Regional Development

PPR Dev Corp 0805
An aerial view of a portion of the Air Industrial Park, located along Route 3 and Military Turnpike in the Town of Plattsburgh. The Development Corp. has broken ground on the last remaining parcel in the park. Plans call for a 20,351-square-foot building that will stand next to V. Fraas on Gus Lapham Drive. (Photo Provided)

Air Industrial Park breaks final ground

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — The Development Corp. has broken ground on the sole remaining parcel at Air Industrial Park in the Town of Plattsburgh.

Work started this week on site preparation for a 20,351-square-foot building just west of V. Fraas on Gus Lapham Drive, with completion expected sometime in December.

Development Corp. President and CEO Paul Grasso Jr. said space between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet seems to be the most popular at this time as companies try to reduce inventory and rely on just-in-time logistics. 

The corporation’s future success, he said, will be based on not just occupancy rates but also the need to have space available for companies to locate or expand. 

“We need to have some inventory (of available space), but the right inventory,” Grasso said.

The final facility is being built on speculation, as were several others in the park.

‘THE RIGHT MIX’

Joanne Knowlton, director of marketing, said some might not realize how many companies are located in the park, which sits on 26 acres along Route 3 and Military Turnpike in the Town of Plattsburgh. 

Presently, 18 industrial buildings — a dozen of them owned by The Development Corp. — are home to 22 companies.

The Development Corp. Economic Developer Erin Hynes said they have been successful in attracting the right mix of businesses and understanding their supply chain needs. 

They have also helped a number of businesses with equipment acquisitions and development of new contracts. The aim is to serve as a one-stop shop for businesses in the park, she said, from start-up or relocation there.

“We’ve created a business community within an industrial park,” Hynes said.

The firms within The Development Corp. family have the ability to connect with each other.

“You’re not on your own when you’re here,” Grasso said.

SUCCESS STORIES

The first building at Air Industrial Park was built in 1973. The current tenant with the longest presence there is North American Door Corp., which has been there for 18 years.

The company has expanded twice during that time, from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet, and, in 2010, to 36,000 square feet.

The mix includes some local success stories, such as Global Sugar Art, owned by Champlain native Alan Tetreault. The company carries more than 10,000 cake and confectionery products.

Founded in 2002, it has expanded several times, most recently to 20,000 square feet in the park.

“I think the real story is that most of the recent growth in Air Industrial Park has come from existing tenants expanding within the park, and while this type of business development activity is not typically considered breaking news by the media, it is, in fact, essential to the economic prosperity of our region,” Hynes said in a press release.

She cited a International Economic Development Council statistic that, on average, about 80 percent of job creation in any given region will come from existing companies.

INTERNATIONAL 

Several of the firms have a strong international presence, such as Swarovski. That provides an opportunity for a worker who starts in Plattsburgh to advance to positions with the companies all around the globe.

Another one with an international presence is Fujitsu Frontech, part of the Fujitsu Group. It has about 170,000 employees in more than 100 countries world-wide.

Fujitsu Frontech expanded its Plattsburgh location and moved all of its point-of-sale equipment manufacturing there in 2011.

It is always surprising to hear students talk about the lack of opportunities locally, Grasso said. They obviously don’t realize how many companies are here, he said. 

MILESTONE

The Development Corporation also owns the Banker Road Industrial Park in the Town of Plattsburgh and Champlain Industrial Park in the Village of Champlain.

Grasso said the buildings in the parks are well built and well maintained. Keith Matott, facilities and project manager, said Air Industrial Park has Town of Plattsburgh water and sewer service, available natural gas and electric service from NYSEG and data infrastructure. 

“All of our industrial parks are fully infrastructured,” he said.

Grasso said that The Development Corp. continues to look at other opportunities for growth, both within its industrial parks and beyond.

“Site selectors search for properties all around the world, 24/7, via the Internet,” he said. “If space is not available here, they will simply find another area with similar attributes that can accommodate their facility needs.”

Knowlton said the completion of its first industrial park is a tremendous milestone for The Development Corp.

“It is only fitting that the last building in Air Industrial Park would be constructed on Gus Lapham Drive, named in honor of the founder of The Development Corporation.”

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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