Vacant space to be repurposed for start-up business

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY program designates three locations at Geneseo that could house businesses associated with the new economic stimulation program. The Roemer House, the Clark Service Building and Jones Residence Hall are all eligible for conversion to tax-free establishments for accommodating companies that would align with Geneseo’s mission. Cuomo developed START-UP NY with the aim to stimulate the economy and create jobs in New York State by encouraging businesses to work closely with universities and colleges.

START-UP NY will establish tax-free zones around college campuses. As a result, new businesses will have the opportunity to develop without the burden of taxes. The program was announced this June and will be formally implemented on Jan. 1, 2014.

James Milroy is the vice president for administration and finance at Geneseo and has contributed to creating the plan for implementing START-UP NY. Milroy helped decide which buildings in Geneseo could be designated for use under the program.

Milroy said he believes that the Clark Service Building is the most attractive space for businesses under START-UP NY.  He said that the current 25-year facilities master plan calls for the relocation of the Clark facilities to a different part of campus, which would leave the Clark building open. The previous plan for the building was for use as community and college conference space. Milroy said he thinks Geneseo has enough conference space, and the building would be better used as a location for a business under START-UP NY.

The Clark building has the parking, loading and accessibility capabilities needed for a business. The construction of a new building for the offices that are now in the building would not occur until the legislature approved funds for the project. The Roemer House previously held the offices of the Geneseo college communications department staff and is now empty. Those offices have been moved to recently opened Doty Hall. As the only vacant building on campus, it is an obvious possibility for holding new businesses under START-UP NY. Milroy said the proximity of the Roemer House to the Integrated Science Center might make it attractive to technical businesses.

Jones is currently being used as a residence hall. Milroy said that, as one of the oldest residence life structures, it is in need of intense rehabilitation. The availability of more housing in other residence halls and projected declines in enrollment led to the decision to offer the space as a possible location for START-UP NY businesses. Milroy said, however, there is a possibility that Jones Hall will be used for housing students again in the fall.

Milroy said that a variety of businesses could develop in Geneseo under START-UP NY.

“I can envision a lot of things that would align with our academic mission,” he said. “I hope it provides opportunities for students to further interests through the startup structure, whether in research, civic engagement in the community or workforce development.”