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Former IBM East Fishkill Campus Will Be Redeveloped

An industrial landmark in Dutchess County is set to come back to life. A real estate development and investment firm that specializes in redeveloping industrial sites has purchased 300 acres of the former IBM campus in East Fishkill. The acquisition is being heralded as one of the largest economic redevelopment projects in recent Dutchess County history.

National Resources envisions the former IBM campus as one of its signature iParks, a mixed-used, tech/flex redevelopment with retail, hotel and residential components.

(Video presentation clip: This $300 million project will transform a former 500-acre technology park into the workspace of the future…)

National Resources’ iPark program transitions industrial properties into modern, high-tech facilities. Examples are its iPark projects in Yonkers and Norwalk, Connecticut. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says one of the largest investments in the county was when IBM set up shop. Now, here’s another.

“And this will be one of the largest economic development investments in the county, one of them,” says Molinaro. “And you’re talking about bringing together multiple businesses that are going to invest in this site and, with the leadership of National Resources, repurposing this facility.”

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries, with 2,500 employees, will continue to own 160 acres. Lynne Ward is executive vice president of National Resources.

“So we’re got 2 million square feet available over six parcels, and we’re going to build more because that’s existing space so some people may want different space,” Ward says. “And we have 13,000 parking spaces we can’t use so we’ll be building in some of those areas, and we have about another couple of hundred acres of  land available, so that’s going to get  new buildings on it.”

She expects eight to 10 businesses will move in within the first two years. Ward says the space is attractive, in part, because of its proximity to I-84 and $1 billion in existing infrastructure.

“Biggest electric in the state, virtually, and cheap; big water supply, 3 million gallons a day; very good wastewater, too, so for production businesses, wastewater available; gas, specialty gases, all that type of thing,” says Ward. “IBM was very important to the state. All that was brought for them.”

“And here it is for you,” says Dunne.

“And here it is, on a plate,” says Ward.

Jason Schuler is the first new tenant. He’s founder and president of Drink More Good, a beverage manufacturing company. He signed the lease this week for 5,500 square feet. He’ll maintain his space in Beacon, but move all manufacturing to East Fishkill.

“I’m from East Fishkill. I went to John Jay High School. I’ve seen what this facility was and how many jobs it brought to the area back when it was first here,” Schuler says. “I lived through a lot of the jobs leaving here and a lot of the families struggling with that, and we’re excited to help be part of the resurgence of bringing jobs back to East Fishkill and this plant. This becoming a food hub is super attractive for us.”

Schuler plans to nearly double the new space within six months. The second new tenant, and a food hub enthusiast, could be Sloop Brewing, which is based in Columbia County. Pending state approval, the Elizaville company will retain its tasting room there but move everything else to East Fishkill and begin brewing in April. Adam Watson is one of Sloop Brewing’s owners.

“What we’re going to do, move all the equipment down here. We’ve got 60 barrel fermenters up there. We’re going to get, keep all the same equipment but add 120 barrel fermenters, add a bunch of those, so be able to expand production significantly,” Watson says. “The main thing is we’re also going to add the canning line. So what we do right now in  Elizaville is draft only, so we’re going to be able to add the cans, which is going to be huge for sales.”

East Fishkill Supervisor John Hickman remembers when IBM in the early 1960s approached his grandfather, who was town supervisor, about building in the town. He sees the National Resources acquisition as on the same scale as when IBM set up in 1963.

Again, Molinaro.

“And what’s important is that this is obviously about bringing new life to this particular campus and what we hope will be 500-1,000 jobs over the next several years, but it will be a catalyst for economic growth well beyond this campus,” Molinaro says. “There’ll be businesses that pop up to support what goes on here. There’ll be residential development that comes up to support what goes on here. And there’ll be a great, I think, improvement in economic sustainability in the region, and that’s necessary. You need that major catalyst, and National Resources and the repurposing of this facility will be just that.”

Ward says National Resources is looking into other potential acquisitions in Westchester, where it also has a residential development in Tarrytown.

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