Industrial Development Agency
The primary mission of the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency (TCIDA) is to deliver economic incentives to business and industry to diversify and strengthen Tompkins County’s tax base and enhance community vitality, by supporting job creation, business and industrial development, and community revitalization. The IDA strives to develop the local economy in an organized, sustainable and environmentally beneficial manner. The TCIDA has the authority to abate a variety of local and State taxes and serves as a conduit to the tax-exempt bond market for private sector projects. Its authority is guided by federal and State laws as well as policies established by its Board of Directors. The IDA’s policies are intended to maximize the return on investment of scarce community resources. The creation of quality of jobs, and how well the jobs meet the needs of local employers, are considerations of the IDA. The IDA has policies to encourage development in specially designated urban and community centers to increase density, support local development goals, and increase the tax base. The TCIDA targets the industrial sector and will only consider other sectors if certain criteria are met.
Since 1983, IDA incentives have resulted in the construction and renovation of over 5 million square feet of facilities, an investment approaching $800 million and more than 5,200 quality jobs have been created. Visit the Tompkins County IDA website for information about eligible projects or to learn more about its Board of Directors, projects, public hearings or schedule and minutes.
The following are two additional programs the IDA offers to encourage smart growth and high density development:
Lansing Town Center Incentive Program The Town of Lansing Comprehensive Plan identified goals and objectives around creating a vibrant Town Center where higher density housing, commercial services catering to the needs of local residents, and recreational opportunities are established that increase the tax base and create a sense of community in Lansing.
Emmy’s Organics, founded in 2009 in Ithaca, manufactures and distributes certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and kosher coconut based cookies. Emmy’s products can be found at major retailers throughout the United States and Canada including Whole Foods Markets, CVS, Rite Aid, Wegmans, and Sprouts. As demand for their products grew, Emmy’s knew they needed to expand. They wanted to stay in Tompkins County so they decided to purchase a building located at 15 Royal Road in the Town of Dryden. Purchasing and renovating the building in Dryden enabled Emmy’s to remain in Tompkins County and to bring back in-house production that had been shifted to a co-packer out of state.
The $2.3 million project encompasses buying the approximately 20,000 square foot building along with interior renovations including adding a processing room, additional office space and bathrooms, and the purchase of equipment. Tompkins Trust Company and the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council helped finance the purchase. The project also received an incentive delivered by the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency (TCIDA) along with a loan from IAED’s revolving loan program. Emmy’s will retain 27 jobs and plans to create eight new jobs.
A 218,211 square foot, 8-story mixed-use project will redevelop an underutilized property in the heart of downtown Ithaca with 192 apartments and a mix of commercial and retail uses on the ground floor. The IDA approved an enhanced incentive package for using renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, including air source heat pumps to replace natural gas heating. This $52 million project will contribute an estimated $3.1 million in new property taxes over 10 years. Click here to see day-by-day photos and a time-lapse video of the project.
Ithaca Marriott Downtown on the Commons
The new flagship Marriott Hotel anchors the east end of the Ithaca Commons. The 10-story, 159-room hotel offers a full-service restaurant, bar and lounge, and 2,400 square feet of meeting and function space. With an estimated 42,500 room nights booked per year, and guests spending over $6 million on food and beverage and $4.3 million on retail and entertainment, the hotel will contribute to a growing, vibrant, and bustling downtown economy.
This project will add to the vibrancy of the downtown Ithaca Commons, renovating an historic building and replacing several vacant, single story buildings with a mix of commercial, retail and residential uses. The project will add 108 units of much needed rental housing, providing opportunities for young professionals to live, work and recreate downtown. The project will contribute an estimated $2.1 million in new property taxes over 10 years. The $43 million project will include significant energy saving measures that will help meet county-wide carbon emissions reduction goals.
Therm is a third generation, family owned company. The company has occupied its facility since 1935. Therm specializes in custom machining for the aerospace industry. Major customers include GE and Honeywell. The company built a 20,000 square foot building at its existing campus located at 1000 Hudson Street Extension in the Town of Ithaca. The new building relocated a unit of the company that had been operating out of the South Hill Business Campus for many years. Consolidating operations allows for reduced costs and improved company efficiencies.
Community Solar Projects
In 2017, the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency adopted an Off-site Commercial Solar Photovoltaic policy, providing a property tax incentive to promote community solar projects. Community solar projects allow residential and commercial customers to purchase renewable energy generated from the sun without the high cost of installing solar on-site. Property taxes have been one of the hurdles for community solar in New York State and the TCIDA is helping to stabilize property taxes and jump-start solar development. This policy supports consumer choice for renewable energy generation, Tompkins County’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and the State’s goal to generate 50% of New York’s electricity from renewables by 2030. Six projects were approved in 2017 by the TCIDA that will generate approximately 12 megawatts of solar power, enough to power 2,400 to 3,600 homes. Projects are located in the Towns of Newfield, Enfield, and Ulysses. In 2018, the TCIDA approved six more community solar projects, equaling 35.3MW.
Cargill – Cayuga Salt Mine
The Cayuga Salt Mine in Lansing has been in continuous operation since 1918 and produces approximately two million tons of rock salt per year. The mine employs over 200 people and will construct a new 2,500-foot shaft to provide fresh ventilation air and access closer to where mining is taking place, as well as reduce energy usage in the mine. The new shaft will extend the operations of the mine for 30 years.
Simeon’s American Bistro
Simeon’s is housed in a 135 year-old building on the corner of the Ithaca Commons and is a popular and iconic Ithaca restaurant. Simeon’s suffered extensive damage over a year ago following a tragic accident. Extensive rebuilding and renovations took place, including a new second floor dining area and larger kitchen. The renovations allowed Simeon’s to resume business with a beautifully updated and expanded space.
The centrally located downtown hotel demolished existing outdated facilities and is constructing a five story, ninety guest room tower with first and second floor connections to the existing hotel. The new facility also includes a pre-function area, break out meeting space, and fitness centere.
The Tompkins County Bank was founded in 1836 in Ithaca and has grown progressively over the years. Today the Tompkins Financial Corporation umbrella includes Tompkins Trust Company, Bank of Castile, Mahopac Bank, VIST Bank, Tompkins Insurance and Tompkins Financial Advisors. The company has 1,090 employees, of which 282 are headquartered in downtown Ithaca. The company built its new $35 million headquarters building in the heart of downtown. The seven story, 110,000 square foot building at 118 E. Seneca Street allows the Trust Company to improve service quality and promote a collaborative work environment between employee teams by consolidating downtown operations that were spread out between five locations. The Trust Company made a commitment to consolidate operations and stay downtown.
The 210 Hancock project involved the redevelopment of an entire block at 210 Hancock Street in the City of Ithaca. The project has 66 affordable rental-housing units, community space, a Head Start facility, and commercial space.
CBORD renovated 41,000 square feet of space at the South Hill Business Campus. The company was founded here in Ithaca in 1975.