Fulton County

Fulton County launches commercial development push

Marketing strategy was years in the making
Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz.
Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz.

Officials in Fulton County hosted an Albany-based commercial real estate group recently to showcase the investment opportunities that exist at the Tryon Tech Park, a recently completed 200-acre business park that the county is hoping to fill with commercial tenants.

“Being a little outside of the Capital Region, people sometimes forget about us,” said Ron Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

RELATED: Vireo Health sees looming competition as problem

To counter that geographic reality, Peters and other officials brought to the tech park over two-dozen brokers from Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Brokers, a trade group that specializes in selling, leasing and/or exchanging commercial properties in upstate New York.

The event was also a chance for the county to roll out their years-in-the-making marketing strategy called “Fulton County Positive,” which seeks to sell the county’s hundreds of acres of shovel-ready and developable land via glossy brochures and state and local incentives.

The strategy, in broad strokes, simply involves getting prospective corporate tenants out to view the property on County Road 107 in Johnstown.

In the Tryon Tech Park, Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz said there are 10 plots available of various size that are ready for site plans and, pending environmental approval, for shovels to hit dirt. The county will even demolish any building – save two – that remains on the site from its former life as a youth detention facility.

One of the main selling points of the business park, according to Mraz and other officials, is the quiet and pristine landscape that is within the park and around it. There’s also pre-existing water and sewer service hookups, and any plot on the site can be reconfigured to suit a particular business’ needs.

Two buildings will remain standing on the site, comprising 75,000 square feet of available space.

The larger of the two buildings, at 60,000 square feet, contains classrooms, offices and meeting rooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, gym and 250-seat auditorium. County officials are looking to use the other 15,000 square foot building as an incubator for small businesses.

To further sweeten the spot, county officials said prospective tenants will benefit from an expedited 30-60 day environmental review process at no additional cost. The perk is made possible due to Tryon’s location in a technology and business zone in the Town of Perth, which allows for many mixed use projects from tech and manufacturing to retail and residential undertakings.

Another plank in the push for economic revival in Fulton County is the revitalization of the downtown neighborhoods in Gloversville and Johnstown.

“The cities of Johnstown and Gloversville both are in the process of putting together downtown development strategies,” said Mraz, who noted that Glove City recently hired a downtown development specialist, Jennifer Jennings, who is going to be focusing on pursuing development initiatives.

“This county right now is a very pro-development county, we’re trying to encourage builders and developers to come and invest into this county,” said Mraz. “We have a vision and we have a strategy for how to achieve it.”

Mraz urged the CIREB members to mention Tryon and other development opportunities in Fulton County to their clients for possible consideration.

Bruce Hoch, managing director of DCG Corplan Consulting, LLC, a firm brought on to conduct targeted industry analysis for the tech park, underscored Mraz’s request to the realtors.

“I think we’re here for the long haul to try to make Tryon a success, and I encourage your group particularly to bring your clients and take a look at this property,” said Hoch.

Hoch and his firm were hired two years ago, and he said that his company’s research shows the tech park lends itself well to seven main industry segments: biomedical research and development, healthcare products and services, food and beverage manufacturing, headquarters and business services, software and media, electronics and renewable energy.

The county has other developable land it’s looking to fill with corporate tenants. Surrounding the 200-plus shovel-ready acres at Tryon is nearly 200 additional acres that can be developed in the future. Included in this zone is a 300,000 gallon elevated water tank that can be called into use when needed.

There is additional acreage at two other development areas the county has dubbed Hales Mills, in Johnstown, and Vail Mills, in Mayfield. The county said both the sites are ideal for residential development.

The latter site sits at the intersection of Routes 29 and 30 in Mayfield, and studies show it is the most trafficked crossing in the county.

The drawback to both these sites is a lack of water and sewer service, which the county is looking to remedy with their SMART Waters initiative, which is an agreement between the county and Gloversville that enables the city to sell the county up to 2 million gallons of water a day.

Gloversville draws on reservoirs that have a capacity for 8 million gallons of water per day, and the city is currently billing for less than 2 million of those gallons.

Bringing water and sewer service to the Hales Mills site will cost the county around $2 million. Bringing that infrastructure to Vails Mills will cost more, county officials said previously.

Officials previously said bringing the infrastructure to Hales Mills is the priority. 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply