Buildings and Shovel Ready – Sites Are Waiting For You!
The former juvenile detention center, where a young Mike Tyson learned to box, has been transformed into a ready-to-go, reasonably-priced, quiet, and sized-to-suit place for businesses to thrive, with plenty of room for expansion.
When Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to close a host of juvenile facilities across the state in 2011-including the Tryon Residential Center – it turned out to be a bounty for Fulton County. The county’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) acquired the over-500-acre property at no charge, and in partnership with Fulton County, upgraded the site’s infrastructure and readied it for occupancy.
Aided by a $2 million Regional Economic Development Council grant from New York State, the IDA and county built a new access road that turns into a primary loop around the park, reconfigured the sewer system, and constructed a new water pumping station. One recent project was the repair and upgrade of the electrical system to provide three-phase power and multiple points of connection.
The IDA also removed some of the derelict buildings that were constructed in 1966 when the state opened the campus and created a separate sewer district for the area. The result of these improvements is over 240 acres of shovel-ready sites and two structures–one a former maintenance building and the other a facility that once housed automotive classes–that are waiting for companies to set up shop. “We’ve made the necessary repairs to keep everything working well,” said David D’Amore, the IDA’s board president.
Companies looking for affordable, shovel-ready sites in any configuration need look no further than Fulton County’s Tryon Technology Park.
The most striking aspect of Tryon Technology Park is the flexibility that it has to offer incoming businesses. The IDA is open to entertaining offers on various-sized parcels of land as well as bids on any of the buildings that remain, such as the former administration, maintenance, and tech class buildings. “We’re largely looking at this mostly as empty land,” D’Amore said. “We are willing to reconfigure the lot size as needed, and we’re more than willing to adjust appropriately based on the needs of the companies that are coming in,” he said, noting that the land is listed at $27,000 per acre. “The cost of land is advantageous.”
Vireo Health, Inc., which built its facilities at Tryon in 2015 and is now expanding them, found Tryon to be a desirable place for growth for several reasons. “Specifically, where the park is located, it provides manufacturing companies with access to affordable space, to state-of-the-art infrastructure, and most importantly, access to the talent that comes from both Fulton County and the adjacent region,” said Ari Hoffnung, the company’s chief strategy officer and the CEO of Vireo Health of New York. “Being in Fulton County where the land is affordable and where the infrastructure—water, power, and broadband is available—that is something that was very attractive to us,” he said.
Hoffnung also emphasizes the draw of a skilled workforce. “We have found that the greater Albany area has a tremendous amount of talent and human capital,” he said. “We’ve been able to hire scientists and are very impressed with the talents in the area.”
D’Amore points out the technology-oriented high school and college programs in the county. “We’ve got an educational system that rebuilds itself to address the needs of tech companies,” he said of the Fulton County Community College programs.
Hoffnung pointed out that local government is extremely business-friendly. “It’s not a place with a lot of red tape,” he said. “It’s a place that truly supports businesses and their desire to grow,” he said.
Other expansion in Tryon Technology Park is the leasing of a 29-acre parcel of land to Canada-based Nexus Renewables, a renewable energy developer that plans to build a $10.5 million solar farm and storage facility.
On part of the Tryon site, the IDA anticipates creating a residential development that would include higher-end housing as well as apartment-style living, along with some retail and office space. “We could probably fit 25 to 50 residential homes, depending on density,” D’Amore said, noting that the IDA is looking for a developer to take on the job.
With the pandemic causing some to rethink where they want to live and work, Fulton County offers a quieter, more spacious opportunity. “If you don’t want to deal with a rat race, you don’t want to deal with a 40-minute commute to work, this is the place to come,” D’Amore said. “You can work hard and play hard, because there’s ample opportunities for outdoor recreation in the county with hiking trails and the Great Sacandaga Lake,” he said. In addition, the is only three and a half hours from New York City, Boston, and Montreal. “You have the ability to get to the bigger places and still have the comforts of small-town living that are here.”