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Central New York is focus of high-tech revolution.

Central New York State, a part of the Northeast that prospered in the post-war era as a home to defense-related industries, is now the focus of an intensive effort to retool its economy for the next century.

The effort is focusing on Oneida County, home to numerous "marquee" firms such as Oneida Silversmith and Remington Arms, and to Rome Lab - one of the most sophisticated technology research centers in the world.

An instrumental component of the Air Force's weapons and systems development program, Rome Lab is the birthplace of ground-breaking technological advances used to develop cellular phones, compact discs, CD-ROMS, and many more consumer products.

As the anchor of the booming Griffiss Business & Technology Park - formerly Griffiss Air Force Base - Rome Lab employs 1,000 people, generates an additional 700 jobs throughout the county in contracting work, and provides a powerful economic development engine to Oneida County.

Griffiss is capitalizing on the Lab to attract tenants to the Business and Technology Park and the region. Rome Lab's presence creates an opportunity for new industries to "grow" around it, as the technology developed at the Lab is used to spur the development of commercial ventures. The recently founded Federal Alternative Fuel Vehicle Center - a research effort to develop zero-emission vehicles - is one example of new industrial potential using the technology of Rome Lab.

At the forefront of this and other efforts to re-tool Oneida County's economy is the EDGE - the Oneida County Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation. The EDGE, which also has its offices at the Griffiss Business & Technology Park, was created as a one-stop economic development center that, through its various affiliates, markets the County, finances business development projects, and provides technical assistance to support business expansion.

The strategy seems to be paying off. In the past year, the EDGE has assisted in the creation of approximately 1,900 jobs in the county, including more than 1,300 new jobs at Griffiss. Recently, industry titans such as GE Capital, GTE and Orion Industries have leased nearly one quarter of a million square feet of space in the industrial park. In fact, over the last six months, 12 businesses have moved into Griffiss, adding 350 employees to the park, whose tenants now employ close to 2,000. The park's affordability, excellent location and superior workforce were among the factors cited as major draws for the new businesses.

In Central New York, Oneida County is one important part of an interrelated regional economy. Since job loss or creation in neighboring areas directly affect Oneida's ability to create economic opportunities, the EDGE is taking a global view of its mandate.

A strategy is currently being formulated to evaluate the area's strengths and weaknesses from an economic vantage point. It will also determine which industry segments and specific companies should be targeted by the EDGE as potential prospects for future relocation to the area.

For the next century, the EDGE hopes to bring Oneida County and the rest of Central New York to the edge of a new, technology-driven economic revolution.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Griffiss Business and Technology Park, Oneida County, New York
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 4, 1996
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