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

Leader Herald: Lead on new company for Tryon

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has lead on potential company for new Tryon Technology Park

Lead on potential company: CRG official

June 28, 2016

GLOVERSVILLE – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth has a good lead on a potential company for the new Tryon Technology Park, an official said.

CRG President and CEO Ron Peters provided scant details at his agency’s board meeting Friday at the CRG office.

When the CRG is pursuing business prospects, few details are made public until the deal is final.

During a report on a “combined county marketing effort,” Peters said the CRG participated in a conference call involving a “qualified lead” for a potential company.

“It went well,” Peters said.

He said the new Tryon Technology Park in Perth may be the proper site if the company wants to move to Fulton County.

Peters also mentioned during the “business marketing inquiries” portion of the meeting that the CRG received a “solid” inquiry through the state. But it was unclear whether he was talking about the same company.

“It could be a regionally significant project,” Peters said.

He said a California company is looking to start up in either Fulton or Montgomery counties.

Peters said the CRG last year participated in about half of 110 economic development conference calls conducted by the state. He said it is a “good system” and the CRG was recently given three proposals by the state identifying “possible leads” for companies.

“There’s work to be done,” Peters said.

He said companies are seeking 250,000 square feet of space with expansion potential. He said companies want buildings with high bays.

“They’re usually looking for existing [facilities], and to retrofit that,” Peters said.

Peters said the CRG has a good handle on its inventory of potential buildings. He said the biggest existing buildings the county has are about 150,000 square feet. He said a lot of companies are looking to move into the New York City market.

Fulton County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director James Mraz said the Tryon park in the towns of Perth and Johnstown will create an opportunity for a business “willing to build.”

“We will now have that place to put them,” Mraz said.

Peters said the current cost for a pre-engineered building is about $80 to $100 per square-foot. He said economic development agencies are receiving “mixed calls” from potential businesses, from Florida up the east coast. He said there are still some “hardcore manufacturers” looking for sites.

Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor John Blackmon, county liaison to the CRG, said some buildings of the future may be occupied by only 3D printers.

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

County awards $1.8M in bids for Tryon Technology Park

County OKs bids for Tryon work

Park’s second construction phase planned

Originally published in the Leader Herald August 11, 2015
Reprinted by permission. Read Story on Leader Herald’s Website

By MICHAEL ANICH , Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday awarded more than $1.8 million in contracts for the second construction phase of the Tryon Technology Park project.

Action by the board followed recommendations Monday by the board’s Finance Committee, which discussed the next phase of the project in detail.

“The construction time for this [part of the] project is 330 days,” county Planning Director James Mraz told the committee.

A portion of the project is being offset by a $180,000 Empire State Development Corp. grant.

The county, as well as the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency – owner of the 515-acre Tryon site in the towns of Perth and Johnstown – are converting the park into parcels for commercial development. The park’s first tenant is Empire State Health Solutions, which is occupying a 20-acre piece of Tryon to manufacture medical marijuana.

The county originally received a $2 million grant from the Empire State Development Corp. to pay for the first phase, which included 2,500 feet of new road, 3,500 feet of new water line and 600 feet of new sanitary sewer line.

The second phase of Tryon work includes disconnecting the waterline servicing Tryon from the elevated water storage tank at the state’s Hale Creek Correctional Facility, constructing a new water-pumping station at Tryon, constructing a new 300,000-gallon elevated water storage tank at Tryon, and dismantling an existing ground-mounted water storage tank.

“It’s more expensive to use the existing tank than get a new one,” Mraz said.

Supervisors on Monday awarded a $1.78 million bid to W.M. Schultz Construction of Ballston Spa for the second phase infrastructure improvements at Tryon. Costs of overall construction will actually increase to about $2 million, with such costs as contingency allowances. The county fund balance will be appropriated for the project.

County Budget Director Alice Kuntzsch told supervisors the county has to use the fund balance, and not 2016 capital plan funding, for the second phase because state law says such contracts need an obligation and not a future set-aside.

“You have to obligate that money,” Kuntzsch said. “You need to put that money behind it.”

The board also authorized a $60,720 agreement with C.T. Male Associates of Latham for construction inspection services for the project.

Engineers from C.T. Male Associates originally estimated the second phase of Tryon construction would cost about $1 million, although the low bid came in much higher, at nearly $1.8 million.

Finance Committee members asked C.T. Male engineer Chad Kortz what happened with the estimate. He said the tank manufacturer came in with prices higher than expected, in part because the price of steel is high.

“We usually don’t have that problem,” Kortz said.

Supervisors also passed a resolution “congratulating” Empire State Health Solutions on its recent successful licensing from the state Department of Health.

“ESHS’s new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility is the first business to locate at the Tryon Technology Park as it launches this new technology to benefit patients across the state,” the resolution read. “The occasion of this successful licensure initiates a new partnership between county government, the Fulton County IDA and Empire State Health Solutions to foster its one-of-a-kind medical model that provides the safest medications to the patients of New York.”

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

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

Fulton County NY Boasts Attractive Infrastructure for Site Selectors

Affordable labor combines with top-notch industrial and agricultural resources to put Fulton County, NY on top site selectors’ watch lists:

Fulton County New York Sewage Treatment PlantSewer & Wastewater Treatment
Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility (GJJWTF)  can treat up to13.8 million gallons/day (MGD) of domestic sanitary sewage and industrial wastewater.  In addition, local governments are working collaboratively with Towns to allow the extension of water and sewer services to more vacant land resources.


Potable Water
The region’s abundant water resources are processed through four potable water water holding tankfacilities within the County: one pump station and three water holding tanks.

trucking facility in Fulton County, NY
Transportation
Fulton County provides easy transportation access for supply and distribution chains throughout the Northeast. Our roadways offer easy access to key interstates I-90, I-87 and I-88, leading to New York City, Boston, Montreal, Buffalo and other major metropolitan markets. We offer one in-county airport and access to nearby Albany International Airport.

green light bulb, energy
Energy.
Powered by electric and gas utility National Grid for electric and gas power, our four major industrial parks all offer full-service electric and gas hookups.


Communications.
Fulton County is working to expand the availability of high-speed Broadband Internet in support of the growing interest by global companies in relocating their operations to the region. Wireless telecommunications providers such as AT&T recently expanded wireless service in the region. We also boast five broadcast networks, including WIZR, WFNY, WENT, WYPX, and WBKK.