- A new grant program aims to attract high-tech companies and expand the industry’s presence in New York state by preparing land tracts for future construction. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the Focused Attraction of Shovel-Ready Tracts New York program on Feb. 28.
- Hochul has budgeted $200 million for fiscal year 2023 to develop sites to attract high-tech manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and logistics businesses to the state, with a particular focus on semiconductor manufacturing.
- The steps needed to make a site shovel-ready vary widely across land uses, according to the program site, but generally entail addressing planning, permitting and infrastructure issues.
The grants will be disbursed through Empire State Development, the umbrella organization for New York's two main economic development public benefit corporations, the New York State Urban Development Corporation and the Department of Economic Development.
"Currently, with the federal government poised to invest billions of dollars under initiatives such as the proposed CHIPS Act and the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the time is ripe for New York to invest in a new generation of shovel-ready sites, and FAST NY will help usher in a new era of growth," ESD acting commissioner and president and CEO-designate Hope Knight said in a press release.
Semiconductor manufacturers seek out shovel-ready sites when deciding where to locate, according to the release, which is why the new program aims to further prepare existing sites and build a pipeline of new ones.
ESD is currently developing detailed program guidelines, according to its site, but preliminary eligibility criteria include shovel-ready land uses including high-tech manufacturing – especially of semiconductors – as well as research and development, warehousing, distribution and logistics businesses. Office parks also qualify as an eligible use.
The infrastructure grants can be used to improve the shovel-readiness of existing sites by investing in water and sewer infrastructure, roads, power lines, electrical substations and gas lines. Grant funding can also be used to address pre-development site planning and reviews to build a pipeline of future shovel-ready sites in the region, according to ESD.
Program applicants are expected to work in close collaboration with municipally appointed economic development organizations such as industrial development agencies and local development corporations, according to ESD.
Funding for FAST NY is included in Hochul’s state budget for FY 2023, which begins April 1. With balanced budgets projected through 2027, the governor is investing more heavily in infrastructure and housing. If the State Legislature passes it with FAST NY dollars intact, ESD expects to launch applications for the grants later this year.