Fredonia Approves Start Up NY Campus Plan

A new door has been officially opened for economic development and job creation in Chautauqua County with formal approval last week by the State University of New York (SUNY) of the Fredonia StartUP NY campus plan, part of a statewide initiative launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create tax-free zones on or near institutions of higher education.

The Fredonia plan focuses on attracting three business clusters: agribusiness; technology businesses, particularly those focusing on visual arts and new media; and businesses related to Lake Erie research, development, and educational tourism. All businesses sponsored under the StartUP program will contribute to the Fredonia mission, and they may not be in competition with existing businesses.

Fredonia Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development Kevin Kearns chaired a 13-member committee – comprised of elected officials of Dunkirk and Fredonia, representatives of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Authority and Planning and Economic Development, a Fredonia College Council member and university officials – to develop a campus plan that builds on the economic strengths of the region, and takes advantage of Fredonia’s academic strengths.

“There is a high level of interest across our targeted business clusters,” Dr. Kearns reported. Of the two dozen or so StartUP inquires received thus far, six proposals are being given serious consideration for sponsorship under the Fredonia plan. Projects deemed appropriate and receiving internal approval for campus sponsorship will be submitted to Empire State Development for evaluation and final approval.

The overall goal of StartUP NY, which provides major tax incentives for businesses to relocate, start or expand in the state, is to create new jobs and stimulate economic vitality. Businesses approved under the Fredonia plan will be granted 10 years of state tax benefits.

Under StartUP NY approved businesses must be located on or near a sponsoring university. The Fredonia plan designates land and buildings that are available for StartUP businesses. Approved businesses may be located in the Fredonia Technology Incubator, a 22,000 square-foot facility in downtown Dunkirk, or in the former Cliffstar Corporate headquarters, a 25,000 square foot office building in Dunkirk. In addition, 4.13 acres of buildable land is designated on the west side of the Fredonia campus under the plan, and a waterfront parcel on the Dunkirk harbor is also available to accommodate an expanding or relocating StartUP business.

“The city of Dunkirk is excited to partner with Fredonia and is looking forward to seeing how StartUp NY will facilitate the revitalization of the city,” said Mayor A.J. Dolce. Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe noted, "Thanks to the hard work of the committee and leadership of Kevin Kearns, we are on our way to opening our community to potential new businesses."

The two-story Cliffstar building, renamed Franklin Properties, was donated to the Fredonia College Foundation and is to be utilized to assist in recruiting one or more businesses to the community. “As part of the Fredonia StartUp plan the property is now linked to substantial tax advantages…Franklin Properties is a state of the art, Class A office building that is available for occupancy," said Dr. David Tiffany, executive director of the Fredonia College Foundation.

North county offices of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency recently relocated into the Fredonia Technology Incubator to facilitate partnerships that attract, grow and retain businesses and jobs in the county. Members of the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development also have a presence in the incubator. Fredonia is also closely collaborating with other universities in the region, including the SUNY University at Buffalo and Jamestown Community College to capitalize on StartUp NY as a means of expanding and attracting new jobs to the area.

The approved Fredonia StartUp NY campus plan is available for review and feedback on the Division of Engagement and Economic Development web page at Comments are welcome and may be forwarded to [email protected].