TU: Fulton County shows off business park, medical marijuana tenant

If your business is anything like a medical marijuana facility, economic developers in Fulton County want you to know they have a perfect location for it.

You don’t have to be making medicines from plants that were until recently illegal to grow. Fulton County officials are looking for businesses that need lots of affordable space in a secure, remote location with access to a workforce that has a wide range of education and skills. That’s what Vireo Health of New York, one of five medical marijuana companies operating in the state, got when it moved into the 213-acre Tryon Technology Park two years ago.

“Fulton County has been a terrific partner for us,” Vireo Chief Executive Ari Hoffnung said Wednesday at a county event pitching the site of a former state juvenile detention center to a couple dozen real estate brokers.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said of Vireo’s location.

As the unique business park’s only tenant, Vireo was a natural selling point. Real estate brokers got a rare tour of the strictly regulated facility.

They got to see an outdoor greenhouse and indoor grow rooms where horticulturists carefully control the light and temperature of plants whose oils are extracted for medicines to treat 11 debilitating conditions approved by the state.  They got to peek into the laboratory where the medicines are made, in different formulations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering ingredient, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive properties.

 Yet as an example of a thriving business, Vireo isn’t there yet. Hoffnung told county officials and real estate brokers that the firm has invested about $10 million in the operation, including 20 acres of land. But like the other four medical marijuana companies in New York, it has yet to break even.

That’s despite a huge boost — an increase in volume of more than 50 percent, according to Vireo Operations Director Nick Goran — since the state added chronic pain to its list of qualifying conditions less than three months ago. One impediment to growth, company officials said, is that too few doctors are registering to certify patients for medical marijuana. According to the state Health Department, 1,058 medical providers were registered as of last week.

The business park landed Vireo as a client without much work, Mraz said. The company found the park as the county was engaged in getting the facility ready to market, Mraz said.

Mraz raised an eyebrow when he told about first hearing of interest from a potential tenant that wanted to grow marijuana. But then he learned more about Vireo’s plans. “Ah, you’re a pharmaceutical company,” he said.

Tryon Technology Park

Fulton County, New York, introduces Tryon Technology Park, a transformative, 515-acre business opportunity in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. With Tryon’s state and local expedited approval process, you could be breaking ground on 212-acres of the lowest-priced shovel-ready land in the state in 30 to 60 days, with hundreds of additional acres available for future development.

Tryon is located in a pristine, wooded environment… where a company can thrive, take a 180 turn away from a high-cost, high-stress environment.

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead: “One thing people are starting to learn about the Tryon Technology Park is it’s right in New York’s Technology Triangle, and it’s within striking distance and easy reach of 70 million customers all around the Northeast.”

Fulton County’s Targeted Industry Analysis identified seven Industry Clusters for Tryon compatible with existing businesses and the site’s resources: Biomedical R&D, Food & Beverage, Headquarters & Business Services, Health Care Products & Services, Electronics, Renewable Energy and Software & Media.

Tryon Technology Park’s first tenant was Vireo Health, which purchased 20 acres in 2015 to manufacture pharmaceuticals from cannabis. In less than a year, it doubled the size of its facility.

Josh O’Neill, Vireo Health, Chief Business Development Officer: “When you look at the value of the land, with all the infrastructure in place, we could not find anything better in the state of New York. It’s highly accessible from I-90 and other major highways. It’s got great infrastructure. There’s new water and sewer, gas, three-phase power and a new county road that’s well-maintained year-round.”

Jim Mraz, Fulton County Planning Director and Executive Director, Fulton County Industrial Development Agency:
“The property at Tryon is also very affordable. At a $20,000 per an acre price, it is the lowest price per acre of comparable land anywhere in the region.”

The origins of Tryon are a unique story of cooperation by state and local governments. When the state closed the Tryon Juvenile Detention Facility in 2011, it was an economic blow to Fulton County.

In an effort to turn that negative into a positive, Fulton County officials petitioned the state for control of the property. Two years later, Tryon was deeded over to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency for redevelopment as a technology park.

Josh O’Neill, Vireo Health, Chief Business Development Officer: “It’s a beautiful place. A really great community. I feel like Fulton County as a whole has been very welcoming to our business and the people who have moved here from other states, they’ve found it to be a really high quality of life. They’ve found good, affordable housing. The feedback on the schools has been very positive. We’ve got a lot of young families on our team and for them to locate to Fulton County from other states was a big step for them and it’s been an extremely positive experience.”

