Site Selection experts to visit Fulton County Sept. 8

You’re Invited

Logo for a guild of site selection experts visiting Fulton County on Sept. 8
in Fulton County, NY

Friday, September 8
7:30 A.M.—10:00 A.M. Holiday Inn
308 N. Comrie Ave., Johnstown, NY 12095

Three nationally recognized corporate site selection experts from the prestigious Site Selectors Guild will be in Fulton County to discuss important economic development topics.

The Site Selectors Guild is the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants. Guild members provide location strategy to corporations across the globe. There are only 47 members of this exclusive Guild.

Topics to Include:
+ Best Practices in Economic Development & Marketing

Best Practices in Workforce Training and Development

+ Site Selectors’ Assessment of Fulton County

+ Question & Answer Session

If you would like to attend this important event, please RSVP by 5:00 P.M. Tuesday September 5, 2017 to:
Beth Lathers, Legislative Aide, Fulton County Board of Supervisors at elathers@fultoncountyny.gov or (518) 736-5545

Tryon Technology Park is one of the Fulton County assets drawing site selection experts to Fulton County NY on Sept. 8fc-positive

fultonmontgomeryconnectedforbusinesslogoThis event is supported by a National Grid Economic Development Grant

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.

WRGB sees growth potential for Fulton County

They’re both headquartered in our area.

The center of Fulton County is about 45 miles from Albany, and with two successful businesses operating there, right now county leaders are hoping to attract even more companies.

Vireo Health CEO Ari Hoffnung was born and raised in New York City, but he decided to manufacture medical marijuana in the quiet countryside of Johnstown.

“Got a great deal on 20 acres and now we have enough space our business can grow into,” Hoffnung said.

Security is extremely important for a medical marijuana operation, which is why Hoffnung says this was a prime location, an old youth corrections facility.

The old inmate living quarters now house the plants used to make kosher forms of the state-regulated drug.

Hoffnung says he saw an opportunity to bring the old Tryon Juvenile Prison buildings back to life, and put Fulton County residents back to work.

“Hundreds of jobs were lost and being able to bring jobs back was extraordinarily important,” Hoffnung said.

But now Hoffnung is looking for neighbors on the prison property, which has been transformed into the Tryon Technology Park, several hundred acres of shovel-ready space.

“We would welcome biotech companies we would welcome medical device companies it’s a great place to do business,” Hoffnung said.

County Planning Director Jim Mraz says the county’s been working to prepare the land in two nearby areas, Hales Mills and Vail Mills, for anticipated residential growth.

“We’re looking at upwards of 900 housing units county-wide in demand,” Mraz said.

They’re hoping the success of Fage yogurt, headquartered just eight miles from the medical marijuana site, will also help businesses look their way.

“We’re so proud they’re here, and we’d like to see more companies like that,” Mraz said.

County leaders say one of their biggest challenges is changing perception. Because the county is mostly rural, leaders say folks tend to think it’s hours away from the Capital Region, but the drive to Johnstown about 40 minutes from Schenectady.

by Anne McCloy, WRGB 6News Albany

Wednesday, June 21st 2017

WNYT finds Fulton County Posi+tive

Presentations highlight business opportunities in Fulton County

June 21, 2017 05:56 PM

PERTH – Fulton County wants companies to know it is open for business. County officials highlighted shovel-ready areas around the county for businesses to move in at a presentation Wednesday. The county highlighted those opportunities at Tryon Technology Park, and branded their new slogan – Fulton County: Posi+ive.

It may seem like an unusual place for a rebirth, an old juvenile detention facility. But at the Tryon Technology Park, Fulton County sees a bright business future for the county. “It was really a day to talk about investment opportunities, real estate development opportunities that we have here in Fulton County, readily available,” said James Mraz, Fulton County’s Planning Director.

The county brought in members of the Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Brokers to talk about opportunities for businesses and families in Fulton County. “We know what we’re doing, we know the opportunities that are here, but it doesn’t do us any good to know them and not for everybody else to,” said Mraz.

The county is focusing on three main sites. A planned residential and retail development in Johnstown and other in Mayfield. But the main area they focused on Wednesday was the Tryon Technology Park in the Town of Perth. The county got the property after the detention facility shut down in 2011. They’ve spent the last two years, and more than five million dollars, getting it ready for business.

