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SEFCU, CHA and Windstream to be First Corporate Partners at SUNY’s New SCiTI Center

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that SEFCU, CHA and Windstream Corporation will be the first corporate partners at the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s (CNSE) new “smart cities" technology hub at Albany’s landmark Kiernan Plaza.

As part of the $30 million CNSE Smart Cities Technology Innovation Center (SCiTI), a priority project of the Governor’s Capital Region Economic Development Council (CREDC), the companies will collectively establish 130 jobs, fueling revitalization in downtown Albany and helping to build New York’s global recognition as a magnet for the fast-growing smart cities technology industry.

“The redevelopment of Kiernan Plaza is a testament to how public-private partnerships are attracting new businesses to communities across the state and helping us create jobs," Governor Cuomo said. “The Capital Region Economic Development Council recognized the tremendous potential that this project had for spurring growth in the area, and today we are seeing another major step in fulfilling that vision. By joining CNSE’s smart cities hub, these companies are bringing additional jobs and investment to the region and further cementing New York’s place as a leader in high-tech industries."

“Today’s announcement marks yet another win for the Capital Region through the redeveloped Kiernan Plaza as a place for economic growth and new high-tech jobs," Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said. “Governor Cuomo has worked hard to drive economic development through a bottom-up approach and the results are showing. I commend CNSE and the Capital Region Economic Development Council for their hard work in this partnership. SEFCU, CHA and Windstream are a welcome addition to the historic Kiernan Plaza, and we thank them for choosing to do business here in the Capital Region."

“Through our College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Alain Kaloyeros has helped write the book on the academic-business partnership model that is changing the paradigm in higher education, and we are all working with Governor Cuomo to replicate this success across New York," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Finding a new and creative use for Kiernan Plaza would not have been possible without the Governor’s leadership and the REDC process. This is another example of how SUNY, in partnership with industry, can not only create jobs, pursue research and innovation, but also bring new life to the communities we serve. Because of SEFCU and leaders like Michael Castellana, students that may never have had the means or desire to pursue college, let alone in a STEM field or in nanotechnology, will be given a helping hand so they can continue their education and programs like The Albany Promise will continue to grow."

CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Alain Kaloyeros said, “Guided by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s innovative blueprint and strategic investments, Kiernan Plaza will rise once again as a beacon for economic opportunity and vitality in downtown Albany and beyond. We applaud the Governor for his vision and leadership in advancing this game-changing project through his Regional Council initiative, and commend SEFCU, CHA and Windstream for their forward-thinking decision to locate at CNSE’s new SCiTI Center. Together, we look forward to enabling new smart cities technologies to benefit society, and to providing a pathway to 21st century high-tech jobs, training and education for individuals throughout the Capital Region community."

The establishment of CNSE’s SCiTI Center marks a rebirth for Kiernan Plaza, a landmark building that was originally constructed as the Union Train Station in 1899 but has been vacant since 2009. Catalyzed by $4 million in funding through Governor Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative to support the purchase and fit-up of the iconic building by CNSE, SCiTI will leverage the CREDC funding to attract an additional $26 million in private industry investment; create and retain 250 high-tech jobs; lure technology companies to downtown Albany; and position New York as a global leader in the emerging smart cities technology sector.

Senator Neil Breslin said, “Today’s announcement that SEFCU, CHA and Windstream will occupy the historic Kiernan Plaza is fantastic news for the downtown community and will spur the creation of a significant number of valued jobs. I commend Governor Cuomo, Dr. Kaloyeros and CNSE, and our first tenants in the building, and look forward to the positive impacts they will have for this community."

Assemblyman John McDonald said, “SEFCU, CHA and Windstream Corporation’s partnership with CNSE’s SCiTI is yet another piece laid in the pathway to rebuilding Albany’s economy. I thank the Governor for his leadership in producing viable results here in Albany, and those over at CNSE and the CREDC for their tireless efforts in this partnership. I am pleased to see Kiernan Plaza have three new occupants that will bring jobs, economic growth, and fresh energy to the entire region, and thank the executives at SEFCU, CHA and Windstream for choosing to relocate here."

Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy said, “I am pleased to see that CNSE believes in Downtown Albany as a great place to do business. With the Smart Cities initiative, we have three tenants that recognize the enormous potential here at Kiernan Plaza by investing in 130 new jobs. I thank Governor Cuomo, our partners at CNSE, the CREDC, and our corporate partners for this important step in continuing to make Albany a destination for business for years to come."

