PUTNAM POSTING: Accelerator Would be ‘Catalyst for Thoughtful Economic Development’

Jennifer Maher | November 2018

Putnam County Economic Development President Jill Varricchio has been talking up a “Business Accelerator” program for Putnam County. She says “as a catalyst for thoughtful economic development and being familiar with the evolution of the Orange County Accelerator, I found an entry point to bring to Putnam County a similar model. I brought the idea to my board.”

According to Varricchio, a decision was reached after the PCEDC 2016 stakeholders ‘retreat’ to explore the idea. The idea was presented to Putnam County representatives from the planning department, the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency, as well as their directors who all confirmed the concept had merit. The “International” theme was then identified.

Timing would have it that Juan Carlos Salcedo, an international consultant with 30 years working globally, was transitioning his business and offered his site in Philipstown for the 10,000 square feet needed for the eight “Pods” or work spaces. The eight Pods would be incubating successful startup businesses with tools and resources from different industries to “accelerate” their start up business. If we follow in Orange County’s footsteps, such industries as artisan food manufacturing, fashion design, medical devices and software development etc. could house their fledgling operations there.

Along with the Putnam County team, the PCEDC has been working with Vinnie Cozzolino of The Orange Accelerator, Galileo Technology, along with Juan Carlos Salcedo to coordinate the start-up, outline specific details of the program and its marketing plan and revenue goal. The idea is to identify and qualify the overseas businesses with a track record of success with a current business plan that reflects their aim to bring their goods and services into this country.

The Accelerator will nurture their growth through an array of services, assist with their expansion and then escort them through to the natural next step, i.e. match them to Putnam County assets—be it leasing, buying, or building as well as collaborating to locate the very best talent for their business.

PC IDA President Bill Nulk said, “The proposed Economic Development Accelerator in Philipstown is an enhancement of the ‘incubator’ projects popular is many areas. The big difference is that it works with companies that have successfully gone through the startup phase and are ready to expand into new markets and greater production. The building on Route 9 in Philipstown is well suited for the layout design of the facility and the proposed management of the operation has a good track record with similar projects. The proximity and access to Stewart Airport, interstates 84, 87, 80 and 95 is an obvious distribution asset and the convenience to the many attractions of the New York Metropolitan Area make Route 9 in Philipstown an inviting location.”

While we would do well enticing promising businesses to develop and then stay in our county, we must also work at all levels of government to provide the infrastructure they, and all of us, need for our future—waste and water systems, modern Internet and telecommunication access. Without that, we will be incubating businesses to move elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: PEDC President Jill Varricchio provided Real Estate In-Depth with an update on the Accelerator initiative and a response to Jennifer Maher’s thoughts on the project and the need for infrastructure investment in Putnam County.

“I think we can all agree it is self-evident that thoughtful economic development requires infrastructure, collaboration and funding. In the past six months, under NYS mandate and an October deadline by the governors’ office; Putnam County leadership accomplished a workable “Shared Services” plan that was a result of much local municipal –government –county collaboration,” Varricchio stated. “In addition to the critical thinking required for the finalized shared services’ plan, simultaneously, the 260-page ‘Putnam County Commercial Corridor Analysis and Feasibility Study’ was released http://www.putnamcountyny.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Putnam-County-Commercial-Corridors-Planning-and-Feasibility-Study-6-29-18.pdf.

She continued, “This much anticipated study distributed by Putnam Planning Department, assesses and delineates results along 10 commercial corridors with an eye on the transportation infrastructure, traffic patterns, local regulations, consumer demographics and spending behaviors. This road map also details resources; each municipality and the county also have the incentives and funding sources that will allow businesses to benefit, incubate and stay in Putnam County. With these tools and relationships, mapping Putnam County’s future looks bright!”

Varricchio told Real Estate In-Depth that currently, the the interior redesign has been completed on the 3691 Rte. 9 Cold Spring building and noted that half or 5,000 square feet will be reconfigured. Marketing for those proven international businesses has already begun with the criteria and details on prospects qualifications to be ironed out by the end of this year. She anticipates final funding to be released by January 2019 and the first “tenants” to take occupancy by March 2019.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the president of the Putnam/Westchester Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.