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The empire's new zones

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin announced last month the state's approval of additional Empire Zone designations along Railroad Avenue in Guilderland.

To make the new designations happen, nearly 200 acres were taken out of the Empire Zone in areas surrounding the Northeast Industrial Park in Guilderland and distributed throughout the county. According to Sean Maguire, Albany county's senior economic development planner, 20 to 30 of the acres stayed in Guilderland along Railroad Avenue and the remaining acres were distributed among Colonie, Menands and Cohoes.

Guilderland now has approximately 10 to 15 percent of the 213 acres of the designated Empire Zone surrounding the Railroad Avenue corridor, according to Maguire.

Empire Zones are areas throughout the state that offer special incentives to encourage economic and community development, business investment and job creation. Certified businesses located within an Empire Zone are eligible to receive significant tax credits and benefits.

The loss of Empire Zone acreage from the Northeast Industrial Park shouldn't negatively affect the town, said Donald Csaposs, Guilderland's director of economic development.

Csaposs said that despite the fact that Guilderland only has a small portion of the Empire Zone along Railroad Avenue, with Colonie holding the rest, it will benefit both towns.

Anything happening along Railroad Avenue benefits the corridor as a whole, said Csaposs.

The Empire Zone surrounding the Northeast Industrial Park went from 594 acres down to 399.5 acres. Csaposs said that the new Empire Zone designation was now in a more appropriate area of Guilderland.

According to Csaposs, the Empire Zone that was deducted from the area surrounding the Northeast Industrial Park wasn't suitable for industrial use and, as a result, the Empire Zone status for the unusable acres was being wasted.

The push to get the land designated as an Empire Zone began at the town level, said Csaposs, and lends itself to some of the town's initiatives found in the comprehensive plan, including revitalizing properties, and increasing tax revenues and employment bases.

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