The Mohawk Valley Regional Council, which was commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to spur economic development throughout the state, recently submitted its report, listing several priority projects that it hopes can spur economic development in the area.
Four projects were listed as either priority projects or significant to the region in Fulton and Montgomery counties. However, while officials say the projects named in the report are real, false names are used to protect the companies interested in coming to the area.
Fage USA at the Johnstown Industrial Park is pictured Nov. 8. Fage’s planned expansion is listed as a “priority projectf” for Fulton County in the strategic plan developed by the Mohawk Valley Regional Council.
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
"There are projects that the company owners aren't prepared to go public yet," said Michael Reese, president of the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and a member of the Mohawk Valley Regional Council. "So, while we wanted to include them in our strategy, we didn't want to compromise the companies."
One project that has its full name listed accurately refers to a planned expansion at Fage USA Dairy Industry in the Johnstown Industrial Park. According to the report, Fage, which produces Greek yogurt products, has increased production to 52,000 tons of yogurt in 2011, up from 12,000 tons in 2008.
The council lists "Strategy 1" as leveraging business and industry to employers with high job-growth potential.
Fage's proposed expansion would increase the plant by 60 percent and could add 160 new jobs to the 150 positions already at the plant. The report says the project would add $7 million to the company's current $10 million payroll.
"I think it's important not only to Fulton County, but to the region," Reese said. "It will help the company retain 160 and create 150 jobs. Plus, as a secondary impact, they will purchase milk locally and support the area's dairy industry."
Another priority project is code-named Project Made-in-the-USA. It's a footwear manufacturer interested in purchasing an unnamed vacant plant in the town of Amsterdam. The company would begin operations with "plans to build new in the next several years" as demand grows.
This project is scheduled to be developed in two phases; the first would be the investment of $2.7 million to purchase, renovate and equip the building. The second phase would involved construction of a new facility in the Florida Business Park.
The first phase is slated to create 50 jobs with average wages of $14 per hour, while the second phase would likely increase employment to 500 by the end of the third year.
The report also calls for the creation and expansion of business parks in Fulton and Montgomery counties.
The Florida Business Park is located off Route 5S in the town of Florida, not far from Thruway Exit 27. It is currently home to the new Hero Beech-Nut plant and the Target Distribution Center.
Expansion also is called for at the Glen Canal View Business Park in Glen. According to the report, 84 acres are developed, and the plan calls for a 220-acre expansion, which would require road construction, and water/sewer extensions so shovel-ready sites would be available. The plan suggests Glen Canal can be an attractive site for the distribution industry with its proximity to the Thruway.
Another regionally significant project calls for improvements to Route 5S and Project Snax in the town of Florida. Project Snax would call for an $18 million investment and the retention of 125 existing jobs and the creation of 25 new ones on a 30-acre site across from the Florida business park.
The regional council's report also includes the development of one or two new industrial parks. One is a shared park between Fulton and Montgomery counties, south of the existing Johnstown industrial and business parks. However, movement on a new industrial park has been halted since talks broke down between Mohawk and the city of Johnstown on a revenue-sharing deal.
Another possible development plan calls for development of the former Tryon campus, after the state closed the juvenile detention facility Aug. 31. According to the report, the project would cost $4 million and would position "Fulton County for new development opportunities."
"I think it's important that we develop both sites," Reese said. "We don't have a large availability of large industrial sites because we filled most of our industrial park space. In order to market the county to new employers, we need new shovel-ready sites that we can market."
Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.