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Cuomo in Buffalo on economic development

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- New York state will invest $50 million to bring a private biomedical research company and 250 jobs to Buffalo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, following up on a pledge to invest $1 billion in the economy of upstate New York's largest city over several years.

The private Albany Molecular Research Inc. will locate on the expanding Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The state's investment in equipment and lab space for the pharmaceutical research company will draw $200 million in private investment, the governor said.

Cuomo committed the billion to Buffalo in January and charged the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council with recommending an investment strategy that will leverage it into $6 billion worth of economic development.

After a year of work, the council outlined its strategy for Cuomo and a gathering of community and political leaders in Buffalo on Tuesday.

It recommends six signature initiatives, including supporting manufacturing growth, bringing health care innovations to market and aligning education with the skills employers require. The council also recommended coordinating Niagara Falls and Buffalo tourism efforts and holding competitions that reward entrepreneurs and other developers with incubator space and access to funding.

"Our signature initiatives are first and foremost about private sector jobs and investment," said council co-chairman Satish Tripathi, president of the University at Buffalo. "The intent of our plan is to utilize the public funding as seed money to attract the businesses that will make a long term investment in our local economy."

Plans call for the formation of advisory groups to put the projects in motion.

The former industrial hub on the shore of Lake Erie has less than half the population it had at its peak in the 1950s, the result of a shifting economy that drained old industrial cities of jobs and the people who worked them. But Cuomo, echoing the longtime sentiment of city leaders, told his audience not to look back.

"Let's agree today that we're tired of talking about yesterday and what Buffalo was," he said, "and let's talk about tomorrow and our future."

"The strategies presented today ... make smart decisions with the Buffalo billion to drive billions more in public and private sector investment to western New York," he said.