Incubator Project: Hatching an Economic Future
8/15/2012 (Updated 6:52:29 PM)A myriad of officials announced plans to turn this vacant lot on Hawley Street in Binghamton into a $22-million high-tech incubator.
The incubator will house new businesses looking to shepherd their products to market - specifically those developed at BU's Innovative Technologies Complex focusing on smart energy and health care.
"That kind of technology that will grow out of our laboratories needs a place to become commercial. And when I first got here I wanted to find out where that opportunity would be and I discovered we didn't have a high-tech incubator," said BU President Harvey Stenger.
"Every major research institution - Buffalo, Stony Brook, Albany - have incubators like this. This is absolutely essential for Binghamton to have this," said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo.
The project isn't a done deal. 13 million of the 22 million dollars is a request through the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council.
However, yesterday the Council scored the project 20 out of 20 - making it a top-priority project. And one officials are confident will be approved and have a major impact downtown.
"Imagine 100 people walking out of that building out of their laboratories, finding their way down the street to have lunch, maybe shopping for a new pair of shoes, picking up some office supplies, going to the bank," said Stenger.
And the hope, of course, is that those small companies will become a big part of the economic future of the area.
"The next Watson, the next Endicott-Johnson is going to school right up the street," said Lupardo.
"This is about careers. Careers keep people in the community. Careers have people invest in the community," said State Senator Tom Libous.
Funding for the project would also include $2 million from the Broome County Industrial Development Authority and federal money. If approved, the incubator should open in 2015.
Excitement over the proposed incubator made for some strange political bedfellows in Binghamton Wednesday.
High-profile members of both parties came together to celebrate the announcement including Mayor Matt Ryan and State Senator Tom Libous.
A Democrat spearheaded an effort to bring ethics charges against Libous, who's the state senate's second-highest Republican.
But Wednesday the pair, and everyone else, was all smiles.
"I've got Matt Ryan, Donna Lupardo, Tom Libous, and Debbie Preston all agreeing here this is a great project. How can this not be successful?" asked BU President Harvey Stenger.
"What is the date and time of this?" joked State Senator Tom Libous.
"We want this written down," said County Executive Debbie Preston.
"We want to document the date and time," said Libous.
Libous will face the winner of September's Democratic primary in the general election. Ryan plans to serve out his second and final term as mayor.
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