At the center of the park is the Tryon Regional Business Training and Incubator Center, adding training, classroom, office and workshop space for businesses to utilize. Tryon also has the benefit of being geographically close to its partner in training and workforce development, Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Dr. Dustin Swanger, President, Fulton-Montgomery Community College: “FM has a long history of strong workforce development programs and customizing programs for local businesses, like Benjamin Moore and Townsend Leather.”

Tim Beckett, senior vice president, Townsend Leather:
“We continually rely on them for training, customized classes, and working with our people to help further our staff in growth here in the area.
Fulton County as a whole, any time we’ve needed anything, in terms of economic growth or sustaining our workforce or bringing in new business, they’ve been a good person to rely on and go to for grants, money, even locations and building and equipment.”

Fulton County hosts a vibrant array of biomedical manufacturers, global food processors and light manufacturing companies in three existing business parks. Adding Tryon to that portfolio creates unparalleled advantages for companies searching for an inviting, centrally located home with plug and play infrastructure.

Contact us today to find out more about Tryon Technology Park.
Fulton County New York – Positive.

Fulton County working to rebuild local economy: Times Union

Officials market low costs, infrastructure to attract companies, people

 By Robert Downen, Originally published in the Albany Times Union

In their quest to reverse economic downturn, Fulton County officials are focusing on three words: Live, work and play.

By 2026, they hope their county will attract residents who want to do all three.

Once the epicenter of the upstate leather industry centered in Gloversville, Fulton County has steadily watched economic opportunities dwindle as niche manufacturing jobs go overseas.

Since 1970, the number of people directly and indirectly employed in the leather trades has dropped from 10,000 to 400, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

“These businesses employed towns,” Johnny Evers, director of government affairs at the Business Council of New York State, said at a seminar on Fulton County economic development Tuesday,

Now — and hopefully, with buy-in from local business leaders and elected officials — county officials are hoping they can transform the area into a hotbed of growth by attracting businesses and young people alike.

Boosters believe they have the resources both in infrastructure and human capital. The question is how to get people to use them.

The pitch is simple: Cheap cost of living, coupled with the factory buildings left over from the heyday of manufacturing, should make Fulton County immediately attractive to those seeking metropolitan amenities at a discounted rate.

“Upstate New York is a beautiful place to explore and enjoy, but in many areas the cost of living can be too high,” Jim Mraz, Fulton County planning director, said in August. “In Fulton County, that’s not the case, and that’s something we’re proud of.”

Add in a low crime rate, a new focus on regional partnerships and the county’s location in the middle of myriad nature destinations, and officials are confident they “can establish Fulton County as one of the Capital Region’s premier economic and residential destinations,” said Charles Potter, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors.

Since undertaking the development initiative called Jump Start Fulton County in 2014, officials have focused heavily on luring new businesses and young workers to shovel-ready sites.

Fulton and Montgomery counties at that time brought in Mike Mullis, a corporate site selector, to assess the region’s ability to attract large corporations. Mullis identified seven clusters on which the counties should focus, with biomedical research and development, food and beverage services and health care products among them.

By reorienting towards such high-tech sectors, officials hope they can use their location in the middle of what they’re calling the “Tech Triangle” of New York as a selling point. (Both Utica and the Capital Region tout significant biotechnology sectors, and Albany was rated last week as the most friendly place to do business in New York by Forbes).

A cornerstone of that strategy is the Tryon Technology Park in Perth. The 515-acre park, once occupied by the now-shuttered Tryon Detention Center, has been the focus of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. Last year it moved in its first tenant, medical marijuana company Vireo Health.

“In the greater Capital Region, there’s a tremendous amount of human capital,” Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung said in September. “There’s a lot of talent.

“We want to bring back more (than the 325 jobs) that were lost (at Tryon).”

County officials are also banking on growing agricultural industries statewide.

Since 2000, gross domestic product from upstate New York’s dairy sector has increased by more than 38 percent, to more than $600 million, according to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

In this region alone, international yogurt makers Fage and Chobani have created more than 1,650 jobs, making New York the No. 1 yogurt manufacturing state in the country.

rdownen@timesunion.com • 518-454-5018 • @Robert_Downen

Fulton County pushing tech park: The Daily Gazette

Originally published in The Daily Gazette

— When Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed the Tryon Juvenile Detention Facility in 2011, Fulton County and the surrounding area lost 325 jobs and an estimated $15,000,000 in wages spent in the local economy, according to an estimate from the county planning department.

