PEDC Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Year of Business Development

John Jordan | October 20, 2016

Putnam County Economic Development Corporation celebrated it's 20th Anniversary and Putnam County's Year of Business Development with an Investor Breakfast in August at the Putnam County Golf Course. From left, New York State Senator Dr. Terrance Murphy, Jill Varricchio, President Putnam County Economic Development Corporation, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Gerald J Klein, co-chairman of PCEDC Board and President of Tompkins Mahopac Bank.

CARMEL—This year has been a cause for celebration for The Putnam Economic Development Corp., which launched operations 20 years. In addition, the organization charged with business attraction and retention has launched “The Year of Business Development in Putnam County.”

DC President Jill Varricchio
PEDC President Jill Varricchio

Under the leadership of its president Jill Varricchio the PEDC has embarked on promoting the county’s existing business base, but has also launched a host of initiatives geared at fostering economic growth in Putnam County. Real Estate In-Depth recently chatted with Varricchio and PEDC chairman Joseph D. Roberto, president of PCSB, to learn more about the organization’s role in bringing new business and investment to Putnam and its strategies for the future.

“Putnam County has a lot to offer as a site for a new working environment and I think our role is to be an advocate for Putnam County and to get businesses to relocate here,” Roberto said.

He continued, “I think what we have to do and I believe we have started this process is to really market the county… and by marketing the county we are going to put ourselves on the radar for anyone looking to relocate their business.”

Varricchio, who was named president of PEDC in October 2015, has met with key municipal officials in Putnam County to ascertain their wants and needs.

“We called that the ‘Listening Tour.’ What we have done is we established some basic questions—needs, wants and hopes,” Varricchio said. She added that the first tour was undertaken in the first quarter of this year. The PEDC plans to undertake a second “tour” this fall to gather the latest information on their projects and to formulate strategies for the county to pursue to “support their vision for growing their communities,” Varricchio noted.

In August, the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation hosted an investor breakfast to celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac. At the event, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell outlined major infrastructure projects the county, PEDC and municipal governments are pursuing that she described as “game changers”

“This is the Year of Business Development in Putnam County,” said Odell, “In order to grow our economic base and create a sustainable business environment in our county, we must put the right infrastructure in place and that starts with municipal water and sewage.”

She related that Putnam submitted five Consolidated Funding Application grant requests—four of which would help fund water or sewage improvements in the Towns of Southeast, Putnam Valley, Kent and Carmel.

Among the CFA grant applications that seek state funding through the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council is a sewer and water line extension project from Danbury, CT to the US Route 6 corridor (western boundary of Brewster through the Town of Southeast westward). Other applications include a proposed centralized public sewer service to US Route 6, Mahopac area that would extend from the Villa Barone Hilltop Manor catering hall south to the Town/County line (Putnam/Westchester); a public water extension from the Town of Cortlandt in Westchester County to the hamlet of Oregon Corners in the Town of Putnam Valley: and a wastewater treatment plant to be built on Route 311, Town of Kent that will collect sewage waste from the Lake Carmel residential area, as well as the under-developed commercial corridors of Route 311 and Route 52 in Kent and Patterson. The county states that the treatment plant would allow for business expansion, job creation from construction and new businesses that would be established from the new public sewer system.

The county reported that it is also seeing funding for phase one of Brewster’s revitalization plan that involves a transit-oriented development proposal to replace the existing buildings between Main Street, Railroad Avenue and Marvin Avenue, and the Southeast Museum to the east. The development would feature a shared below grade parking structure for 540 cars, with two mixed-use buildings around a central open space plaza. The buildings will include 290 apartments and 32,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

PEDC Chairman Joseph Roberto
PEDC Chairman Joseph Roberto

Roberto said the Route 6 sewer and water line extension project with the City of Danbury, CT is very exciting because it would create new business opportunities that currently do not exist in that area. “If this project comes to fruition and I know they are working very hard on it, it would be a great opportunity for certain corridors in the county,” he said.

While businesses have been frustrated in the past over some stalled projects or initiatives that have failed to take flight in Putnam, Varricchio and Roberto said that the recent successes such as: the redevelopment of Tilly Foster Farm, the development at the former Butterfield Hospital, the redevelopment of the Putnam County Golf Course, and the ambitious Envision Brewster program are helping create a new business environment for the county.

“Once you get a few projects done, word will go out that things are getting done in Putnam County,” Roberto said.

Varricchio added that while some high-profile projects may have encountered some delay, there are a host of projects being put forward by real estate brokers and investors that are progressing.

She pointed to the Envision Brewster TOD initiative, noting that, “Envision Brewster is really taking everybody by storm. Everybody I talk to believes it is something that is needed, overdue and they are excited about it. There are opportunities at all levels.”

The project has fueled interest from technology-oriented companies and even from a higher educational institution that might want to have a presence in a re-imagined Brewster that attracts the highly-sought after Millennial demographic.

Varricchio said that moving forward while the PEDC is seeking to help foster new development and investment opportunities in Putnam, it must also protect what makes Putnam unique and therefore embark on a smart, balanced growth approach to economic development.

She said that the county must continue to harness the opportunities it has as a tourist destination and pursue development opportunities near mass transit. The PEDC has formed an Alliance for Balanced Growth Committee that is attempting to be pro-active in identifying possible development sites that are near shovel-ready status.

To close out its major events in 2016, the PEDC will hold a “Moving Forward Together” recognition dinner on Nov. 22 at the Garrison Inn. The program, which will continue to recognize PEDC’s 20th Anniversary and the Year of Business Development, will also recognize Putnam County’s municipal officials. The program, which begins at 6 p.m., will also feature guest speaker Jason Bram, research officer, regional analysis function for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth