Saratoga County

IDA aims to create new industrial parks

The county Industrial Development Agency is ready to put some money behind a desire to see new indus
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The county Industrial Development Agency is ready to put some money behind a desire to see new industrial parks developed in the county.

The agency is working on a new policy to let some of its $1.5 million fund balance be used for the initial design costs of industrial properties.

“It’s important for us to have that $1.5 million out there working for someone,” said IDA Chairman Raymond F. Callanan.

Officials at the IDA, which is charged with promoting private economic development, say there need to be incentives for more industrial parks in the county to give small businesses places to locate.

By law the fund balance, which comes from fees paid by companies that receive IDA financing, must be used for projects that promote new economic activity.

Current policy limits that assistance to paying for some of the costs of physical improvements that are sponsored by municipalities, like roads and new water and sewer lines.

The changes now under discussion would allow the agency to also help with the “soft costs” of such development, meaning the engineering and legal work needed before land can be turned into an industrial park.

“We know we’re running out of industrial space in this county,” said Larry Benton, the IDA’s executive director. “There need to be places where small businesses can locate.”

Two existing industrial parks in Halfmoon are both fully developed, Benton said. He believes not enough is being done to set aside land for future business use.

“Like everyone else, we’re coping with a growth housing market,” Benton said. “Industrial tends to get the bottom of the interest. It can be easier to subdivide land for housing, but we’re talking about the future here.”

There are, however, several industrial parks in the county with room, although targets are niche markets: The Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater, while still more concept than reality, is being geared to high-tech industries; the Moreau Industrial Park in Moreau is intended for heavy manufacturing.

The Grande Industrial Park in Saratoga Springs still has some undeveloped land, Benton said.

But a need for more industrial sites remains in the southern part of the county, he said.

Callanan said he plans to present a new policy proposal for the IDA’s consideration at its Feb. 11 meeting.

“It will probably allow for a combination of grants and loans, depending on the activity,” he said after an agency meeting Monday in Ballston Spa.

Under the current policy, the IDA has made grants or loans totaling $1.8 million from its fund balance since 1990.

“We’ve actually spent quite a bit over the years,” Benton said.

Among the larger recipients have been the Luther Forest Technology Campus, which has received three loans totaling $650,000, to be repaid once high-tech tenants start to locate there; the 1990s incarnation of the county Water Authority, which received $225,000; and the Moreau Industrial Park, which received $150,000 for installing infrastructure.

Categories: Schenectady County

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