Monthly Archives: May 2013

You may soon be able to buy stock in the Empire State Building

Craig Karmin of The Wall Street Journal reports that the owners of the Empire State Building have approved a plan to sell the now second tallest building in New York as part of an initial public offering. The deal “sets the stage for one of the largest real-estate IPOs ever,” wrote Karmin.

Click here for the details [subscription-based].

Business Council, environmental and citizen groups urge cleaner, cheaper alternatives to repowering outdated Dunkirk, Cayuga coal plants

In comments filed today with the Public Service Commission (PSC), business, environmental and citizen groups jointly called for cleaner solutions to replace the outdated Dunkirk and Cayuga coal plants. The PSC is currently deciding whether to approve a costly repowering of the plants or replace the small amount of power generated with transmission upgrades. The groups argue the Commission should investigate other solutions including energy efficiency, renewable power generation and demand response as cleaner and cheaper options that would better serve New York’s businesses and families who will foot the bill for the changes.

“The Business Council joins with the environmental advocacy community in calling upon the Public Service Commission to place an emphasis on the most efficient and cost-effective solutions when planning for the retirements of Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants to place an emphasis on the most efficient and cost-effective solutions — The Commission should consider the following alternatives including transmission upgrades and clean energy alternatives such as energy efficiency and demand response that will reduce overall demand, cut waste, reduce energy costs and limit the need for new generation.” said Heather Briccetti President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “The Commission should reject the current repowering proposals which runs counter to New York’s now dynamic and competitive energy market where capital costs and associated risks for conventional projects are borne by the developer, not by the ratepayer. Energy market forces and design, have already provided New York consumers with cleaner, more reliable generation, and historically lower wholesale electricity costs.”

“We can’t afford to sink more money into dirty coal of the past. The potential retirement of these coal plants is an opportunity to invest in a healthier future for our kids that we can’t miss out on. Upstate New York has tremendous potential for clean, renewable energy like wind, solar and efficiency that together could cut energy demand, lower electricity prices, create jobs and clean up the air we all breathe,” said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Representative for the Sierra Club.

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., Sierra Club, ACE NY, Earthjustice, Vote Solar Initiative, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Advocates of New York, and Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) filed joint comments in PSC Case 12-E-0577.

Uniland remaking Frey the Wheelman site into hip office space

Uniland Development Co., a long-time member of The Business Council, is taking on a $5 million project in Buffalo to transform industrial properties into an “innovation hub for one or more technology companies,” writes Jonathan Epstein of The Buffalo News. The property on Ellicott Street is located near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Click here to read more.

Briccetti on natural gas development

This week’s Legislative Gazette features Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council, discussing how New York State’s economy would benefit from natural gas development. Last week, The Business Council, along with The American Chemistry Council and the New York State Chemical Alliance, hosted a forum on natural gas development.

“We feel very strongly, that we need to move forward and explore the Marcellus Shale. Obviously this is a huge issue in New York and it’s an issue where I think the people who oppose exploration have very effectively told a story that scares people,” said Briccetti.

According to a Manhattan Institute Study, hydraulic fracturing in New York would stimulate economic growth by generating $8 billion in new income for upstate New York.

Read: Chemists, Business Council on same drilling page

Consumer confidence lags in Buffalo

The Buffalo News reports that although consumer confidence is up nationwide, it is still lagging behind in the Buffalo Niagara region. The Conference Board, a New York-based private research group, announced Tuesday that national numbers have reached a five-year high. Although hiring is up in the Buffalo Niagara area, with unemployment hit a two-year low of 7.7 percent in April, confidence levels in the Buffalo Niagara area were 69.9 versus 76.2 nationally.


Newsday: faster Sandy relief needed

Newsday says the Small Business Administration needs to move faster in providing relief to businesses still impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Now that the tourist season is approaching, the paper points out that businesses, especially those located in tourist area, need to be ready to turn a profit. Some businesses have had to wait 46 days, on average, for a decision after applying a loan. Read Newsday’s full editorial on the issue.