By: Carlos DePonce
Major development efforts may be on the way for the economically troubled city of Dunkirk. Following a meetings between Mayor Willie Rosas and the Governor’s economic development staff late last year in Dunkirk and with Governor Andrew Cuomo before and after Governors State of the State address.
Governor Cuomo's new state budget proposal includes a $200 million line item in for a drug-manufacturing plant in Dunkirk, which is tied to an existing pharmaceutical firm in Buffalo with major Chinese connections. Additionally, over $150 million is included in the Governors budget to transition coal power plants to clean power, which has been a priority for the Governor and assist with the conversion of the NRG plant in Dunkirk.
The Governors memo, which is attached to his budget, mentions the Athenex firm, which has headquarters in the Conventus Building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The company is known for developing drugs to treat cancer and recently announced that two new pharmaceutical plants would be built in China and one in western, New York.
Athenex traces its roots to cancer research conducted by a longtime University at Buffalo chemistry professor, and the company has been based for much of its existence in the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute on the medical campus.
Hundreds of jobs, and as many as 1,000, would be created at all of Athenex’s facilities – in Dunkirk, Conventus and elsewhere in Western New York – over five years, and that Athenex’s investment would reach hundreds of millions of dollars over that period.
In the repower proposal for NRG it is anticipated that several hundred jobs will be created for the conversion to clean power, while developing approximately 90 to 110 permanent positions.
Mayor Willie Rosas said, “I am happy that our meeting with the Governor and his Economic Development staff over the last few months has resulted in Dunkirk getting the much needed attention it deserves.” “I promised the residents of Dunkirk that I would work tirelessly for them and I wont rest until NRG is up and running and we have created good paying jobs for all our residents.”