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Nano Deal Reconstituted


Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Chief Executive Officer Alain Kaloyeros today announced a three-way financing agreement for the Zero Energy Nanotechnology (ZEN) building currently under construction on the college’s Fuller Road campus.

The under-construction, $200 million ZEN building will house renewable energy and clean-tech research. It is designed to operate as a zero-energy building — hence ZEN — that generates its own power.

A funding deal collapsed over the weekend when the nano college withdrew its application to the Albany County Industrial Development Agency for financing.  Times Union reporter Jordan Carleo-Evangelist:    "One of the board members, Dominick Calsolaro, had raised questions about the potential reduction in the fee that the nano college would pay the city. That potential reduction to about $1.4 million, sort of set off this whole chain of events that eventually blew the deal up."

But it's a new day and a new deal:  in what's being heralded as a first of its kind agreement between the county, city, and a not-for-profit educational entity, the Albany County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) will provide access to $186 million in bonds, a proposal that was advanced by County Executive McCoy. The transaction will net the county $1.9 million for future economic development.  CNSE will provide a $1.9 million matching economic development grant to the city of Albany.

Board member Calsolaro:  "The county IDA will be the go-between for the ZEN building, and they'll get the fee from that. Nanotech will be making an economic development grant to the city of Albany for the same amount of money as the fee would have been if the city of Albany let the resource corporation fill the bond.”

Officials say the financing will be funded entirely through private revenue generated from ZEN’s corporate tenants and involves no public or taxpayer money of any kind.

Again, Dom Calsolaro:  "From my understanding, it's something Mayor Sheehan has been looking at with many top leaders in the not-for-profit world in the Albany area, to find a way to help local governments, specifically the city of Albany, as a way to get some type of either compensation or help the not-for-profits to make up the difference with them not paying property taxes and the city having a multiple-million dollar deficit."

The blossoming plan is one that could serve as a model for other cash-strapped municipalities around New York.

McCoy, Sheehan and Kaloyeros did not return calls for comment in time for broadcast: Kaloyeros is quoted in the joint press release as saying, “Financing through the county IDA allows us to re-invest in the region, while providing financial support to the City at Albany enhances further economic development which will draw additional corporate partners to the region and create more local jobs."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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