February 24, 2014
By: Tom Precious
Source: The Buffalo News
ALBANY – IBM is committing to bring 500 jobs to a new,
100,000-square-foot, state-owned computer information technology center
in Buffalo to train future and current industry workers and to create
cutting-edge software for energy, health, defense and other industries,
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo plans to announce today.
Big Blue, as IBM
sometimes is known, has also agreed to bolster a separate – though
likely linked – endeavor by becoming the first corporate technology
member of the recently announced New York Genomic Medicine Center, a
$100 million new partnership between a genome research facility in
Manhattan and the University at Buffalo’s center for computational
research, according to Cuomo administration officials.
Some details of the announcement were provided to The Buffalo News on Sunday.
new facility to house IBM, and what the state hopes will be other
private sector companies involved in the expansive field of information
technology services, is expected to open in downtown Buffalo in early
2015. Officials said a precise location for the new site downtown has
not yet been finalized.
Cuomo is scheduled to make the
announcement this afternoon at a banquet and conference hall in Amherst,
according to sources who received invitations to the event.
is the latest in a series of economic development plans the Democratic
governor has unveiled the past few years in Western New York, including
the recent $1.5 billion RiverBend project.
But unlike RiverBend,
which so far involves two California energy companies, the endeavor
Cuomo will tout today involves the world’s biggest technology services
company, which operates in 170 countries and had a fourth-quarter net
income in 2013 that totaled $6.2 billion.
Machines, founded 102 years ago in New York State and first known as the
Computing Tabulating Recording Company, is headquartered in Armonk in
Westchester County. Its history in the state has been one of an
on-again, off-again cycle of boom and bust, especially in the Southern
Tier near Binghamton as well as in the Mid-Hudson Valley, where layoffs
are reportedly on the horizon in coming weeks.
Sunday the IBM jobs for the Buffalo project are new for the company and
are not part of a relocation effort from other areas.
being lured to Buffalo, in part, with $55 million in state funding
toward the project that officials said Sunday is coming out of Cuomo’s
Buffalo Billion dollar commitment. The money, steered through the
Albany-based College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, which is part
of the State University at New York system, will include $25 million to
build what state officials called a “high-end software development
center’’ downtown whose first tenant will be IBM.
$30 million will go for the purchase of various software, computers and
servers. Using the model the state has employed before, notably at its
nanoscale facility in Albany, taxpayers will not provide IBM with any
direct subsidies for the purchase of the equipment; instead, the state
will purchase and own the equipment that private companies can then tap
into as part of their rental agreements.
State officials said
Sunday they expect the 500-job target to be hit in three to five years,
and that IBM will put an emphasis on recruiting software engineer and
researcher graduates from Buffalo-area colleges – a move that could help
slow some of the “brain drain” of young people the region has
experienced for years.
The governor will announce that IBM will
be the first anchor tenant of what he is calling the Buffalo Information
Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub, a title similar to
two other “innovation hub” ventures he has announced for projects at
RiverBend and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus that involve
partnerships among government, universities and the private sector.
medical and clean energy innovation to now, cutting-edge software
development, we are making strategic investments in emerging fields that
will position the city of Buffalo and the entire Western New York
region as a leader in the high-tech industry and a pioneer of new
discoveries,” Cuomo said in a written statement.
IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, said Cuomo’s push
for the new facility will “create new opportunity for Buffalo developing
the next generation of software in growth areas like mobile, cloud and
The state will own the downtown information technology facilities center to be used by IBM.
administration says the new deal with IBM is part of an effort
involving the Western Regional Economic Development Council, the state’s
own data center in Albany that is used by all state agencies, the
nanoscale college in Albany and the University at Buffalo.
say its software developments in the information technology field could
end up being used by an assortment of industries, including genomics
and molecular research, as well as unspecified defense sector
Besides the IT jobs and software project, IBM is
joining Cuomo’s program for a New York Genome Center that is expected to
use UB’s large computing capacity to help with turning genome research
underway at a Manhattan facility into practical health care advances
that founders of the group say could show up quickly in hospitals and
Cuomo has proposed to split $105 million
between Buffalo and Manhattan. The money still has to be approved in the
2014 budget talks that are expected to get more serious attention when
lawmakers return this week from a vacation, though there is little
chance the money will not be included in the final fiscal plan.
officials envision a connection between the new software center to be
constructed with IBM as the first major tenant and the genome program;
they say software developed at the newly announced information
technology hub could be used to help decipher the humane genome.
for years has been one of the key tenants at the ever-growing, 1.3
million-square-foot nanoscale campus in Albany, which has contributed to
the reputation of the Capital Region as a high-technology address for
research and manufacturing companies from around the world. The Albany
nanoscale’s head, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, who has increasingly become a
trusted adviser to Cuomo, was part of the team to bring IBM to Buffalo.
two other “hubs” announced recently by Cuomo for Buffalo are the High
Manufacturing Innovation Hub, which calls for a clean-energy facility on
the former Republic Steel property on the Buffalo River that so far has
attracted a LED lighting maker and solar panel manufacturer, and the
Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub, which calls for
$50 million in state money to build a biomedical facility with
state-owned equipment on the grounds of the Buffalo Niagara Medical
Campus that has attracted two initial tenants so far.
economic development needs of Western New York have been largely ignored
over the years by state officials, Cuomo in 2012 pledged to spend $1
billion in state money to help with job creation efforts in the region.
The timeframe for when the money would be spent has been somewhat of a
moving target, though in his new 2014 budget plan Cuomo proposed the
state set aside the remaining uncommitted $680 million from the original
$1 billion pledge. That does not mean that amount would be spent in the
coming year, but rather would create a placeholder in the state’s bank
account that could be tapped in future years without having to be a part
of the annual budget process.