The state has approved SUNY Buffalo State’s plan to take part in Start-Up NY, which establishes tax-free zones to draw new jobs and companies to colleges and universities statewide.
Buffalo State is the second area school to get the go-ahead from Empire State Development, following the University at Buffalo’s approval last month, and joins 12 public and private schools across the state in the program.
Buffalo State’s plan sets aside 24,000 square feet in Buckham Hall’s “B” wing for Start-Up NY businesses, but the school expects to seek permission to add further space on- and off-campus based on initial interest from prospective companies.
“I think this could give us a real presence in the economic development of the region,” Howard Cohen, the college’s interim president, said Friday.
The Start-Up NY initiative, proposed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year and later approved by the State Legislature, promises businesses that locate new jobs at a college could pay no state or local taxes for 10 years.
It’s aimed at out-of-state companies, existing local companies that expand or brand-new start-ups, but there are extensive program requirements that include making sure the participating companies are connected in some way to the school’s academic mission.
Buffalo State officials previously said the school’s program could be attractive to food tech companies, fashion technology companies and firms that work in applied mathematics, among others, and they think Start-Up NY workers could hire their students as interns, attend lectures and eat in the campus dining hall.
Cohen said 35 companies have contacted school officials about taking part in the Start-Up NY program. The school now must formalize an agreement with an interested company and file an application with Empire State Development on its behalf.
Buffalo State will add additional space as needed, with school officials previously citing the Pierce-Arrow Building as an example.
“It’s an expectation for the future. I think there will be more demand than we can satisfy, but we’re starting with the space we have,” Cohen said.
UB received approval for 13 tax-free zones, totaling 177,000 square feet, primarily located on or near the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.