The Gloversville Water Dept. and the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant also lost a combined $170,000 in annual revenue, they said.

But while similar youth detention facilities across the state were shuttered and remained closed, officials in Fulton County had something different in mind for the Tryon facility. They asked the state to turn the property over to them so they could convert it into a business park.

“Fulton County government took the initiative,” said James Mraz, Executive Director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. “After a couple years worth of back and forth this entire facility was deeded over to the county’s industrial development agency.”

The county, through a combination of grants and matching funds, has so far put over $4 million into the site. They built a ring access road throughout the 515-acre shovel-ready site, known as the Tryon Technology Park, as well as a 300,000-gallon water tower and pump station to improve water pressure and supply.

Head Cultivator Chris Schmitt looks over drying marijuana plant at Vireo Health at Tryon Technology Park in Perth on Thursday.

Head Cultivator Chris Schmitt looks over drying marijuana plant at Vireo Health at Tryon Technology Park in Perth on Thursday. PETER R. BARBER, GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Their plan is to tear down nearly all of the many structures that were part of the detention facility, save for one 15,000-square-foot facility they hope to convert into a regional business training and incubator center. That facility, said Mraz, will help new businesses get off the ground and provide space for them to try out ideas.

Mraz said county officials felt the site would make a good business park because of its proximity to New York’s interstate system and the presence of existing utility hookups.

“There’s already gas, electric, water and sewer service here,” said Mraz. “When you’re developing shovel-ready sites that’s usually the biggest cost, is getting that infrastructure, which is integral to developing the site. It was already here.”

He also touted the county’s access to markets.

“Because of our proximity to interstates, this county, a four-hour drive in any direction has access 70 million potential customers, and that’s huge,” said Mraz, pointing to retail giant Wal-Mart opening a food distribution center in the Johnstown industrial park as evidence of Fulton County’s advantageous location.

“They did it for a reason,” he said. “Strategically it was centrally located to a geographic area that they wanted to serve and could serve given the interstate system here. Our proximity to markets is as good if not better than most other areas.”

Mraz also touted the relative remoteness of Tryon Technology Park as an asset.

“It’s a very peaceful campus setting. So part of our marketing strategy is we’re saying ‘come here, take a 180 degree turn away from a high-cost, high-stress business life,’” he said.

“We think it’s a positive thing. And that’s how we’re trying to market it.”

Selling prospective businesses on the property is something Mraz, who doubles as the county’s planning director, said is a daily task for him and other officials.

“That’s a work task that we’re on every day,” said Mraz. “This business is very competitive.”

Mraz said the county is courting a prospect now that’s looking at sites all over the northeast.

“So every time we’re competing against other great sites, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose,” he said. “I can’t say when we’re going to have [tenants]; all I can say is every day we’re trying.”

The Tryon Tech Park already has one tenant, Vireo Health of New York, which is one of the few companies allowed to grow and manufacture medical cannabis for use by patients in New York.

Vireo’s scientific director Eric Greenbaum said on a recent tour of the facility that the company is one of just five allowed to operate in the state, and while regulations in New York are more stringent than in other states, he sees a bright future for the industry in the state.

Greenbaum said New York’s marijuana program is a “really medical model” as opposed to more recreation-based models in Colorado and California, which could actually greatly help the medical cannabis industry nationwide to serve patients as opposed to casual users.

“[New York’s] is a model that in my opinion will serve as the template for a federal regulatory framework similar to what the FDA would do,” said Greenbaum. “Compared to California, where the medical model is basically a proxy for adult and recreational use…the fact that we don’t sell [marijuana bud], we only sell carefully formulated medicines…it’s just indicative of the approach that New York is taking.”

Vireo provides customers with carefully formulated medicines in three different forms, said Greenbaum: oil (for vaporizing), a capsule or an oral solution. The company has five brands that run the gamut from having very high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations and very low cannabidiol (CBD) concentrations, and vice versa.

Head Cultivator Chris Schmitt looks at buds of marijuana plants at Vireo Health at Tryon Technology Park in Perth on Thursday.

Head Cultivator Chris Schmitt looks at buds of marijuana plants at Vireo Health at Tryon Technology Park in Perth on Thursday. PETER R. BARBER, GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

 Cannabidiol is a compound that is useful for seizure disorders as well as pain, said Greenbaum. It’s also been shown to mitigate the sometimes dysphoric effects of THC, which can include paranoia and anxiousness.

THC is the chemical produced by the glands of a marijuana plant that is most responsible for the euphoric effect – or high – found in users.

