State officials are looking to hire a consultant to oversee the implementation of the Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.
The state is seeking proposals from companies specializing in economic development project management for a contract of up to two years to coordinate the roll-out of the Buffalo Billion’s initiatives.
The contractor would have a particularly strong role in the development of the Buffalo Billion’s tourism initiatives, along with efforts to launch new worker training and regional revitalization programs.
The contractor would monitor the performance of those initiatives and help set “reasonably unreasonable” timetables for each one, the state said in documents prepared for potential applicants. It also would be responsible for providing support services for the Buffalo Billion projects and helping to ensure that the program is managed well and that the money flowing through the initiative is used responsibly.
The contractor also will have responsibilities for analyzing the performance of the various initiatives under the Buffalo Billion and recommending adjustments in their strategy as they evolve.
The proposal seeks firms with experience in “transformative, turnaround economic development strategies” and a track record of project management. It seeks firms with a minimum of five years of project management experience and at least three years of experience in working with “metropolitan areas in economic transition.”
The proposal also said the state would accept joint proposals that involved more than one company.
The company that is picked is expected to receive a one-year contract, with the state holding an option to extend the deal for a second year. Proposals are due by April 7, with a successful bidder expected to be announced on May 5. The contract is expected to take effect at the beginning of June.
The Buffalo Billion plan was based on a strategy developed by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and has been administered through the state’s main economic development agency, Empire State Development, with assistance from consultants such as the Brookings Institute and McKinsey & Co. The contractor hired under the latest proposal would continue to work with Empire State Development staff to implement the Buffalo Billion plan.
The five main elements of the Buffalo Billion plan, thus far, are: a high-tech manufacturing and innovation hub called RiverBend to be built along the Buffalo River; a computer information technology center where IBM will be the first tenant; a medical innovation and commercialization hub; a genomic research partnership; and an institute for advanced manufacturing competitiveness. Other initiatives include a business plan competition with $5 million in grants available, a workforce training center, boosting Niagara Falls tourism and promoting a visual arts initiative at Daemen College.
Empire State Development officials could not be reached to comment on Wednesday.