Hudson Valley Proposes Sites for Tax Free Businesses

Hudson Valley has proposed four locations for the Start-Up New York program, which allows businesses to operate without paying state taxes for up to ten years by partnering with a nearby college or university.

“Any time there are opportunities for businesses to have no taxes, it is a great incentive,” said President of the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce Linda Hillman.

Start-Up NY requires companies to be located in close proximity to a college and to form a strategic partnership with that college. All four locations that Hudson Valley is proposing are located within 1.5 miles of the Educational Opportunity Center on River Street in Troy.

Hudson Valley started exploring Start-Up NY in January and had difficulty identifying sites in the vicinity of the main campus or its satellite campus, TEC-SMART in Malta.

“In the spring we said, ‘Let’s take a look at downtown Troy,’” said Penny Hill, associate dean at TEC-SMART and author of the proposal.

“Once you come here, you have access not only to Hudson Valley graduates, but [also the] Educational Opportunity Center and RPI,” added Hill.

The four sites provide a total of 134,575 square feet for businesses to move in, including substantial space for manufacturing. Businesses have shown interest in partnering with Hudson Valley and have been involved in the process of identifying potential sites.

“Businesses have been coming out of the woodwork to look for spaces,” said Hill.

Hill credited the local business and economic community with helping Hudson Valley pursue Start-Up NY.

“The partnerships are one of the key reasons why we have so many companies interested,” she said.

Hudson Valley’s proposal states that the college seeks to partner with businesses in emerging technology fields such as biotech, nanotech, semiconductors, and advanced manufacturing. They also hope to draw interest from clean energy industries such as solar, wind, geothermal, and fuel cells.

“We want to pick companies that align with some of our degree programs,” said Hill.

Companies must align with Hudson Valley’s mission and strategy to be selected. Companies are expected to provide benefits to the college such as supplying recruiting tools, participating in academic advisory committees, assisting with course review and development, providing internships, and providing job opportunities to Hudson Valley graduates.

Hudson Valley’s proposal also notes benefits to the local economy such as job growth, environmental sustainability, and diversification.

“We’ve seen real growth in the Capital Region because we have such diverse industries,” said Hillman. “Troy is at a real tipping point right now. What we’re hearing is that businesses and tech companies want to move in to Troy,” she said.

The Capital Region has been a center of high tech investment in recent years. Billions of dollars have flowed into the local area, thanks to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Global Foundries.

Hudson Valley hopes to continue seeking future sites for Start-Up NY. According to the law, sites must be within one mile of the campus or a satellite campus. Three of the four sites proposed by Hudson Valley are outside of the one-mile radius, but the government has been lenient in granting waivers.

Start-Up NY was launched by the Cuomo administration in the fall of 2013. In June of this year, the first companies were approved for the program in Buffalo, Rochester, and Ithaca.

“Now the work just begins. Now the college has to start looking at these companies seriously,” said Hill.

The proposal is currently in a 30-day public comment period that runs through Nov. 7. This will be followed by an approval process from the state and an application process from interested businesses.


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