“It’s one thing to have the land available, but if that land isn’t supported by the infrastructure it’s really not shovel-ready,” said Mraz. One tenant is already at the Technology Park: Vireo Health. A medical marijuana grower licensed by the state, the company credits the county for their growth.

“Fulton County and its IDA have been true partners to us,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of NY, LLC. “We couldn’t do what we’re doing without their support.”

Vireo praised the county’s investments at Tryon, and say they’re ready for new tenants to come in. “Infrastructure here is top notch when it comes to power, when it comes to water, when it comes to high speed internet access,” said Hoffnung. “And it’s getting a little lonely so we would love a few more neighbors.”

Credits

Ben Amey

Copyright 2017 – WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Business to expand into Diana Knit site

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather's expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather’s expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

MIKE ANICH
Reporter
manich@leaderherald.com
Originally published in The Leader-Herald, May 3, 2017

JOHNSTOWN — Townsend Leather plans to expand into the former, vacant Diana Knitting Mill complex at North Perry and Grove streets, eventually creating more than 50 new jobs to start.

The renewal and manufacturing project was unveiled by Townsend representative Stitchery Realty LLC to the city Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall.

“We’ve been looking at floor space throughout the city,” Tim Beckett of Stitchery told the board.

He said Townsend could have looked elsewhere, but decided to stay in the city of Johnstown.

Townsend Leather on Townsend Avenue, which dyes and produces leather goods for vendors throughout the world, has been in business since 1969.

The former Diana Knitting Mill at 229 N. Perry St. is a three-parcel, multi-building connected complex that has been empty for more than 15 years.

The complex includes a 66,000-square-foot building, of which 47,000 square feet is a three-story, former knitting mill; and a 19,000-square-foot, two-story addition built in 1988 with conveyer system.

Beckett said Townsend is seeking a new business operating permit for the mill area. Zoning in that part of Johnstown is currently classified as commercial. There are no zoning issues. He said the eventual Townsend operation would include manufacturing equipment, dry drums and a leather buffing machine. He said one side of the complex would hire up to 12 people to start and the brick side of the plant facing Grove Street would involve about 40 employees to start.

But Beckett cautioned that much work has to be done to the building and the new Townsend operation may not come to fruition for a year to two years.

According to an informational letter from Stitchery Realty LLC to the planning board, Townsend is under contract to purchase the former mill.

“The contract is contingent on structural, environmental and zoning approval for industrial manufacturing at the site,” the Stitchery letter states.

The letter notes the existing parcels need to be changed, altered or granted a variance prior to purchase.

“We have an agreement with [Townsend] to lease one-third of the building with an option to take half of the space should we have manufacturing on these parcels,” the letter says. “The local manufacturer’s production will be inclusive of the building. There would be no external exhaust or wastewater additions to the building nor would they be emitting any particles. The lease and purchase of this building are dependent upon manufacturing at the [former] Diana Mill.”

The letter says the plan is not to “alter the existing footprint” of the building.

“Construction on the building will be to focus on getting it back up to code and capable of leasing out,” the letter states. “There are a few small out buildings on the southwest section of the Grove Street building parcel. These buildings were to house old boilers, which may need to come down as the roofs are in disrepair. The remainder of the building will be planned for future rental space for startup manufacturers, potential office space and even some co-working offices with shared services. These would be developed after the first phase of construction is complete and the building is up to code to be leased out.”

“Parking is a tough scenario for us,” Beckett said.

But he said his firm has been in touch with nearby JAVAC, to possibly use some of its parking spaces.

Beckett said a two-year plan for the complex is to take out some trees around the building and windows will be replaced.

The board voted to hold a public hearing on the project for 4 p.m. June 6 at City Hall. The board also voted itself lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review process that is required.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Site Selection: New Lease on Life

Below is an excerpt from an in-depth article outlining the virtues of Tryon Technology Park for potential investors in the March 2017 edition of Site Selection magazine.

