportunities in 2012 were with companies located outside of the United States.  Given our strategic location as a bi-national region, the majority of international companies BNE works with are Canadian, but our region also attracted interest from companies based in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

We continuously strive to make Buffalo Niagara a better place to live, work, and raise a family.  Looking ahead to 2013, we expect to continue our strong performance within each of the industry sectors we target for business expansion and relocation projects and remain a premier region for foreign direct investment.