Greenbaum said the company settled at Tryon Technology Park as part of the licensing agreement it struck with the state, but that he and Vireo CEO Kyle Kingsley are native New Yorkers who are passionate about jumpstarting local economies wherever they can in the state.

“We knew that the state was really focused on repurposing this facility; we knew there was a commitment to building up the Tryon Technology Park to be a center for tech development as well as job growth for this region,” said Greenbaum.

And while the state’s regulation of medical cannabis is a bit strict now, said Greenbaum, there’s reason to believe it will broaden in the near future.

“It’s a pretty limited patient market right now; there’s been some discussion with the legislators and regulators to expand some of the qualifying patient conditions to include chronic pain,” said Greenbaum. “Chronic pain is one of the indications for which we have the most evidence of efficacy with medical cannabis. So we’re hoping that that goes through. We think it will be really good for the people of New York.”

Marijuana plants at Vireo Health at Tryon Tech Park in Perth on Thursday.

Marijuana plants at Vireo Health at Tryon Technology Park in Perth on Thursday. PETER R. BARBER, GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Greenbaum said Vireo is “optimistic” the regulations will be expanded within the next quarter.

“Not that we’ll be able to implement it, but we’re optimistic we’ll see an announcement within the next 90 days,” said Greenbaum. Relaxing them, he said, would “open up access a lot, and will be good for growth and patients as well.”

And growth is what county officials are hoping for as well with the Tryon Technology Park. Mraz said the capital projects at the site are in their final stages, and the way in which the county has been able to repurpose what would have become an abandoned property is a unique and inspiring way to create more jobs and commerce in the area.

“It’s just going to take some time,” he said.

Reach Gazette reporter Dan Fitzsimmons at 852-9605, dfitzsimmons@dailygazette.net or@DanFitzsimmons on Twitter.

Agenda set for export seminar

Export seminar sponsored by the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth and TD Bank
td-bank-logoFCCRGlogoCMYK

Growth Strategies:
Expanding Your Business Internationally

Holiday Inn Johnstown-Gloversville
November 15, 2016

This export seminar includes networking and learning opportunities about potential markets, logistics, available export financing and cutting through red tape while establishing new lines of business between Fulton County, New York, and the world.

8:30 a.m.
Networking and Registration (Continental Breakfast)

9:00 a.m.
Welcome 

  • Ronald Peters, President & CEO, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth
  • Robert Davey, Regional Vice President for Upstate NY, TD Bank

9:10
Managing Payments and Finalizing the Sale

  • Strategies and options for sending and receiving money from overseas – Maria Aldrete, Director of Foreign Exchange Services, TD Securities LLC
  • Strategies for boosting international sales, managing risk and structuring transactions that benefit both buyers and sellers - Andrea Ratay, Vice President, Global Trade Finance, TD Bank

10:00 a.m.
Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management: Discussion with Moderator

  • Supply Chain management: How to move your products internationally with efficiency and strategies to address some of the challenges facing companies – Tom Valentine, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Mainfreight USA and Carl Erickson, Director of Supply Chain, Plug Power Inc.

10:30 a.m.
Getting Ready to Export: Federal & State Assistance

  • Export Assistance from the federal government- Toni Corsini, NY/NJ Regional Manager, Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Export Assistance from the state governmentEdward Kowalewski, Director of International Investment Programs & Private Sector Liaison to the World Bank,  Empire State Development

11:00 a.m.
Legal Environment of Exporting/Importing:

  • How to protect your intellectual property and what to be mindful of from a legal perspective David Miranda, Attorney, Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti P.C.

11:30 a.m.
Break and Networking

12:00 p.m.
Lunch

12:30 p.m.
Special Guest Speaker 

  • Current state of U.S. and Global Economic Landscape – Implications for importers and  exporters– Brittany Baumann, Economist & Macro Strategist, TD Securities LLC

1:00  p.m. Final Words

  • Cedric Carter, Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager, TD Bank

                                                                               fc-positivefultonmontgomeryconnectedforbusinesslogo

Gloversville inventor helps win GE patent

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 18 – General Electric, Niskayuna, New York, has been assigned a patent (9,417,048) developed by four co-inventors for “capacitive sensor device and method of manufacture.”

The co-inventors are David Richard Esler, Gloversville, NY; Wayne Charles Hasz of Pownal, VT; and Emad Andarawis and Mahadevan Balasubramaniam, both of Ballston Spa, NY.

The patent application was filed on Oct. 31, 2012 (13/665,192).

