7/29/2014 3:30:00 PM

Buffalo Business First: NY State agrees to buy all of RiverBend site

Buffalo Business First

In an effort to fast track the development of the RiverBend property, the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. agreed to sell the entire property — all 188 acres — to the state agency credited with forming Albany’s successful and highly touted nanoscience and research complex.

BUDC directors, Tuesday afternoon, agreed to sell slightly more than 96 acres of reclaimed, former brownfield land at the Buffalo Hi-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend to the Fort Schuyler Management Corp. for $2.8 million, or $29,043 per acre. That price is about $1,000 more per acre than Fort Schuyler paid BUDC for 88 acres at RiverBend. That deal closed last week.

Presumably most — if not all —- of the 96 acres will be devoted to the massive SolarCity plant and research center that’s being eyed for RiverBend. SolarCity is expected to employ more than 1,000 people as it produces and does research on cutting-edge solar-based technology.

The project is being developed in companion with Soraa, a Cailfornia-based LED specialist. Together the two projects will anchor the RiverBend property.

“This is a great, great deal for this community,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, BUDC chairman. “The terms were very favorable to the city, state and the public.”

The deal comes a few months after Elon Musk’s Solar City acquired Silevo this spring. Silevo, which is also based in California, and Soraa were announced last fall, with great fanfare. New York has offered almost $225 million in incentives, mostly through the Buffalo Billion allocation made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the projects.

While the incentives are pricey, the pay off is Buffalo serving as western New York state high-tech, green-energy hub and the promise of more than 1,300 jobs being created initially.

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