04-11-09 - Driving by the county’s Gerald R. Simons Commerce Park, one might not think the country was in the throes of a recession.
A large two-story building is under construction along the Route 66 corridor of the park, as is a smaller single-story building. And nestled within the business development site a single-story, 10,000-square-foot building is being constructed.
“We have a lot going on over there,” said Columbia County Commissioner of Planning & Economic Development Kenneth Flood.
Indeed, while businesses are shuttering across the country and within Columbia County—Kaz, LB Industries, and Chatco, to name a few—the 250-acre business development zone which straddles the towns of Claverack and Ghent is growing by leaps and bounds.
“We’ve got three buildings under construction right now. I defy you to show me any other place in the Northeast where that is taking place,” said Ed Stiffler, economic developer for the Columbia Hudson Partnership.
The buildings under construction will house a wide range of businesses. The two-story building next to the Columbia County Soil & Water Conservation District offices on Route 66 will house a dialysis center and medical offices, officials said—the dialysis center on the first floor, medical offices on the second. The building is being constructed for Dr. Vinod Anand, and it is expected that at least two dozen people will be employed there.
Inside the park, on County Route 20, McCagg Excavating (no relation to the writer) is constructing a 10,000-square-foot single-story building as the headquarters of its operation. The business is currently located on a back road in Stockport, and, according to Stiffler, the new facility will allow for a greater presence in the community and provide the potential for future expansion.
Also relocating to Commerce Park is Seal-Rite Roofing, currently located on lower Union Street in Hudson. A 1,200-square-foot building is being built across Route 66 from Whittier Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center to as the base of operations for the 40-year-old business.
County officials said the park is largely filled, with only about half dozen building lots still vacant in the main section of the development. More lots, said Stiffler, are available in a 33-acre section of the park owned by the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), but this land does not yet have infrastructure—water, sewer, and utilities.
Since it was created from former farmland in the 1990s, the commerce park was attracted more than twenty businesses, including Whittier, Bioforce USA, Fairfield County Recycling, Nielsen Concrete Foundations, and S & S Steel Fabrication.
While some of those businesses have simply relocated to the Commerce Park from other places in Columbia County, Stiffler said others have moved to the county from areas as far away as Orange County.
The park offers a full infrastructure and, in some cases, tax incentives and other benefits through the Columbia Hudson Partnership and the Empire Zone designation.