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Local News

May 16, 2014

State approves tax-free zone for Hartwick

Hartwick College in Oneonta is the first local school to gain state approval for a tax-free zone in START-UP NY.

Meanwhile, area SUNY schools are gearing up to participate in the state’s initiate to encourage entrepreneurship, create jobs, expand the economy and benefit communities.

Last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced START-UP NY — SUNY Tax-free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY. The initiative establishes tax-free zones on campuses where participating companies can do business tax-free for 10 years. To be eligible, companies must be aligned with the academic mission of the sponsoring school.

Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said Thursday that 19 schools have tax-free zones approved in START-UP NY. Of that number, 16 are SUNY institutions and three are private, including Hartwick, which was granted approval Tuesday, he said.

Meanwhile, State University colleges in Oneonta, Delhi and Cobleskill have been working on plans, and officials reported various stages of development and approval.

Academic and business communities are excited about he initiative which is progressing well and prompting high interest from companies, Conwall said Thursday.

The Buffalo News reported Tuesday that seven high-tech companies are ready to open operations in zones tied to the University at Buffalo.

But Conwall couldn’t confirm the news and said no companies have officially been approved for START-UP venues.

Many different types of businesses are eligible to apply to START-UP NY. Some businesses that aren’t eligible include retail and wholesale businesses, restaurants, real estate companies, finance and financial services firms and energy production and distribution companies, among others, according to the START-UP NY website.

Maggie Arthurs, director of corporate, foundation and government relations, at Hartwick College, said the college’s tax-free zone is a 50,000 square-foot site within a 25-acre section of cleared property on Oyaron Hill near the uppermost boundary of campus. The property is vacant, she said, and a football practice field is located adjacent to the area.

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