Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) has acquired the landmark Kiernan Plaza in downtown Albany, a critical step to spur revitalization of the vacant building into a hub for “smart cities” technology companies, research, education and workforce training.
The $30 million CNSE-led initiative, identified as a priority project by Governor Cuomo’s Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC), will position New York as a global leader in this emerging high-tech industry.
“The transformation of Kiernan Plaza into the Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center will provide an innovative platform enabling groundbreaking research, education, and workforce training for emerging smart cities technologies,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through the Regional Council initiative and in partnership with CNSE, we have not only realized a meaningful reuse of this long vacant historic building, but are also building on our state’s strength as a high-tech industry leader while providing an important economic boost to downtown Albany with the creation and retention of hundreds of new jobs. This is another example of how state government is strengthening regional economies and revitalizing communities across the state through public-private partnerships.”
CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Alain Kaloyeros said, “This pioneering initiative is a testament to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s innovation-driven blueprint for downtown revitalization, and to the success of his Regional Economic Development Council strategy, in harnessing the fast-growing smart cities technology sector to catalyze economic vibrancy in the heart of downtown Albany. We are delighted to spearhead this transformation of Kiernan Plaza, which will set this region and state apart as a proving ground for emerging technologies, breathe new life into an iconic building, and provide exciting opportunities for nanotechnology education, training, and careers for residents throughout our community.”
CNSE was awarded $4 million as a part of Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative to support the purchase and fit-up of Kiernan Plaza to attract smart cities technology jobs and companies to downtown Albany. CNSE’s Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI) will leverage the CREDC funding to generate an additional $26 million in private sector support, leading to the creation and retention of 250 high-tech jobs in downtown Albany. In the process, the SCiTI Center will establish the City of Albany as a 21st century hub for groundbreaking research, education, and workforce training technologies and serve as an urban catalyst for revitalization and a platform for community engagement.
Smart cities technologies include smart devices, sensors and computer chips, integrated systems, and operating software that collect and analyze data for monitoring highway conditions and improving traffic flow; protect vital infrastructure, such as bridges, data centers and utility installations; safeguard facilities, including wastewater treatment plants; and provide e-safety and security in educational settings.
In spearheading the SCiTI Center, CNSE will initially partner with CHA, which will locate its corporate headquarters and leadership team at Kiernan Plaza as a means of building on its industry-leading engineering capabilities in smart systems, clean energy and manufacturing in partnership with CNSE.
Additionally, CNSE will collaborate with Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region and Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region to develop and deliver joint nanotechnology education and workforce training programs, many of which will benefit young people from urban environments and communities whose citizens are traditionally underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The $3 million acquisition of the building by CNSE from real estate investment trust First State Investors 5200 LLC will enable renovations to begin immediately to accommodate multiple tenants. The 113-year-old building at 575 Broadway in Albany, which once served as the city’s Union Station for train transportation, has been vacant since 2009.