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, New York – Positive

You have one life.
Don’t spend it on someone else’s dream.
You have the fire. You have the potential.
You will rise to the challenge.

Fulton County believes in you.
This is your new frontier
The place where your side hustle becomes the next big thing.

We are positive.

We are ready for you now.
Fulton County has the plan and the infrastructure,
the untapped resources,
and affordable architectural treasures to start your imagination as well as your business.

Fulton County welcomes the risk takers
the visionary creators
the artisans
the passionate entrepreneurs.
We honor bold ideas and unconventional thinking.
We offer you inspiring vistas
44 lakes,
a sense of community
and places you can afford to call your own.
This is where you start.
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This is YOUR Fulton County.
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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

Growing Industry

Marijuana ready for harvest at Vireo Health in Tryon Technology Park

September 26, 2016, By MICHAEL ANICH, Reprinted from the Leader Herald0926 Mon Story greenhouse

PERTH – The pistils, or hairs of the plants, are ready. The resin and THC levels appear to be in peak condition.

It’s time to harvest marijuana plants at the Tryon Technology Park.

“We’re going to start harvesting next week,” Vireo Health of New York, LLC Chief Horticulturist Chuck Schmitt said Wednesday.

Vireo Health – the park’s only and first full-time business – is due to begin harvesting its cannabis plants this week to produce batches of legal medical marijuana products for the public. The firm employs 20 people, mostly with scientific, horticulture and plant biology backgrounds.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich Vireo Health Scientific Director Eric Greenbaum shows off some of the Vireo Health equipment used to procss medical marijuana at the Tryon Technology Park in the town of Perth.

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich Vireo Health Scientific Director Eric Greenbaum shows off some of the Vireo Health equipment used to process medical marijuana at the Tryon Technology Park in the town of Perth.

Fulton County and Vireo Health officials on Wednesday took area media on a tour of Vireo Health’s new operation – a curiously sophisticated and highly-protected cannabis growth building sanctioned by New York state. The new company provides medical marijuana – mainly in the form of vapor and capsules. Such firms also produce medical cannabis oral tinctures and syringes to Empire State-sanctioned dispensaries.

The new Tryon Technology Park is owned by the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency.

“Vireo came to us last year, in the spring of 2015,” says IDA Executive Director James Mraz. “This was a central location.”


“When you look at where Fulton County is located in the state, from a logistics standpoint, it’s at a convenient location to different parts of the state. There is a tremendous amount of [employment] talent in the Capital District.” –Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung


In 2014, New York state adopted the Compassionate Care Act that authorized the growing of medical cannabis to manufacture medicines to administer to patients with debilitating diseases. Vireo Health was one of five companies issued a license, retrofitting an existing 21,000-square-foot building.

Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung agreed Friday his company was attracted to the location.

“When you look at where Fulton County is located in the state, from a logistics standpoint. it’s at a convenient location to different parts of the state,” Hoffnung said. “There is a tremendous amount of [employment] talent in the Capital District.”

Hoffnung said Vireo Health is a “professionally-run operation” that will only gain more support as time goes on.

“Fulton County is an efficient place to build a plant,” he said.

Schmitt, who led Wednesday’s tour, showed off medical medical marijuana production from start to finish. The extraction process goes from seedlings to bricks of smaller plants to larger, more mature plants in the company’s new greenhouse. The cannabis is eventually processed into the medical marijuana used by patients.

Temperature, humidity and moisture controls are closely monitored throughout the process. Light, whether it’s blue-green or orange, are appropriately used for growing. Vireo Health recaptures and reuses its roof rainwater throughout the process. Security is also very tight at Vireo Health.

“It’s a continuous process,” Schmitt said. “This is a very unique [operation].”

The Vireo Health building has five “flowering” rooms, with Schmitt showing off the vibrant sticky strains of the plants known as the pistils. One of the rooms has 300 plants growing.

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich Vireo Health Chief Horticulturalist Chuck Schmitt checks out some cannabis seedlings Wednesday at the Tryon Technology Park.

The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
Vireo Health Chief Horticulturalist Chuck Schmitt checks out some cannabis seedlings Wednesday at the Tryon Technology Park.

Temperatures are generally kept warm in the growing rooms, as high as 85 degrees. In the 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, Schmitt shows the tour the 2,000 more mature plants, already from four to eight feet high and ready to harvest. Those plants have the higher concentrations of THC, the compound obtained from cannabis that is the primary intoxicant in marijuana.

The pharmacological process pulls out the useful parts of the marijuana plant to make its medicine.

Vireo Health eventually plans to build a second and third-greenhouse, Schmitt said.

