Orange County Partnership - News

Momentum Increases for Expanded Route 17 As Investors Flock to Area with New Projects

As the Biden administration advances its $1.9-trillion COVID relief package, which includes another $20 billion in further transit relief, the next priority to be debated will be a long-delayed multi-year infrastructure plan.


In his 2020 campaign, President Biden proposed a $2-trillion accelerated infrastructure plan that would include robust investment geared at creating “millions of good, union jobs rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure – from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband—to lay a new foundation for sustainable growth, compete in the global economy, withstand the impacts of climate change, and improve public health, including access to clean air and clean water.”


The plan is critical in the President’s efforts to rebuild the U.S. economy and create new good paying jobs in response to the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  Last month, President Biden stressed the need for infrastructure investment, saying, “It’s time to stop talking about infrastructure and finally start building it. Millions of good-paying jobs that put Americans to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and ports to make them more climate resilient, to make it faster, cheaper and cleaner to transport American-made goods across our country and around the world.”


Combine the President’s infrastructure commitment with the strong support by newly installed U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s for an expanded Route 17 (Future I-86) it is clear that the momentum for the estimated $500-million project to add a third lane from Harriman to Monticello is definitely building.


Last month, New York’s senior Senator met with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and urged him to prioritize federal infrastructure funding towards construction projects, including the expansion of Route 17 from Orange County to Sullivan County.


Sen. Schumer explained that not only would an infusion of funding help jumpstart economic revitalization in the Hudson Valley by creating good-paying jobs, it would also help improve roadway safety and alleviate roadway congestion, especially with the pending completion and opening of the LEGOLAND New York resort as well as Amy’s Kitchen, both located in Goshen.


Representatives of the advocacy group for an expanded Route 17— 17FORWARD86 —were emboldened by the news that Sen. Schumer pushed for the much-needed project with USDOT Secretary Buttigieg


“We thank Senator Schumer for pushing the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary nominee, Pete Buttigieg, to prioritize federal infrastructure funding for the construction of a third lane on Route 17. As the hundreds of local business and community organizations that make up our coalition look towards the Hudson Valley’s economic comeback, this project is a critical lynchpin to stabilize the economy, bring commerce in, and alleviate the decades long headaches that come with congestion along the Route 17 corridor,” stated Maureen Halahan and Marc Baez 17FORWARD86 Co-Chairs.


Halahan, president and chief executive officer of the Orange County Partnership, said that there is a significant amount of investment projects underway or planned in communities up and down Route 17 in the county.


In addition to the LEGOLAND New York project, which is slated to open this summer, and the nearly $100-million Amy’s Kitchen development in Goshen that is scheduled to begin construction this year, some of the numerous projects in the pipeline highlighted by the partnership in the Route 17 corridor include:


  • Woodbury Common is working on a significant expansion project that will involve approximately 165,000 square feet of additional retail space; the addition of a five-level parking garage and expansion of the existing four-level parking garage that will add in total more than 2,140 new parking spaces; pads for two new 120-room hotels, a spa facility to serve patrons of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets; 37,000 square feet of restaurant space and upgraded customer amenities and sustainability initiatives. The overall project will create 998 additional jobs at the center as well as approximately 400 indirect and induced jobs and more than 1,600 construction jobs over the two-year project.


  • has leased space in a 242,000-square-foot building in Wawayanda owned by Matrix Development Group. Matrix was building the project on spec and is now in the process of doing tenant improvements and the tenant will move in thereafter.


  • Medical supply company Dynarex Corp. is building a new 400,000-square-foot warehouse facility in the Town of Wallkill.


  • President Container Corp. of the Town of Wallkill is set to break ground next month on a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities that will create 50 new jobs for the corrugated box manufacturing firm.


  • New Jersey-based developer Vision Real Estate Partners is before the Town of Wallkill Planning Board to develop five speculative industrial buildings in the Golden Triangle area in the Town of Wallkill totaling 1.03 million square feet of space. The firm is working with a new investor, JRM Construction, which will be assisting the firm on their Orange County projects.


  • Boston-based real estate investment firm GFI Partners is prepared to break ground on the Tri-State Logistics Center, a 500,000-speculative project being developed at the former Kikkerfrosch site in Goshen. The firm is currently in discussions with a number of potential end-users.


  • Amusement theme park DinoPark is scheduled to go before the Town of Wallkill Planning Board this month. The development is projected to create more than 150 jobs and be open for business in the summer of 2022.


  • Adams Fairacre Farms is expanding its operations in Orange County and is looking to develop a 60,000-square-foot store on Route 211 in the Town of Wallkill.


The prospect for a major infrastructure bill passed by Congress this year seems to be a priority for both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as the business community and Hudson Valley business leaders are hopeful the Route 17 expansion project will receive funding from the legislation.


Last month, the US Chamber of Commerce and the Bipartisan Policy Center along with more than 140 national and local organizations launched the “Build by the Fourth of July” campaign, urging newly elected and reelected members of Congress to enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package by the Fourth of July 2021.


This coalition brings together a diverse group of organizations including the North America’s Building Trades Unions, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, as well as other leading business, policy and labor organizations as we expand upon work from a broad coalition of transportation and infrastructure groups, with an emphasis on building new partnerships to address our nation’s infrastructure needs.


“Our long-term economic recovery requires building a governing coalition committed to bipartisan solutions, and tackling a long overdue infrastructure package is an immediate way the new Congress and new administration can demonstrate their shared commitment to the betterment of the country,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue. “Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure is not only one of the fastest and most direct ways to create new jobs and spur economic growth now, but also it will sustain our modern economy for the long-term. The coalition members may not agree on every issue or detail, but we understand the importance of working together for the greater good of the American people. We strongly urge policymakers to do the same and enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package as one of their first priorities.”