REDC Celebrates 30th Anniversary Honors Four Firms at Annual Meeting

John Jordan | December 2017

SUFFERN—A record crowd of more than 300 business and civic leaders attended the Rockland Economic Development Corp.’s Annual Luncheon on Nov. 3rd at the Crowne Plaza Hotel here. The event, which commemorated the 30th year of operation of the county’s chief economic development agency, also honored a county-based service provider, manufacturer, entrepreneur and transformational company that helped invigorate the Rockland County economy.

The 2017 honorees were the Rockland County YMCA (Service Provider of the Year), Caribbean Food Delights (Manufacturer of the Year), Robin E. Rosenberg of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center (Entrepreneur of the Year) and fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty (Transformational Award).

Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce of Rhode Island Special Guest Speaker.

In addition to the award presentations, the event featured addresses by Rockland County Executive Ed Day, key REDC officials as well as an insightful presentation by special guest speaker Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce for Rhode Island, who drew parallels to the successes he has achieved in Rhode Island with the opportunities that now exist in his native Rockland County for future growth.

REDC President and CEO Jeremy Schulman reported that the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council had selected a record four Rockland County initiatives as priority projects in the upcoming Consolidated Funding Application process. Editor’s Note: All four priority projects were among a total of 10 specifically Rockland-based projects that were were selected to receive state funding.

“REDC has changed Rockland’s economic development landscape with a fresh perspective by going beyond real estate and relocation services and drilling down to assist industry with the resources it needs,” Schulman said. “We are doing so by utilizing a toolkit of programs, technical assistance, urban planning and social enterprise.”

Schulman also noted that REDC, which also operates the region’s only Procurement Technical Assistance Center from its Pearl River offices, worked with between 60 to 70 companies in 2017 in relocation, expansion or retention efforts in Rockland County. He added that the REDC’s work with those companies has contributed to a 3% increase in jobs from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017.

“Our shared economic development goals align in fostering an entrepreneurial culture where one can ‘Make it in Rockland’—right now—but with a 22nd Century outlook,” Schulman noted. “We liaise with town supervisors and mayors to ensure expeditious, predictable and comprehensive environmental, zoning and land use process outcomes. We hold topical roundtables and events to lay the groundwork for smart business development that can grow the local economy.”

He stressed that the REDC’s success is due in large part to its partnerships with Rockland County, the Rockland County Industrial Development Agency, the Rockland Business Association, Orange & Rockland Utilities, the Workforce Development Board, Empire State Development, the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., colleges and non-profits in the region.

Rockland County Executive Day echoed Schulman’s comments, noting that it has taken a team effort to help turn around the county’s finances and the overall economy in general.

“It is no accident that we are positioned so favorably and continue to attract and retain the type of industries that contribute to a strong and diversified tax base,” Day said. “And the more successful we are at that the less we rely on property taxes and that is greatly important in attracting businesses and people here.”

The highlight of the annual luncheon that feted REDC’s “30 Years of Making it in Rockland” was the presentations to the 2017 major award winners.

Vincent HoSang of Caribbean Food Delights accepting the award for manufacturer of the year from County Executive Ed Day.

Manufacturer of the Year—Caribbean Food Delights & Royal Caribbean Bakery—The companies began operations in 1978 in the Bronx by founders Vincent and Jeanette HoSang. The company later relocated to Mount Vernon and in 1994 moved to a 103,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Tappan. In 2007, the company expanded its operations there by 30,000 square feet and today the firm is expanding its manufacturing lines and is contemplating a further expansion of its facilities in the next few years.

The companies’ products, including its flagship product, the Jamaican patty, are widely distributed with its patties now available around the world and at major retailers such as: Walmart, Sam’s BJ’s, Costco, major supermarkets, Price Rite, HEB, Publix, Winn Dixie and Harris Tweeter and others.

The company’s corporate responsibility programs have definitely improved the quality of life here and outside the United States. The Vincent HoSang Family Foundation’s Team Jamaica Bickle Nutrition and Feeding Program has provided more than 6,000 meals to Caribbean athletes at the Annual Penn Relay Carnival for the past 22 years. The firm’s philanthropy has also extended to providing scholarships to both the Lehman College Foundation and the University of West Indies.

In Rockland County, the firm is an ardent supporter of People to People, the Jamaican Civic and Cultural Association of Rockland, Jawonio, the Rockland Community Foundation and others.

Entrepreneur of the Year—Robin E. Rosenberg, Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center—Rosenberg serves as the president and CEO of Garnerville Holding Co., the parent of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center, a former 19th Century textile mill in West Haverstraw.

