May 2016 Cover Story: Economic Development

Securing a stronger future for the north country

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Despite workforce challenges, regional economic development continues to power positive growth across Northern New York

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A rural and historically challenged region where economic development was often stagnant, the Great Recession dealt a significant blow to New York’s north country as its counties saw a spike in unemployment and manufacturing jobs disappear, including about 600 from Jefferson County alone. [Read more…]

JCIDA OKs 10-year tax break for Watertown business incubator

Finishing a nearly yearlong negotiation process, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s board of directors approved a 10-year tax break on Thursday for the Watertown Center for Business and Industry. [Read more…]

JCIDA chief: $15-an-hour proposal could drive ‘handful’ of area businesses out of state

A handful of area businesses “across the gamut of sizes and sectors” say they’d consider moving out of New York if the governor’s $15-an-hour minimum wage proposal materializes, according to the chief of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency. [Read more…]

Economic Outlook 2015

The long road to recovery is less bumpy

Signs of a still-strengthening economy are starting to percolate as new opportunities across the region are born


Now that the country seems to be making its way out of the Great Recession, most sectors of the economy across the board and across the north country seem to be on an upswing for the coming year.

“If I had to pick a best bet – agriculture,” said Gregory A. Gardner, an assistant professor of business at SUNY Potsdam and a regional authority on Northern New York’s economy. “Especially the wineries and nondairy areas of agriculture. It has the strongest growth rate.”

Mr. Gardner also listed retail, construction and health care as sectors we can expect to see on an uptick, while retail and hospitality have tempered down.

“If I had any sort of bad news, it would be that the U.S. dollar is going to stay very strong, or get even stronger, through 2015,” he said. “That’s going to slow Canadian sales.”

The real wild card will be the military, the one sector dealing the highest impact to the rest.

“If they do move troops out of Fort Drum, that’s going to hurt our economy pretty much across the board,” he said. “There’s a ripple effect. It doesn’t just touch businesses that sell to Fort Drum, but businesses that sell to businesses that sell to Fort Drum. It would ripple through virtually every sector of our economy.” [Read more…]

A recipe that sticks

Nearly 10 years after production started, North American Tapes growing

Darrin R. Prance, founder of North American Tapes, Watertown, in his office. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business.

Darrin R. Prance, founder of North American Tapes, Watertown, in his office. Photo by Amanda Morrison/NNY Business.

In 2004, Darrin R. Prance and business partner Martin J. LeMoine launched North American Tapes LLC in Watertown, with Mr. Prance serving as company president, Mr. LeMoine as vice president of sales, and a dozen employees. In nine short years, the firm has doubled its work force — and its footprint. Mr. Prance talks about the journey and his firm’s bright future. [Read more…]