Orange County Partnership - News

  • 2021 HGAR CID Economic Development Roundtable Panelists

Partnership’s Halahan Touts Emerging Development Trends in the COVID Era at Regional Economic Session

By John Jordan


The Orange County Partnership’s President and CEO Maureen Halahan participated in a widely attended and highly informative virtual economic development panel on Feb. 18 that featured economic development officials from the lower Hudson Valley and the Bronx.


The program, hosted by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, featured, in addition to Halahan: Marlene Cintron, president, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation; Kathleen Ables president, Putnam County Economic Development Corp.; Jeremy Schulman, Director, Economic Development, Rockland County and Bridget Gibbons, Director, Economic Development, Westchester County. The program was moderated by John Barrett, president of HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division.


The panelists were generally upbeat about their respective markets, all reporting that they expect targeted industries to bring investment to their markets to reduce inflated unemployment rates post pandemic.


Halahan said that during the past year, while Orange County and the region have had to cope with restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Orange County has seen a tremendous amount of interest and investment in e-commerce related projects, including warehouse and distribution developments.


She added that because of e-commerce and consumers’ demand for rapid delivery of products, “In that space, we have some of the biggest national developers here in Orange County trying to figure out where they are going to buy as much real estate as they can, and get it prepared so it is ready to go when their portfolio of clients want to move.”


She noted that developers such as PNK Group, Scannell Properties, GFI Partners, Matrix Development Group, Frassetto Companies and Green Thumb Industries are planning or currently constructing new commercial projects in Orange County.


Halahan also said that the Orange County residential market is benefitting from the migration of New York City residents to the northern suburbs, and particularly Orange County for its quality of life.


Other topics covered by Halahan included the significant investment centered around the Route 17K corridor, including the impending opening of the LEGOLAND New York amusement park in Goshen, the need for the expansion of Route 17 to accommodate that growth, the Danskammer energy project, the major construction projects underway by Amazon and Medline in Montgomery, the Route 17K Corridor Study in the Town of Montgomery and the Resorts World Catskills Video Gaming Machine project at the Newburgh Mall.


Despite the urgent need for new development to deal with the economic fallout from COVID-19, Halahan and others stressed that they must promote new projects to the public to offset growing anti-development forces that exist in many municipalities.


“We have to have our voices heard on what the value of these projects are,” she said. “The landscape has changed in my 20 years (in economic development). The voices are getting louder that they don’t want any growth. But, if they (the general public) understand the value of the projects and the need to have the private sector in so we can partner together, then I think people would understand it (the merits of development) better.”


She concluded noting that in many cases, the job of economic development officials comes down to trying to reduce the significant tax burden facing New Yorkers.


“If we are going to save New York, we have to make it easier for companies to want to be in New York,” Halahan said.