Rosenberg became president of Garnerville in 1998, taking over the real estate business from company founder and grandfather Louis and her father Robert. Robin, who at the time was a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Sive, Paget & Risel, P.C., took over full-time duties at Garnerville in 2001 and began redeveloping the 335,000-square-foot complex that consists of 27 buildings on 14 acres.

The Great Recession and the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene in 2011 brought tremendous hardship to the Garnerville facility, which lost 60% of its tenant base, saw its non-profit Art Center’s gallery destroyed and risked closure. Since then, however, Robin has determinedly brought the complex back to life by preserving its historic attributes, bringing cultural events to the center and creating a mixed-use zone for the complex that has fostered the attraction of light industrial, design trades, artists, restaurants, offices and other uses.

Today, the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center houses 110 business, including the Industrial Arts Brewing Co., and the soon to be open Hudson’s Mill Restaurant and the Stack Street Café. In total, the complex employs more than 300 workers and welcomes more than 30,000 visitors per year.

Chuck Maze, Executive director, Rockland County YMCA, Service Provider of the Year.

Service Provider of the Year—Rockland YMCA—The non-profit has been serving Rockland County for more than 125 years. In 1927, the Rockland YMCA constructed a building in Nyack that included a gymnasium, swimming pool, meeting rooms and a bowling alley. In 2016, the YMCA completed a major capital project to restore its storied building and undertake needed renovations of the first floor. The historic building at 35 South Broadway remains a cornerstone in Nyack and still houses many of its programs.

The Rockland YMCA also has its North Rockland administrative offices in Stony Point, a School Age Child Care office at 37 South Broadway in Nyack, a Suffern branch at 18 Parkside Drive and a YMCA Drop in Childcare at the Courthouse at 1 South Main St. in New City.

Currently, the YMCA serves more than 6,900 members and program participants—boys, girls, men and women—at a total of 25 locations in diverse communities throughout Rockland County. The YMCA is also one of the leading childcare providers in Rockland County, serving more than 1,100 children at 23 before- and after-school programs in cooperation with five school districts—Clarkstown, North Rockland, South Orangetown and Suffern.

Augmenting its $5 million budget, a total of 1,544 youth and 918 adults of low income families received $249,005 in financial assistance and program subsidies for membership that allowed them to take part in YMCA programs in 2016.

The YMCA is continuing its program expansion in North Rockland with a Community Partnership Program in cooperation with the United Way of Rockland, the North Rockland School District and the Haverstraw Center, providing after school enrichment activities and school sports at the North Rockland High School Extension. The initiative has served more than 500 youth and adults.

At present, the YMCA employs 206 full and part-time employees and also benefits from nearly 200 volunteers.

Transformational Award—fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty—Rockland County has become a hub for data center development. In April 2015, fifteenfortyseven (1547) Critical Systems, which was formed in 2011, opened its flagship operation at 1 Ramland Road in Orangeburg.

The 232,000-square-foot, 24MW data center sits on 32 acres and provides custom built turn-key data center capacity for enterprise clients. The facility also features a 60,000-square-foot business continuity and disaster recovery center providing a reliable and secure contingency worksite to enable companies to mitigate risk.

In September 2016, the firm announced the opening of the Disaster Recovery space totaling 3,460 square feet with five dedicated offices and 2,500 square feet of open desk area.

The build-out completes Phase I of the Disaster Recovery space in Orangeburg and includes 84 office seats that can be leased in a dedicated or shared environment allowing customers a physical office, on-site, available on demand.

Today, 1547 currently is the developer and operator of custom-designed data centers totaling more than 750,000 square feet. Besides Orangeburg, the company operates data center facilities in Chicago, Cheyenne, WI, Kapolei HI.

“With our recent co-location offering announcement and the addition of Disaster Recovery space within the facility, our Orangeburg data center is continuing to make advancements needed to support our growing client base,” said John Bonczek, president of 1547 DataCenters Division. “In addition to making sure your data is secure and up and running if a disaster strikes, the Disaster Recovery space supplies your most critical asset, your employees, with the office space needed to continue working under any circumstance.”

In August of this year, CIM Group, in partnership with 1547 Critical Systems Realty, announced they had acquired 400 Paul Ave. in San Francisco. The site is fully-entitled for the development of a 187,000-square-foot data center with 24MW of power capacity. The acquisition also includes two 1930s-era buildings totaling 54,225 square feet that will be improved to serve as office and support space for data center tenants.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth