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MWBE/Workforce Participation Facts

SolarCity Development Project at RiverBend

In 2014, Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC, connected to the SUNY

system) purchased the former Republic Steel site known as RiverBend from the Buffalo
Urban Development Corp (BUDC) in two separate transactions.

The first parcel was approx. 88 acres (which now contains the SolarCity project site) and
the second parcel was the sites remaining 96 acres.

In both instances, a Real Estate Purchase Agreement (PA) was signed by each party to
the transaction FSMC.

In the Post-Closing Matters section of the PA, language was included to reference goals
for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) and workforce participation goals
for any project that might occur on the sites purchased by FSMC.

This language included a goal of 20% for MWBEs and a goal of 25% minority and 5%
women workforce for construction work on subsequent projects at the sites. The state
can enforce MWBE goals; conversely, the state is prohibited by federal law to establish
workforce participation goals. That specific language in the PA was aspirational.

The land transactions between Fort Schuyler Management Corporation (FSMC) and the
Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC) were singular events. They do not
govern the current project; they were land transaction documents. What governs the
current project is the contract between Fort Schuyler and LPCiminelli.

Recent reports that the minority workforce goals of the SolarCity construction project
were lowered are false.

Once the land was acquired by Fort Schuyler, the process of developing the site took
place, which included the development of an RFP for potential developers.
That RFP only contained language regarding MWBE goals, which are enforceable by
the state.

The RFP contained no language on workforce matters because that is unenforceable

based on federal law.
Once the developer was selected from the RFP process, the contract between the
developer (LPCiminelli) and Fort Schuyler contained language regarding MWBE goals
and, consistent with the RFP, no language on workforce.
It is important to know the facts: Governor Cuomo last October raised the state MWBE goal
from 20% to 30% on state-funded projects (which the Governor had previously raised from 10%
to 20% in 2011). See background information here:

And even though this project started before the Governor made that change, it currently
has approximately 26% MWBE participation and the project, which is ongoing, is
entering a phase where there will be a significant rise in contracts and workforce (current
construction workforce of approximately 450 is expected to grow over the next few
months to 1,200-1,500 construction workers).

In other words, it's a dynamic situation that is ongoing - not ending - and the project is
about to enter the busiest phase of its construction schedule.

It is important to reiterate that NYS can enforce MWBE goals on this and other statefunded projects; it cannot, however, enforce workforce goals. That would violate federal

So, with that important legal point in mind, this project's private developer, LPCiminelli,
entered into a Project Labor Agreement with organized labor, which does include legally
supported minority and women workforce goals of 15% and 5% respectively for the

This was determined by the private developer and labor based on recent publicly funded
projects in the market, including the renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium. Drawing on
that recent experience and with a deep understanding of the local skilled labor market,
the private developer and labor agreed to those terms.

But with that knowledge of the local skilled labor market, the private developer also
insisted on a 10% apprenticeship goal for the SolarCity construction project, so that
unskilled workers could be brought into the project and gain valuable experience in
various trades. Labor accepted that provision.

As the July workforce participation report demonstrates (the most recent available
report; August will be available around Oct 10th), the goals for minority and women
workforce participation are exceeding the goals of the projects PLA . According to the
July report, 18.41% minority and 5.62% women workers are on the project. Any report to
the contrary is false and misleading.

Important: The SolarCity project developer LPCiminelli wants anyone interested in

pursuing a career in the building trades to contact them ASAP at the following email