Company Scientific Director Eric Greenbaum says a state lab eventually does a third party canniabinoid testing on Vireo Health’s product before it can be shipped out to the licensed dispensaries.

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

Educating a workforce in Fulton and Montgomery

Efforts to promote a workforce that is ready for the jobs being created in Fulton and Montgomery counties made significant progress in 2015, according to a report this week by the Fulton-Montgomery CEO Roundtable.

PTECH flourishes and expands

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) program, first introduced locally by the state Department of Education in 2014, served 100 students across the two counties in 2015. Students enter the PTECH program as 9th graders and work simultaneously toward earning a Regents High School Diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Fulton-Montgomery Community College at no cost to the student’s family.

The 4-6 year sequence emphasizes individualized pathways to completion, work place experiences, mentorship, in-depth project-based learning and real world experiences.High schools collaborate with the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide mentors for PTECH students.

The initial PTECH programs focus on Business Management and Administration, Advanced Manufacturing (Clean Technology), Information Technology and Health Sciences.

The state has awarded HFM BOCES approval for an expansion of PTECH to focus on agricultural science, fisheries and wildlife technology. The program will partner schools with FMCC and the State University of New York at Cobleskill for AG-P-TECH, scheduled to be launched in September.

Smart Scholars

Two other programs are working to help high school students in the two counties achieve graduation and pursue pathways to specific careers.

Smart Scholars Early College High School Program is giving students in the Greater Amsterdam School District the opportunity and preparation to accelerate the completion of their high school studies while earning transferable college credits at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The first batch of Smart Scholars graduates in 2014 went on to study at The College of St. Rose, SUNY Plattsburgh, Elmira College, Hartwick College, Manhattan College, Russell Sage College, SUNY Cobleskill, Keuka College, St. John’s University, New England College and Fulton-Montgomery.

In photo standing left to right: Smart Scholar Amsterdam High seniors attending classes at FM: Carlos Mercado, Jr., Gregory Kerrick, “JoJo” Jonardy Anil, Krysta Ortega, Jennifer Alvarez, and Marieshellie Mora; Seated left to right: Program Coordinator Effie Maglaras with seniors Marilyn Rodriguez, Gabrielle Mitchell, and Samantha Waldvogel (Missing from photo: Ilenis Quinones)

Left to right: Smart Scholar Amsterdam High seniors attending classes at FM in 2014: Carlos Mercado, Jr., Gregory Kerrick, “JoJo” Jonardy Anil, Krysta Ortega, Jennifer Alvarez, and Marieshellie Mora; Seated left to right: Program Coordinator Effie Maglaras with seniors Marilyn Rodriguez, Gabrielle Mitchell and Samantha Waldvogel (Missing from photo: Ilenis Quinones)

Pathways to Development established Freshmen Academies for Amsterdam, Gloversville and Johnstown 9th grade students. These “schools within a school” aim to ease the stresses of transition from middle school to high school.

Another education-related enhancement promoted by the CEO Roundtable in 2015 included Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Global Village, currently in development to provide student housing, open-market apartments, housing for active mature adults, restaurants and small shops with a contemporary ‘college-town’ feel.

The CEO Roundtable was formed in 2011 by a group of business leaders in Fulton and Montgomery counties to create a business-friendly climate that will help the region retain existing businesses and attract new ones.

Fage gets NY thank you for doubling production in Johnstown

In a nod to the enormous investment the yogurt producer has made in Fulton County, Empire State Development Corp. has awarded $780,000 to Fage USA Dairy Industry to cover the costs of new machinery and equipment.Fage Yogurt silos in Johnstown, NY

In September, the 87-year-old Greek company completed a two-year, $82 million expansion of its yogurt factory in Johnstown, part of a plan to retain 160 existing jobs and create 130 new ones. The company is advertising for lab technicians, maintenance technicians, warehouse and field operators, and according to ESD, has already created 113 new positions.

FAGE is one of 28 yogurt manufacturers in New York, double the number in 2000. FAGE continues to ride on the growing popularity of Greek yogurt as it faces growing competition from other major players including Chobani and Alpina USA.

To keep pace, FAGE has invested $200 million in the City of Johnstown since the company began production there six years ago.

“It’s good news. Fage is a good corporate citizen of Fulton County and a good employer,” said Ron Peters, the president of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

WAMC: Fulton County Officials Hope Medical Marijuana Will Jumpstart Tryon Site

Fulton County Officials Hope Medical Marijuana Will Jumpstart Tryon Site

Originally Broadcast on WAMC NorthEast Public Radio

By LUCAS WILLARD

Listen to the report on WAMC’s Website

The economy of rural Fulton County, New York has struggled for years, but with a new medical marijuana cultivation center on the way, officials are hoping New York’s burgeoning biomedical industry will help draw new business to the region.