Tryon Technology Park in Upstate New York shows what can happen when a sense of purpose meets a parcel primed for adaptive redevelopment

by Adam Bruns
adam.bruns@siteselection.com

excerpt:

Fifty years after its commissioning in upstate New York’s Fulton County, the 515-acre Tryon Juvenile Detention Center campus in the Town of Perth is experiencing a complete transformation into Tryon Technology Park.

It’s just the beginning, says James Mraz, and area native who’s been Fulton County’s Planning Director for 30 years. The facility that was once the jewel of the state’s juvenile detention system was closed in 2011 as part of a system makeover by the State of New York. Its creative, adaptive reuse is a project Mraz calls the jewel of his career, and it is taking place in a county whose entire population is only about 50,000 people.

“Many towns and villages are bigger than us,” he says. But no place had a bigger motivation to turn things around. The closure meant the loss of 325 good jobs totalling about $15 million in payroll.

See the online edition of Site Selector Magazine here. Tryon article is on digital page 140.

Tryon Technology Park

Josh O’Neil, Chief Business Development Officer at Vireo Health Solutions, said Tryon Technology Park in Fulton County, NY, was ideal for his company because: “All the infrastructure was in place. That was a very big deal. It was also very affordable – on a per-acre basis, it’s one of the best values in the state. And there has been tremendous support from the town and the county. When we met with Fulton County folks, seeing their enthusiasm was a game changer. They wanted us there, and we knew they’d be good partners.”

In conversations with local leaders, Mraz suggested the closure was an opportunity. After all, the campus already had fiber-optics, natural gas, sewer and water service. It also has a 75,000-sq.-ft. building available for reuse as manufacturing, office or incubator space.

The county already had a proven track record in developing three business parks, but by 2011 their available land had dwindled, thanks to projects from companies such as Fage Yogurt, Walmart and Benjamin Moore Paints. Perth also happens to be centrally located in a triangle formed by the GLOBALFOUNDRIES semiconductor manufacturing complex in Malta, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany and the Marcy Nano Center site in Utica.

Unique Offering

After Mraz’s team submitted a proposal, the parcel was transferred to the Fulton County Industrial Development Authority for the price of $1. The county and IDA secured $2 million in state grant funding for a new internal access road and upgraded water and sewer lines. Then the county invested another $2 million Read the rest of the article from Site Selector Magazine as a PDF

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.

Big plans for Tryon Technology Park

Fulton County officials have big plans for Tryon Technology Park

Fulton County marketing Tryon Technology Park

September 22, 2016

PERTH – The 515-acre Tryon Technology Park is in its infancy, but Fulton County officials have big plans for its future.

County Planning Director James Mraz on Wednesday led area media on a tour of the County Highway 107 facility, which used to be the state’s Tryon Youth Detention Facility. Now, as Mraz explained, the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency has taken ownership and is working closely with county government to create developable land and prepare the park for businesses.

“We are currently actively marketing Tryon,” Mraz said.

Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz shows a building that will be reused at the Tryon Technology Park during a tour Wednesday. The Midas-sponsored shop serviced vehicles at the state’s former Tryon youth detention center. The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz shows a building that will be reused at the Tryon Technology Park during a tour Wednesday. The Midas-sponsored shop serviced vehicles at the state’s former Tryon youth detention center. The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

Officials say they hope the Tryon Technology Park becomes a new home for high-tech companies.

The Tryon facility and its future growth is part of a larger Fulton County economic development strategy aimed at bringing more jobs into the area to reduce the local property tax burden.

Mraz, also the IDA’s executive director, said the Fulton County Demolition Team this summer took down an old building on the Tryon campus and is now razing five more for the creation of more than 100 acres of prime developable land.

“That work is ongoing,” he said.

The overall Tryon plan is to at least replace jobs lost when the youth detention facility closed in 2011.

“We’re off to that start,” Mraz said of new job creation.

The technology park currently has one tenant – medical marijuana manufacturer Vireo Health. The company has 20 employees.

Various sections of the park will be divided into pockets of what Mraz calls “shovel-ready land.” There are 51.5 acres of such land off the park’s newly created County Highway 117, another 118 acres of land will be shovel-ready in an area to the east of the park bordered by County Highways 107 and 158, and another 44 acres is planned to the northwest.

Many of the project sites among 260 acres will be around a loop in the center of the park.

A future development area of 57 acres is being studied for the northern part of the park.

