IBM has agreed to locate up to 500 jobs in Buffalo. Under an agreement announced today with the State, IBM will also maintain 3,100 high-tech jobs in the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. The company has committed to increase its minimum job commitment to the state by 750 jobs, and maintain the 3,100 jobs through at least the end of 2016. As part of the agreement, 500 new IBM IT jobs will also be created in Buffalo within the $55 million Buffalo IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub.
“This agreement will keep thousands of high-tech jobs in New York and maintains IBM’s strong commitment to stay and grow in our state,” Governor Cuomo said. “IBM’s presence is an important part of our ongoing advancement in nanotechnology and I applaud their decision preserve thousands of Hudson Valley jobs and expand the company’s high-tech footprint here in New York.”
While an exact location hasn’t been determined, The Buffalo News says the 100,000 sq.ft. facility would be State-owned and located “downtown.” One obvious candidate would be the empty Educational Opportunity Center at Washington and E. Mohawk streets (below). A new building could be constructed but that would take 18 to 24 months.
Through a condominium arrangement, the State could also purchase floors in an existing building similar to the deal struck to locate a biomedical research facility in Conventus. The State is buying the seventh floor of the building now being constructed at 1001 Main Street. Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), a global contract research and manufacturing organization, will anchor that space.
There are a number of buildings in and around downtown that could accommodate IBM and the IT Hub on a temporary or long-term basis. Existing buildings with availabilities include Main Place Mall, Rand Building, Liberty Building, Electric Tower, Larkin Center of Commerce, or One Seneca Tower. Buildings with future availabilities include Key Center, 250 Delaware Avenue, 500 Seneca Street, and the Trico complex. It could also anchor a new project such as a redeveloped AM&As.
While lopping up vacant space in an existing downtown building would help shore up a market dealing with an empty One Seneca Tower, wherever IBM lands, it’s a significant win for the city.
IBM had a fairly significant presence in the city three decades ago. The company had a regional office in One Seneca Tower up until the mid-1980s. A 75,000 sq.ft., three story building, the third building constructed at Waterfront Village Center, was built in 1985 to house IBM’s relocated offices but the company never took occupancy. The local office was shuttered as a cost-saving measure and the building was empty for several years until Graphic Controls took an interest in the site as its new headquarters. That plan also sputtered and it finally found a tenant in Adelphia Cable. Time Warner now occupies the building.
The IT Innovation and Commercialization Hub comes on the heels of November’s announcement that the Buffalo High Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub will be located on 90 acres at Riverbend in South Buffalo. That project’s first phase will cover 275,000 sq.ft. and should be complete in 18 months. Two companies, Soraa and Silevo, have committed to the site.