County Executive Daniel McCoy said, “I am pleased to have SEFCU, CHA and Windstream join us in Albany in their relocation to downtown’s Kiernan Plaza. The move will bring quality jobs to our residents here in the Capital Region and set an example that Albany is a great place to do business. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to reinvigorating local communities and thank our corporate partners and CNSE for forging this partnership."

Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings said, “Kiernan Plaza is a landmark here in downtown Albany, and the announcement today of three new, substantial tenants is a huge success that will bring much-needed economic vitality to the entire Capital Region. Governor Cuomo, CNSE and the Capital Region Economic Development Council have done an incredible job leading this community toward greater economic development and I thank SEFCU, CHA and Windstream for their commitment to the Capital Region and welcome them to their new home."

SEFCU, the largest credit union in the Capital Region, and one of the top 50 nationally, will move its corporate headquarters to Kiernan Plaza. Seventy-five members of SEFCU’s executive team and other staff will transition to Kiernan Plaza to accommodate their double digit growth over the past decade and add new staff for planned future growth. Established in 1934, today SEFCU has over 295,000 members, $2.7 billion in assets, and 46 branches in the Capital Region, Binghamton, Syracuse and Buffalo. SEFCU will also open a new state-of-the-art banking center in Kiernan Plaza. Partnering with CNSE, SEFCU will launch a Smart Cities Banking Program that will meet the needs of businesses that will be designated as smart city companies by CNSE, as well as various programs for their employees.

A highly diversified, full-service engineering firm, CHA will place 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. With 30 executives and administrative personnel, CHA’s downtown location will further support the attraction of clusters of companies in new energy, manufacturing, and smart system technologies with a one-stop, “lab-to-fab" capability for research, development and deployment.

Windstream, the nation's fourth-largest enterprise communications provider headquartered in Little Rock, AR, will establish a new regional office at Kiernan Plaza that will initially employ 25 technologists and support staff. As part of its presence, Windstream will also launch an IT Services and Innovation Center of Excellence that will explore innovative IT solutions for advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, specifically designed to serve companies in the emerging smart cities technology sector.

SEFCU President and CEO Michael J. Castellana said, “SEFCU applauds the efforts of Governor Cuomo and CNSE for creating the Smart Cities initiative that will help to revitalize Albany and be a model for other urban areas throughout the state. We are truly excited about being part of this initiative and our partnership with CNSE. Next year we will celebrate our 80th anniversary, and in a way, this move is a homecoming for SEFCU as we return to our roots as our founders executed our charter on South Allen Street and the Alfred E. Smith Building housed our first office. In our 80th year, we will continue to innovate and develop new programs that will focus on four pillars: economic development, housing, education, and community betterment. Partnering with CNSE, we will help to further the growth in technology-related companies as well as reinvigorating our urban core through our Smart Cities banking program. For businesses deemed a smart cities company, we will provide tailored loan programs at discounted rates to help with their transition to the Capital Region. For their employees, we will provide incentives for them to purchase a home in one of our urban environments through discounted mortgage rates. For students who are from low-income or modest means, they can apply for a scholarship to pursue their graduate degree at CNSE. Finally, for our community, we will further our commitment to the Albany Promise to help improve our education system."

CHA Chief Executive Officer Ray Rudolph said, “Today marks an exciting day for CHA, as we utilize a landmark building, Kiernan Plaza, to facilitate growth in an emerging industry, smart cities technologies, that offers significant potential for expansion. We are delighted to see this partnership with the NanoCollege come to fruition, and enthusiastic about building an important piece of our company’s future in the center of a historic location in downtown Albany."

Windstream Regional Director Michael Bellini said, “New York State is clearly the place to be in the growing smart cities technology sector, and with our location at Kiernan Plaza, we feel we have gotten in on the ground floor of an amazing opportunity. The chance to work together with CNSE and its corporate partners in this groundbreaking environment will accelerate our technology development, positioning Windstream as a leader in this industry and providing a strong platform to grow our company."

Smart devices, sensors and computer chips, along with integrated systems and operating software that collect and analyze data, are among the innovations that are driving the rapidly expanding smart cities technology sector. The information they provide is increasingly being used to monitor highway conditions and improve 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.

As part of the SCiTI initiative, a partnership between CNSE, Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, and Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region has also been established to provide nanotechnology education and workforce training programs throughout the community, including those serving young people from urban environments whose citizens are traditionally underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.



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