Orange County IDA Chairman Robert T. Armistead to Retire

Real Estate In-Depth | October 17, 2018

Robert T. Armistead, Chairman, Orange County IDA.

NEW WINDSOR—The Orange County Industrial Development Agency had two major announcements at its Oct. 11th board meeting: Robert T. Armistead will retire as chairman on Nov. 1, and The Accelerator, a certified New York State incubator focused on bringing manufacturing back to the mid-Hudson Valley, is projected to create more than 100 jobs by the end of 2018.

Vice Chairman Mary Ellen Rogulski will replace Armistead as of Nov. 1, the IDA reported.

Powered by the Orange County IDA, The Accelerator has campuses in New Windsor, Middletown and, most recently, Newburgh. Managing Director Vincent Cozzolino announced at the IDA session that renovations to the program’s third and newest location in the City of Newburgh are complete and five new employees were scheduled to join Ziel, an on-demand, high tech apparel and design company on Oct. 15.

Another sewing class will begin to train an additional 10 people with the goal to hire all participants upon completion of the course.

“We have found our niche in the fashion manufacturing cluster which is on-demand fashion manufacturing,” said Cozzolino. “We’re ahead of the wave here and it continues to grow. Our pods have grown into ‘micro factories.’ Factories today don’t carry inventory, they need a lot less space, a lot more automation: micro factories. Ziel is one of those for us. Every space we have is taken there, and there are 30 employees right now. By the end of the year, we expect to have 71 employees just in the fashion manufacturing cluster.”

Recently, the IDA secured a grant from the Workforce Development Agency to cover the cost of a laser cutter for the fashion manufacturing cluster. The machine, valued at $175,000, will be housed at The Accelerator’s New Windsor campus.

“It’s exciting because for every one of our businesses, it makes them more profitable,” said IDA Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Laurie Villasuso. “It eliminates waste, both in regards to employees’ time as well as the actual material.”

The program’s Middletown facilities are focused on medical devices, software and personal products. Three new companies were scheduled to move into the Middletown location this month, employing 22 people. An additional 17 jobs are expected to be created and filled by the end of 2018. Together with the estimated 71 jobs at the Newburgh Area Accelerator businesses, more than 100 new jobs will have been created through the program.

“If you look at the investment in The Accelerator per job, it’s around the $5,000 range,” added Cozzolino. “Compared to our bigger projects, where it’s about $40,000 per job, our investment is yielding at a much more efficient rate. It’s amazing.”

The IDA is conducting SWOT analyses in additional locations, including Port Jervis, Highland Mills and Warwick. Additionally, the board is evaluating opportunities for state and federal funding to support The Accelerator businesses.

In other business, the board announced Kraftify, which operates as Pine Island Brewing, accepted the IDA’s modified PILOT to support the company’s the $2.7-million project, which includes the purchase of 1.3 acres of land and the construction of a 15,000-square-foot production facility, as well as a canning line and a tasting room. Kraftify will receive a 485-b, which grants partial exemption for town and school taxes, as well as a sales tax exemption of up to $110,000 and a mortgage recording tax exemption of $18,000.

The IDA also adopted an initial resolution by BDL, LLC, formerly USAI. In 2015, the company applied for a sales tax exemption, which was approved in 2017. Due to a pause in construction at the River Road, New Windsor site, the exemption approval lapsed and has since expired. The IDA required BDL, LLC to submit a new initial resolution, indicative of the new budget and scope of the project, which has increased from $6.5 million to $14.5 million. The board adopted the company’s new initial resolution, which will allow the IDA to move BDL, LLC through the remainder of the approval process.