Chemung County IDA, Southern Tier
In summer 2009, CVS Pharmacy broke ground on a regional distribution center in Chemung County, possibly the largest development project underway in upstate New York. CVS received $6.5 million in bond financing from the Chemung County IDA, as well as a $4 million JOBS Now capital grant , a $750,000 grant to help extend utilities and other infrastructure to the site, and $1.4 million in Recovery Zone Bonds to help pay for infrastructure. The new facility is expected to create 600 new permanent jobs paying around $10/hour and is scheduled to open in 2011. CVS initially applied for Empire Zone benefits, but was denied because it couldn’t demonstrate that it would create $1 of wages and investments for every $1 dollar in tax credits.
Huge incentives were approved for CVS, despite the dubious positive economic impact of the project. In addition to primarily creating low-wage permanent jobs, the general contractor for this project is from out of state and non-union. Economic development officials missed the opportunity to leverage incentives to create good construction jobs for local residents.