Orange County’s Economy Becoming Much More Diverse

John Jordan | September 2017

GOSHEN—For years, many considered Orange County to be chiefly a retail and warehouse and distribution market in the Hudson Valley. Today, that misinformed characterization can be easily dispelled by the diverse industry mix of firms that are located here and by those seeking to locate operations in Orange County.

At press time, two major economic development projects are poised to begin construction. The $500-million LEGOLAND New York project, which is expected to create approximately 1,300 jobs, is in the final phases of the approval process in the Town of Goshen. The developer, Merlin Entertainments, is hopeful that construction on this major children’s theme park can begin sometime in 2018.

Organic food manufacturer Amy’s Kitchen has secured all necessary approvals and is expected to break ground soon on its $90-million 369,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Town of Goshen that is expected to create 681 jobs.

In an interview with Real Estate In-Depth, Amanda Hicks Dana, director of business retention and expansion, and Bill Fioravanti, director of business attraction, for the Orange County Partnership, spoke of the successful attractions, retentions and expansions that have taken place thus far in 2017 and the pipeline of projects the Partnership is now servicing.

Dana related that Steris Applied Sterilization Technologies has completed its expansion project of its manufacturing facilities in Chester. The company has completed a 60,000-square-foot expansion that will produce 25 new jobs. The Orange County Partnership began working on the project about two years ago that eventually received incentives from the Orange County Industrial Development Agency and the Empire State Development Corp.

She noted that the current pipeline of business retention and expansion projects involves 23 companies. However, the industry breakdown shows just how diverse Orange County’s economy has become. In the BR&E pipeline are: 15 manufacturing companies, two warehouse/distribution, three sports recreation projects, two service-oriented projects and one aviation company. Those projects, could if successful, involve the retention and or creation of up to 402 jobs in Orange County.

Dana noted that one ongoing issue continues to be aggressive marketing by the State of New Jersey. She noted that the Orange County Partnership is meeting with three manufacturing firms that are being courted by the Garden State and is working with its partners at Empire State Development and the Orange County IDA to keep those companies and jobs in Orange County.

In addition to LEGOLAND New York and Amy’s Kitchen, Orange County has seen Norwegian Airlines launch international service at Stewart International Airport (see story on page 17), Hahn Guitars has leased 5,000 square feet of space on waterfront in City of Newburgh and Crestwood Services has opened a rail-based propane depot in the Montgomery/Maybrook region.

The attraction pipeline being serviced by the Orange County Partnership totals 53 firms thus far in 2017 and once again the industry breakdown speaks of the county’s emerging diverse base. The pipeline of firms looking to house operations in Orange County include 23 manufacturing and 18 warehouse/distribution firms, five energy companies, four agribusiness and two aviation concerns. In addition, three companies are studying possible Class A office locations and one hotel developer is also considering investing in the county, adding to the growing stock of hotel properties in the county.

A deeper dive into firms that are considering Orange County indicate that the Partnership is working with multiple companies on large distribution centers, as well as with property owners/developers to bring new inventory (buildings/shovel-ready land) online. The county is also working with two firms that secured awards in the second round of licensing for medical marijuana facilities—Valley Agriceuticals in the Town of Wallkill and Citiva in the Town of Warwick. The food and beverage sector is a sector of growth for the county as the Partnership is working with a number of distillery and brewery projects that are either looking to develop or expand their existing facilities in Newburgh, Middletown, Warwick and elsewhere. The organization is also meeting with urban mixed-use (commercial and residential) developers in Harriman and Newburgh as well as technology and energy-related businesses.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth