Winners in Capital Region's non-win: lofts, mushroom packaging, Troy riverfront

andrew cuomo REDC grantsThe Cuomo administration announced the winners of the Regional Economic Development Council competition today -- and the Capital Region did not win. The "best plan" awards went to Western New York, Central New York, the North Country, and Long Island -- they all got about $100 million in funding.

But the Capital Region wasn't exactly a loser, either. The region scored $62.7 million in grants. So, call it a non-winner.

A total of 88 projects in this region are getting funding. Some of it looks pork-ish (of course, all in the eye of the beholder). There are handful of grants that caught our eye. The full list, with highlights, after the jump.

Regional grants that caught our eye

Swan St Lofts - $5.4 million
Applicant: Albany IDA
"Albany Housing Authority will receive low-cost financing to convert the former St. Joseph's
School located in the Arbor Hill Neighborhood of Albany into Swan Street Lofts that will provide 22 affordable residential units and 14,100 SF of community facility space."

You might remember from earlier this year -- this is the Albany Barn project to create affordable live/work space for artists.

EcoCradle - $250k
Applicant: Center for Economic Growth
"Economic Growth Ecovative Design, LLC will purchase machinery and equipment to expand production of EcoCradle TM, its unique, sustainable packaging product. As a result, the company will increase efficiency by reducing industrial waste, and increase its use of NYS agricultural waste products, which are a feedstock for the production of EcoCradle."

We've mentioned Ecovative many times before. They're a very interesting startup in Green Island.

Village of Green Island Albany Avenue Improvements - $595k
Applicant: Village of Green Island
"Remove and replace the current roadway along Albany Avenue in the Village of Green Island."

It's just a street -- so what? That's the street that connects from the I-787 off ramp to the Green Island Bridge.

Hudson Opera House renovation - $400k
Applicant: Hudson Opera House Inc.
"Restoration The Hudson Opera House will complete a key part of the fourth and final phase of the Opera House restoration - improvements to the first floor, including the badly deteriorated historic Common Council Chambers and anteroom, for community use. New York State's oldest surviving theatre (1855), located in the heart of downtown Hudson, the nonprofit multi-arts center offers more than 1,000 programs, most of them free, to 52,000 visitors each year."

The Hudson Opera House, which is right on Warren Street, is a beautiful old building.

Olana Restoration Project - $274k
Applicant: The Olana Partnership
"The Olana Partnership will implement a major aspect of Olana's Landscape Restoration Plan - the restoration of the historic North Meadow. Designed by Hudson River School artist Frederic Church (1826-1900) as a work of 19th-century landscape gardening, the historic 250-acre landscape is equal in historic and artistic importance to Olana's house and collections. The completed project will provide a transformational change to the Olana landscape, restoring the historic meadows and pastureland and reopening views that have been lost over the last 100 years to second- and third-growth forest."

Olana is a beautiful place.

Rensselaer Wharf Reconstruction - $11.5 million
Applicant: Albany Port District Commission
"The Albany Port District Commission will replace 600 feet of deteriorated, 1920's-era wharf with a modern, high-strength wharf on the east side of the Hudson River, doubling the capacity of the Rensselaer side of the Port. This project will complement the recent reconstruction of the wharf on the west side of the river."

The largest grant among Capital Region projects.

Public access improvements at Riverfront Park and Troy City Center - $954k
Applicant: City of Troy
"The City of Troy will design and construct public waterfront amenities along the area to be redeveloped as Troy City Center, enhancing pedestrian linkages to this key waterfront site. Amenities will include an esplanade, green space, seating, lighting, and connectivity to other sections of Riverfront Park."

Troy City Station - $2.5 million
Applicant: The United Group of Companies
"Project involves the construction of a parking deck and new green space areas."

The mixed-use development just down the hill from RPI opened this year.

Doane Stuart Green Roof - $1.3 million
Applicant: The Doane Stuart School
"The Doane Stuart School will install a multi-use green roof that will be designed by the Upper School students (grades 9 - 12), under the supervision of area landscape architects, including Doane Stuart alumni/ae, former teachers, and parents. The green roof will be accessible to students for projects throughout the school year."

Full Capital Region list

Here's the Capital Region section of the pdf detailing all the grants.

Capital Region State Economic Development Grants 2011-12-08

screengrab: NY Governor's office LiveStream


Not to nitpick but the Green Island "Albany Ave" isn't the street that connects to 787. It runs under 787. What economic impact would improving that road have on the area?

Speaking of grants, if any Albany area folks know of/went to/worked at Camp Little Notch, recently sold off by the Girl Scouts and purchased by a bunch of folks who know of/went to/worked there & formed a non-profit (Friends of CLN), you can help us out by going to this site and voting - it is free and will hopefully make a big corporation part with some moolah to help kids go to an awesome local camp.

After looking through these "awards". How is this any different than Member Items? These seem more like peoples pet projects than economic development.

It would seem the Capital Region folks just didn't get the concept of economic development, by and large. Many of the projects are more drains than catalysts of the economy.

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

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