 On the last day of July, five of 43 applicants were awarded licenses by the New York State Department of Health to cultivate, process, and distribute medical marijuana. Company Empire State Health Solutions is working to begin distributing the drug from its Fulton County facility.

Chief Operating Officer Michael Newel told WAMC that the site in the Mohawk Valley was chosen for its central location and proximity to major roadways.

 “Having grown up in Galway and Amsterdam, I was well aware of the unemployment rate in Fulton and Montgomery County and starting thinking that was pretty centrally located and was there a place where we could site the facility there. And as I started looking at that the Tryon Technology Park popped up.”

 The Tryon Technology Park was converted from a state operated juvenile correctional facility. Empire State Development transferred the property to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency in 2012.

 Jim Mraz, Executive Director of IDA and Fulton County Planner, is excited for the Perth facility’s first tenant.

“We’re hoping this is the start of something big and will be something great for this region if we can replace all of the jobs that were lost when that facility closed,” said Mraz.

 At its peak, the Tryon Residential Center employed 350 before closing. Empire State Health Solutions anticipates creating at least 75 full-time jobs.

 While electric, gas, water, sewer, and fiber-optic internet were already available at the site, over the last year the county and IDA have made a few improvements including a new access road and rerouted sewer and water lines.

 Mraz said Fulton County commissioned a study for the best industrial uses at the Tryon site.

 “And the number one cluster is bio-medical research and development. Empire State Health Solutions proposed pharmaceutical manufacturing facility is a perfect fit.”

 And officials hope the company will jumpstart the 500-acre Tryon site and bring in more tenants. Ron Peters is President and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

 “By bringing in this group we can go out and try to attract other similar bio-med groups. I think it’s going to change the landscape of Tryon Technology Park,” said Peters.

 Peters also praised the site’s rural setting and central location.

 “Close proximity to Saratoga, very close proximity to Albany, and its close proximity to all sites north and west.”

 Empire State Health Solutions will distribute medical marijuana to Broome, Albany, Westchester and Queens counties.

 Elsewhere in our region, Etain LLC will manufacture in Warren County and dispense in Albany, Ulster, Westchester, and Onondaga counties. PharmaCann will operate out of Orange County and distribute the in the Bronx, Erie, Onondaga and Albany counties.

 Columbia Care NY will dispense the drug in Clinton County.

 For a full list of companies and locations visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/application/selected_applicants.htm

Medical Marijuana Plant Approved for Tryon in Fulton County

medical marijuana to be one of the first manufacturing operations at Tryon Technology Park

Medical Marijuana Plant Approved for Tryon Technology Park in Fulton County

Fulton County will host the manufacturing operations for one of five organizations given health department permission today for the production and sale of medical marijuana in New York State.

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a written statement. “The five organizations selected for registration today showed, through a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process, they are best suited to produce and provide quality medical marijuana to eligible New Yorkers in need, and to comply with New York’s strict program requirements.”

ESHS is a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Vireo Health LLC, a medical cannabis company which works to “insert standard medical, scientific, business and operational principles into the medical cannabis industry, which often lacks the expertise to meet specific scientific and medical standards,” according to its website. Kyle Kingsley is the CEO of both Empire State Health Solutions and Vireo Health.

Tryon Site in Fulton County NY

The first phase of the medical marijuana project involves renovating and retrofitting one of the existing buildings on 20 acres on the west side of the Tryon Technology Park for grow rooms, security and offices.

 

The first phase of their project involves renovating and retrofitting one of the existing buildings on 20 acres on the west side of the Tryon facility for grow rooms, security and offices.  The second phase would be the first greenhouse, and the third phase, scheduled for this fall, would be to develop additional facilities around the greenhouse.

ESHS plans to start with 20 employees in Fulton County – with an average starting wage of $22 – adding another 20 by the end of the year. When the facility is fully operational in October 2016 there could be as many as 100 unionized workers, according to Fulton County Senior Planner Sean Geraghty. The average worker would start at $22 per hour, he said.

Three top staff have already been hired, including a head horticulturalist from Austin, Texas. The company is advertising locally for some of the key entry-level positions. Applicants should search indeed.com to apply.

While New York is one of the largest states to embrace the drug’s use for medical purposes, it is hardly the first: 22 other states as well as the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana,

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, a national drug reform group, 22 states and the District of Columbia have changed their laws to allow the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. California was the first in 1996.

Gov. Cuomo’s opposed partial marijuana legalization when he campaigned for governor in 2010, and blocked attempts by lawmakers to create a medical marijuana program in 2011. In early 2014, however, he proposed his own plan to make the drug available at select hospitals across the state. That plan was opposed as too restrictive by advocates of patients likely to benefit from the pain-relieving affects of marijuana, such as those with cancers, seizure disorders and AIDS.

