By James Walsh
TOWN OF WALLKILL — A commercial building resurgence has arrived in Orange County after several quiet years, and more potential construction looms on the horizon, according to speakers at the Orange County Chamber of Commerce's monthly breakfast Thursday.
The event at West Hills Country Club drew about 100 people to hear Maureen Halahan, president of the Orange County Partnership, and Laurence Gottlieb, president of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., discuss the art of attracting businesses and retaining those that are already here.
Halahan spoke of projects already underway in places including Harriman and Blooming Grove, as well as the potential for future projects to create thousands of jobs and attract corporate investments in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
"We're having a banner year; we're busier than ever before," said Halahan, whose office markets Orange County and works to match companies with potential sites.
$59 million plan
Halahan touted United Natural Foods Inc.'s $59 million plan for a distribution center in Montgomery. The town Planning Board may rule on the company's application at its Tuesday night meeting.
Another company, Takasago International Corp., a maker of flavors and fragrances, will bring as many as 100 jobs to a plant it's building in Harriman, Halahan said.
On the retention side, she spoke of Crystal Run Healthcare's adding another building in the Town of Wallkill and Mediacom's new headquarters in Blooming Grove.
"They could have located their headquarters anywhere, but here they are in Orange County," Halahan said of Mediacom, a national cable television provider that had been based in the Town of Wallkill.
She said the Partnership would continue marketing campaigns to promote the county to potential employers, including the film industry, food and beverage makers and health care companies.
That marketing, as well as maintaining a social media presence, were key for the region's development as well as for the health of individual companies, Gottlieb told the audience.
Gottlieb advocates cluster marketing for companies engaged in similar endeavors, such as HVEDC's NY BioHud Valley and the Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Alliance.
Three-dimensional printing will emerge as a key industry for the region, Gottlieb predicted. A program preparing students for careers in 3D printing was launched in May at SUNY New Paltz, with grants from Hudson River Ventures and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
"We see SUNY New Paltz as the hub of 3D printing in the state," Gottlieb said.