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Two Firms Invest $1.5 Billion To Relocate At Buffalo’ New York’s High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub

Area Development Online News Desk (11/21/2013)
New York State will build a state-of-the-art anchor hub facility for high-tech and green energy businesses at RiverBend in Buffalo, New York. Two California-based companies, Soraa and Silevo, will collectively invest $1.5 billion in the project and relocate major parts of their operations to the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at the 90-acre RiverBend campus, creating 850 permanent jobs.

Soraa is a California-based manufacturer of green LED lighting. The company will relocate its corporate R&D and manufacturing operations to RiverBend, investing $750 million and creating 375 jobs.

Dr. Tom Caulfield, President and COO of Soraa said, “We chose Buffalo as the best location for our new fabrication facility based on several factors, including the innovative high-tech vision and strategy of Governor Cuomo; the ability to attract some of the best and brightest scientists and engineers in the world; and the capacity to tightly control the product quality and intellectual property around our LEDs through our partnership with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. With the new facility, our LED lighting capabilities will be refined and expanded, product innovation will accelerate, and light quality and functionality will continue to improve.”

Silevo is a California-based company that develops and manufactures silicon solar cells and modules, with an already established manufacturing plant in China. Phase 1 of Silevo’s project, a $750 million investment that will create at least 475 jobs, involves a 200 megawatt production facility and establishing its sole North American manufacturing operations at RiverBend.

Zheng Xu, CEO and Founder of Silevo said, “Inspired by the bold leadership and demonstrated commitment of Governor Cuomo, and buoyed by the strong regional infrastructure and highly skilled workforce present in Western New York, Silevo is excited to bring its next phase of high-volume manufacturing operations to the United States with our new location in Buffalo. Working closely with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, we look forward to accelerating innovative and cost-effective solar module technology that will position both Silevo and New York as leaders in driving the next wave of solar adoption in homes and business nationwide.”

RiverBend campus is on the site of the former Republic Steel plant. “Under the largest investment in our Buffalo Billion initiative, we are building a state-of-the-art campus to house high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies that will create hundreds of jobs and leverage over a billion dollars in private investment for Western New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“Two of the world’s most renowned high-tech companies are choosing Buffalo to call home – an affirmation that Buffalo is on the move. This project marks a giant step forward in our Buffalo Billion strategy, transforming a once vacant property into a development ready site that will create good-paying permanent jobs, make Buffalo an international hub for innovation, and attract more businesses from around the world,” the Governor added.

As an incentive New York State will invest $225 million in Empire State Development capital to establish infrastructure at the site including water, sewer, utility and roads; construct 275,000 square feet of facilities for Soraa and Silevo; and purchase and own equipment.

Neither company is receiving direct funding from the State’s $225 million investment. Additional facilities will be built over time to accommodate new manufacturing companies operating in the field of biotech, high tech and green energy. The facilities and equipment will be owned by the State University of New York Research Foundation.

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