In Search of Rateables

Council of Industry touts region’s commercial curb appeal

BY KATHY KAHN
Special to the Rockland Times

RT-Harold King-Council of IndustryThe sluggish economy may get a healthy boost form Council of Industry, which has nearly 200 manufacturing members in the seven-county mid-Hudson region.

Rather than publish its yearly directory of participating businesses, president/CEO Harold King has kicked it up a notch with a new bi-annual glossy, HV Mfg. It won’t be found on newsstands. King says it will be a valuable tool for economic development corporations in the region, as well as Empire State Development.

Currently, interest in Rockland’s industrial and manufacturing space has been strong, according to Michael DiTullo, president/CEO of Rockland Economic Development Corp. “Seven percent of our county’s workforce is in manufacturing– NicePak, Novartis, Aptar, just to name a few. When you compare that to an average of three percent per county across the U.S., I’d say we are in a very favorable position.”

DiTullo said Rockland’s strong base of home-grown firms that have grown and now employ between 50-100 people has also helped Rockland’s curb appeal to those tax rateables looking to relocate.

“Advanced manufacturing, biotech and pharmaceutical industries like Rockland and are here for strategic reasons,” continued DiTullo. “Nearly 40 percent of our workforce have advanced degrees, second in the state after Westchester and are 20 minutes from the George Washington Bridge. That makes this county extremely attractive to business.”

With approximately 15 million square feet of manufacturing/industrial/commercial space available, seven percent is on the market, with design/build-to-suit a priority to attract new business, added DiTullo.

The Council of Industry’s new print initiative is going to be a great sales tool for attracting business to the region,” said Brian Gates, vice president of development for the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation.

Paul Adler, senior vice president of Rand Commercial Services, “There certainly is an uptick in interest, not as robust as the residential market, but many are looking to emerge out of the Recession. Whether it is in manufacturing, retail or other commercial space, we are seeing more companies seriously looking at properties. More are looking for ‘clean’ space; just as an example, 3-D printing is the next generation of technology getting ready to take off in the market. Some existing commercial space will need to be re-purposed to meet the demand of the future.”