The park already has water and sewer services, and a regional business training and incubator center is planned for an existing building.

Mraz said that after the IDA took ownership of Tryon in 2014, officials immediately concerned themselves with job creation.

The IDA also owns 30 acres across the road from the park entrance.

“We’re also willing to look at these other properties as commercial developments,” Mraz said. “That’s the vision.”

He said many ideas for job creation spun from a September 2013 two-day visit by international site selector Michael Mullis to Fulton and Montgomery counties. New Jersey-based DCG Corplan Consulting has also done a marketing plan and analysis for Tryon that identified clusters of potential jobs.

County officials are also working with engineering firm C.T. Male to reuse existing space at the Tryon campus. Money is available to bring the regional business training and incubator center to fruition through $185,000 in federal Northern Borders Regional Commission grant money, $50,000 from 2016 county budget funds, and $65,000 through the IDA.

The hope, Mraz says, is to eventually create jobs through big or small companies. He said Fulton County will find a way to accommodate companies now at Tryon if it has to.

Buildings at Tryon were built in the 1960s and 1970s. Some are structurally sound and some aren’t. Officials are looking at the former Midas building at Tryon for providing 16,000 square feet for start-up companies.

“This building is perfectly set up for this,” Mraz said.

The Midas-sponsored auto shop serviced vehicles at the state’s former detention facility.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Export symposium planned in Fulton County NY

The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has begun preliminary work on organizing a fall symposium in Fulton County to help local businesses take advantage of opportunities for selling their products in foreign markets.

Townsend Leather Design showroom in Fulton County NY

Custom leather manufacturer Townsend Leather gained the Mohawk Valley’s sole Foreign Trade Zone designation this year at its Fulton County, NY, production facility. The FCCRG is planning an export symposium in the fall to help local businesses take advantage of foreign trade opportunities.

The export symposium will focus not only on encouraging small and large local companies to expand their sales markets, but also on demonstrating international trade opportunities to companies that may be interested in settling in Fulton County.

With initial sponsorship and participation by Empire State Development’s Global NY initiative and at least one Capital Region bank, CRG President Ron Peters is planning a one day symposium in the first half of October. Global NY is an initiative launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to offer “one-stop shopping to both foreign businesses looking to invest in New York and to local businesses who want to export globally.”

The event will focus on understanding and accessing available financing and loan packages, cutting through red tape and making connections. Peters said he also plans to approach Montgomery County economic development officials about participating in the event, with the goal of having representatives from at least 30 businesses involved.

Fulton County is ideally situated for the production and transportation of goods bound for international markets. Three interstate highways provide quick and direct access to New York City, Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, as well as the deep-water Port of Albany and Albany International Airport. In fact, there are 21 international airports within a four-hour drive of Fulton County.

Fulton County is also part of Foreign-Trade Zone #121, which allows individual businesses to apply to have their facilities designated as international commerce zones. In these federally approved areas (industrial parks or individual manufacturing or distribution facilities) materials can be imported without the payment of U.S. Customs duties as long as the goods stay in the FTZ.  Once the goods leave the FTZ for U.S. consumption, reduced tariffs are available. FTZ sites remain within the jurisdiction of local and state governments, but are subject to spot checks and periodic inspections by Customs.

In March 2016, Townsend Leather became the first Fulton County company to receive Foreign Trade Zone status from the U.S. Department of Commerce since a former eyeglass manufacturer achieved FTZ status in 1996. Townsend’s FTZ designation – the only one currently active in the Mohawk Valley – allows the custom leather manufacturer to avoid paying tariffs before shipping in raw leather and chemicals from outside the U.S. to its Townsend Avenue plant, as well as take advantage of reduced levies on custom leathers it sells in the United States using materials sourced overseas.

Townsend employs more than 140 people in Fulton County to create high-quality and custom leathers for aviation, hospitality, residential, yachting and other specialty-end uses.

Corporate site selector Michael Mullis of JM Mullis, Inc. has called the Fulton Montgomery Region a prime area for businesses looking for a New York location because of the transportation infrastructure and availability of shovel-ready sites and natural resources.

Specific dates, locations and seminars for the symposium will be available as they are finalized at FCCRG.org.