Dominick Calsolaro

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Albany IDA approves $100,000 for study aimed at winning $500 million from state

Published on 6/18/2015 by the Times Union written by Larry Rulison

The Albany IDA approved $100,000 toward a $2 million study by McKinsey that would help the region compete for $500 million in state funding.

The costs are being shared by various regional groups organized by the Capital Region Economic Development Council, one of 10 quasi government groups set up by Gov. Cuomo to compete for state economic development dollars.

However, not everyone has supported the effort. The Saratoga IDA recently voted down a proposal to fund the study, even though Saratoga County could stand to benefit greatly if the region wins the prize, part of a $1.5 billion pool being offered by Gov. Cuomo to 7 upstate regional councils.

The Rensselaer County IDA has also approved $100,000 in funding for the study.

Tracy Metzger, chair of the Albany IDA, said she was “disappointed” that Saratoga County did not approve its $100,000 share in the funding of the study, but she noted that the IDA will own the study once it is completed, and has assurances that its investment in the study will result in projects that will benefit the city of Albany.

“The city of Albany IDA’s mission is to stimulate investment, economic growth and job creation. We absolutely support the development of a regional growth strategy, and with an opportunity like this we want to ensure that the Capital Region is as ready as it can be to compete for the half billion dollar prize. The board discussed and approved the request for funding,” Metzger said in a statement sent to the Times Union after the meeting. “The board’s approval of this funding request reflects our mission and desire to stimulate investment and economic growth in the city of Albany as well as the region. This was an opportunity for us to act like a region. As the Capital city, it’s even more important that we demonstrate our leadership as we look to move the region forward.”

The IDA money will come from its account of money collected from developers who seek assistance from the city.

IDA board member Dominick Calsolaro, who represented the Albany’s South End in the city common council, said he wanted to ensure that the regional efforts to win the $500 million in state funding would benefit the region’s most depressed urban areas as well. He said that these groups in the past have not been represented well in economic development efforts.

“We’ll be engaging all communities,” said John DeCelle, chief marketing officer at SEFCU, who was representing Michael Castellana