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SUNY campuses getting started with their Start-Up NY plans

SUNY campuses across central New York are working to get the final pieces in place to begin attracting business as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY. 

Start-Up NY offers businesses a chance to operate tax-free for ten years, if they set up shop within one mile of college campus, and create jobs that support the academic mission of the school they’re affiliated with.  

So far, according to the Start-Up NY web site, there are more than a dozen colleges and universities aligned with the economic development program.  

In Onondaga County, Onondaga Community College is the only campus on the list, offering 72 acres of vacant land for businesses ranging from agribusiness and food processing, to advanced manufacturing and tourism.  

SUNY ESF is still working on its proposal; so is SUNY Upstate Medical University. David Duggan, the dean of the College of Medicine at Upstate says even though they are still getting all the paperwork in order, they’re talking to potential businesses.

“We’ve had interest expressed  by several companies already.  And we’re just kind of cueing them up, waiting for a plan to be approved, and then we’ll move ahead with them,” said Duggan.

Duggan says if a business is a small startup, it could be moved into a facility to begin work before the end of the year.  

“We are inviting companies that have an overlap with our biomedical space, if you will. So the idea is to identify companies with a mutual benefit. They will get the benefit of a tax-free zone; we will achieve the benefit of having a commercial partner to help with education, to help with collaborative research, things of that nature,” said Duggan.

Other regional colleges that have been approved for Start-Up NY include Cornell University, Binghamton University, SUNY Oswego and SUNY Potsdam. The program, announced by Cuomo as an economic development initiative last fall, does have its detractors, who say it’s not fair that only certain businesses get in these tax-free zones.


Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.