Orange County Partnership - News

Developers Lining Up to Invest in Orange County

By Maureen Halahan

As I speak with my colleagues and friends who are ramping up to full operation inside the workplace, I often ask the question: What good has come out of this economic downturn in your respective industry? I have heard time and again that many employees have become more creative, adjusted to immediate change and are often more efficient. Such is the case at the Orange County Partnership. We are laser-focused on our mission that has kept the county thriving for decades. Economic development is the heart of the economy. One may think that the definition of economic development equates specifically to landing a project, but it takes years of preparation to make projects such as Amazon, Medline, Amy’s Kitchen, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson and countless others become a reality.


However, it doesn’t have to take years to land a project if the sites in our portfolio are shovel-ready. And that’s where the investment of major developers often separates us from our competition.


When developers make the decision to enter into our market, invest in sites and embark on the generic approval process, we all benefit from their investment. Prepared sites are the most desirable and are purchased first. The following developers are spending their time and treasure to prepare for a future end-user. These examples of monumental investment will result in outcomes that will balance our economy moving forward:


One of the most ambitious projects in the pipeline in Orange County is a speculative project now under consideration by the Town of Wallkill. New Jersey-based firm Vision Real Estate Partners has begun the SEQRA process with the town’s Planning Board to develop a five-building speculative commercial project that could total more than 1 million square feet. The five proposed buildings to be developed at the Golden Triangle site adjacent to Silverlake Scotchtown Road and Route 17 and would range in size from approximately 170,000 square feet to 230,000 square feet.


National Realty and Development Corporation invested in a site in the Town of Montgomery that will accommodate 312,500 square feet of industrial space. This site is located in the heart of Orange County’s most active distribution corridor, which includes such notables as Fed/Ex, Home Depot, Staples, Do It Best, Cardinal Health, C&S Wholesale Grocers and UNFI to name a few.


A national developer is currently working with NAI Platform on several sites in Orange County. The Goshen Commerce Center, located in the Village of Goshen, is their first priority and the firm is seeking approvals to build 157,000 square feet for an industrial end-user.


In nearby Town of Wawayanda, veteran developer Matrix Development Group has begun site work on a 242,000-square-foot state-of-the-art warehouse building on a site adjacent to the 500,000-square-foot Medline building owned by Morgan Stanley. The site is fully approved and permitted and construction has begun. The facility is slated to be completed by the end of this year. This highly desirable site has gotten the attention of many end-users and it is likely the site will be fully-leased prior to completion. 


A major New Jersey-based development firm RDM Group is in contract on multiple sites throughout the county. They are working with the towns of Goshen, Wallkill, Middletown, Wawayanda and Hamptonburgh to prepare properties for speculative industrial end-users.


City View Commercial, based in New York City, is in contract on a 127-acre site in the Town of Montgomery. The firm is interested in constructing a 1.2-million-square-foot distribution facility on SPEC when the approvals are obtained.  


GFI Partners, based in Boston, MA, boasts a portfolio of nearly 7 million square feet. The real estate investment firm is focused primarily in Class B or C industrial properties and redevelop them as Class A worthy buildings. Currently, they are under contract on the 84-acre “Kikkerfrosch” site located in the Village of Goshen. GFI will be constructing a 500,000-square-foot industrial facility and is slated to close this quarter.


National developers, Bluewater Property Group- is currently constructing a 1,010,800-square-foot distribution e-commerce facility on a fully approved 184-acre site in the Town of Montgomery for Amazon. The capital investment will exceed $75 million and will employ 800 when fully operational in 2021.


A new SPEC warehouse is proposed in the Town of Wallkill by Weiss Realty. The site is located at the corner of Goshen Turnpike and Crystal Run Road. The proposed building will be 114,000 square feet when completed. The firm is also before the Town of Wallkill Planning Board for a major site assemblage along Crystal Run Road. When completed, the assemblage will accommodate more than 1 million square feet of pre-approved industrial space.


Aden Slate Hill, LLC is in discussions with local developers on a potential 1 million-square-foot facility at the old Shapiro Farm on Route 6 in the Town of Wawayanda. The property is zoned commercial with access to the Middletown and New Jersey Railroad (M&NJ) short line. The property is currently being used for agriculture with a mining permit.


Finally, in what could be a major boon for the region, Orange County issued in late June separate Request for Proposals (RFP) to developers and investors for the purchase of the massive Camp LaGuardia property in Chester and Blooming Grove and three iconic properties on Grand Street in Downtown Newburgh.


Both the Camp LaGuardia and Grand Street properties in Newburgh are county-owned. The Camp LaGuardia property, a former New York City men’s homeless shelter, was acquired by the county in 2007 and features four parcels totaling 258.3 acres including a 153.5-acre parcel in the Town of Chester; a 40.8-acre parcel in the Town of Chester; a 59.6-acre parcel in the Town of Blooming Grove and a 4.4-acre parcel in the Village of Chester.


The county acquired the Grand Street Properties in December 2013. The properties include a former YMCA, Masonic Temple and American Legion buildings.


The deadline for the submittal of proposals to acquire Camp LaGuardia is Thursday, Aug. 7. The deadline for submittal of proposals for one, two or three of the county-owned buildings at 48, 54 and 62 Grand St. in Newburgh is Thursday, July 30.


As you can see by our plentiful pipeline and the impressive roster of national, regional and local developers seeking to invest here, Orange County is positioned well for an economic recovery and boasts more projects in the pipeline than any other county in the Hudson Valley.


Maureen Halahan is the president and chief executive officer of the Orange County Partnership based in Goshen, NY.