 

Epimed buys Johnstown building for $1.24M

Epimed International manufactures medical devices and is the anchor tenant in Crossroads Business Park in Johnstown, NY

Epimed International manufactures medical devices and is the anchor tenant in Crossroads Business Park in Johnstown, NY

 JOHNSTOWN – Epimed International Inc., which develops, designs, manufactures and distributes medical devices, has purchased the building that has been its corporate headquarters at the Crossroads Business Park since 1982.

 The building was originally owned by the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, which served as Epimed’s landlord for 30 years. In 2012, the IDA sold the building to STAG Industrial, a real estate investment firm based in Boston, which lists among its rent-producing industrial properties at least eight sites in Gloversville and Johnstown.

Epimed International manufactures medical devices in Fulton County, NY A deed dated June 21, 2016, filed with the Fulton County Clerk’s Office lists the purchase price at $1.24 million. Epimed, which keeps executive offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, is the business park’s anchor tenant, employing more than 80 people. It specializes in interventional pain management, providing devices such as radiation safety equipment, catheters, needles, trays and kits, models and stimulation equipment to the global market.

 

Signs of progress at Tryon Park

New sign at Tryon Technology park main entrance. Tryon Technology Park turned a fresh face to the community with a solar-powered sign for the main entrance based on the county’s new marketing theme, Fulton County…Positive.

Demolition work also began this week at the 515-acre park. The Fulton County Demolition Team is removing six cottages and administrative buildings left over from when the land hosted a youth detention facility. Funding for the work is coming through Fulton County, and the demolition debris is being hauled to the county landfill.Night view of solar-powered entrance sign for Tryon Technology Park.

Demolition at Tryon Technology Park

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
The Fulton County Demolition Team on Tuesday works on taking down the first of six former youth detention buildings at the Tryon Technology Park in Perth to make way for new shovel-ready business sites.

When the work is complete, the Empire State Development Corp. will provide the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency with a certificate declaring the area to be shovel ready, and the sites will go into a state database that promotes available properties to site selectors.

New York State transferred the former Tryon Detention Facility property to the IDA for redevelopment as a business park. The county has secured its first tenant, medical marijuana manufacturer Vireo Health of New York.

The Secrets of Tryon

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Tryon gets grant for training space

PERTH – The Tryon Technology Park will receive $184,153 in federal funding to convert a building on the site into training space, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced Wednesday.

“This grant will help get our Tryon incubator up and running and will prove to be a great job generator for Fulton County,” said Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ronald Peters.

A year ago, the U.S. Northern Border Regional Commission rejected a $120,000 grant request by the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency for the same project.

There were 35 applications that year for parts of a $5 million grant pool. Only five of those projects were funded.

The 2014 plan was to use the center as part of a hands-on teaching experience for students of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

After that plan was shot down, FMCC secured grant money elsewhere to create the program on the college’s campus on Route 67, constructing a lab that cost about $80,000. The program, which began teaching students last week at the start of the fall semester, will stay on campus.

But the job training center at Tryon can now move forward. IDA Executive Director James Mraz said the facility will be leased by businesses in the region to train workers when they don’t have the needed space at their own facilities. It may also be used by FMCC and the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

“This federal funding is great news for Fulton County and will allow them to finally break ground on a new business training and incubation center that will completely transform the old Tryon Detention Center,” Schumer said in a press release. “This new facility will be exactly what is needed to jump-start this bold, ambitious plan to turn the center into a bustling hub for business and innovation.”

Building No. 3’s almost new heating, ventilation, air conditioning, plumbing, water, wastewater and electrical systems were shut down in 2011 when the facility was closed. Over time, heat and humidity caused moisture damage and mold to form. The renovation includes removing the mold and restarting and repairing the buildings boilers, chillers, exhaust systems and pumps.”The entire Tryon project – and the new incubator at the center of it – will now have the potential to attract new companies, create new jobs and reinvigorate the local economy.”

Since the first attempt at funding the job retraining center component of the Tryon Technology Park, Fulton County has made substantial progress in moving the site forward.

In August, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors awarded more than $1.8 million in contracts – partially funded by a $180,000 Empire State Development Corp. grant – for the second construction phase on the 515 acres of Tryon land, which includes parts of the towns of Perth and Johnstown. The county has also signed its first tenant, Empire State Health Solutions, which is using 20 acres to operate a secure medical marijuana manufacturing facility under one of five heavily sought-after special licenses issued by New York State.