Cuomo’s next proposal, the Compassionate Care Act, also kept restrictions in place – such as barring the administration of the drug by smoking. New York producers will create alternate methods of  using the drug, including a vaporized delivery system similar to an e-cigarette.

No.22 Bicycles Opens Production Facility in Johnstown

A Toronto precision bicycle designer has opened a new U.S. bicycle frame-building production facility in Johnstown, NY, in a former textile plant called the Johnstown Knitting Mill.

No.22 Bicycle Company designs the kind of precision-crafted road and track bikes that inspire passionate obsession in their owners. When it was ready to expand from design into production, No.22 chose Johnstown, which has an inventory of affordable manufacturing spaces ripe for repurposing, as well as easy access to multiple methods of shipping.

The Johnstown Knitting Mill Company was a large employer in Fulton County throughout the entire 20th century, manufacturing knitted goods and work glove cloth. By 2000, the Johnstown Knitting Mill Company succumbed to the financial stresses of foreign competition and closed after more than 100 years.

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The industrial-age mill at 309 West Montgomery Street was renovated five years ago to accommodate multiple tenants, making it a flexible choice for the young and growing bicycle company, which was founded in 2012.

A Ready Workforce

No. 22 Bicycle Co. Production facility in Johnstown, NY;The location was attractive, but it was the availability of talent that drew the Canadians to upstate New York. No.22 hired three of the craftsmen who had been responsible for making the now-defunct Serotta company in Saratoga Springs the bicycle industry benchmark for build and finish quality.

The 40-year-old Serotta was sucked into the December 2014 bankruptcy of Divine Cycling Group, a private equity firm formed in 2012 to acquire Serotta and other high-end bike makers. A new company, Saratoga Frameworks, was promptly formed to try to keep the craftsmen working, but financial and legal complications forced it to close six months later.

“There are only a couple of places in the world that have experience with high-end titanium bikes, ” said Mike Smith, who founded No.22 with partner Bryce Gracey. No.22 had been having its designs produced by a large Tennessee manufacturer. In an effort to move their products upmarket, they had started to shift production work to Saratoga Frameworks.

 “The talent pool is 100 percent of the reason we’re in Johnstown,” Smith said. “When we were looking at setting up the facility, we were looking for a place that was close to the employees we wanted.”

Scott Hock, No.22’s new director of operations for the production facility, is a Johnstown native. The Canadian partners contacted real estate agent Clayton Sitterley and began to tour vacant Fulton County manufacturing buildings of all shapes and sizes, from modern industrial parks to old glove factories.

“There’s no shortage of nice space, and the rents are extremely affordable,” Smith said. “What we really loved about the Knitting Mill is the character of the space. It’s a beautiful building. There are hardwood floors and these big, beautiful windows. You can’t help it when you walk through there, you want to hatch an idea to be able to take advantage of it.”

No.22 has outfitted 4,500 square feet in the 100,000-square-foot Johnstown mill with a mix of vintage and new equipment, such as a bank of 50-year-old US-made Bridgeport vertical mills for precision mitering and a new HAAS CNC lathe to remove minuscule flecks of titanium from the frame tubes for a precise fit.

Hock, head welder Frank Cenchitz, welder Bryar Sesselman, and a newer hire named Sam Dries are producing No.22’s Great Divide titanium road bike, Broken Arrow cylocross cross-country racing bike and Little Wing track bike, as well as working under contract to produce high-end frames for other brands. Great Divide and Broken Arrow bikes start at $4,800 and $5,500 respectively.

 A new No.22 race-focused model, The Reactor, was introduced at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Kentucky in March, and it took home the blue ribbon for best cyclocross bike. The Reactor frame kit (not a complete bike) starts at $5,200.

Smith says No.22’s sales will probably triple this year over last. The Knitting Mill offers room to grow, and Smith thinks the company may need to expand soon. He likes the fact that the tenant across the hall is a high-end machine shop, making it convenient to order supplies – “May I borrow a cup of titanium, please?”

The incubator-style nature of the Mill opens a lot of different future scenarios for either expansion or building a community of businesses with compatible interests. No.22’s production team was thrilled when a craft brewery briefly made plans to open in part of the building, but that ended up not happening.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to work with this team as the long-term manufacturing home for our bikes,” Smith said. “We have been building our brand around the resurgence of North American craftsmanship, and the frames that Scott, Frank and their colleagues are able to build have us thrilled about this relationship. We feel privileged to be working with them to produce bikes that we can all be proud of.”