Leonard Sparks Times Herald-Record
Posted Aug. 23, 2016 at 9:56 PM
CITY OF NEWBURGH – To the south, furniture maker Atlas Industries has turned a dormant warehouse into a new headquarters and studios and workspaces for dozens of artists and craftspeople.
To the east, is Newburgh Brewing Co., Washington’s Headquarters and a strip of unused green space with uninterrupted views of the waterfront. To the north, is SUNY Orange’s City of Newburgh campus, and three college-owned buildings on Grand Street totaling 78,000 square feet.
All are part of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress’ “Creative Neighborhood,” a swath of Newburgh whose unfilled potential is at the heart of a new initiative to attract innovative entrepreneurs, including technology-based businesses.
Pattern officials announced the initiative, which will also focus on new residences, on Tuesday evening at SUNY Orange during the inaugural Newburgh meeting of the two-year-old Hudson Valley Tech Meetup group.
Rhinebeck Bank also announced a $3 million loan fund for businesses moving into the designated area.
“The idea is to create a buzz about why this is a really good place to live and work,” said Jonathan Drapkin, Pattern’s president and CEO.
Nearly 100 people, including tech entrepreneurs, heard the announcement at SUNY Orange. U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who has an office in the city, and county Executive Steve Neuhaus were also on hand.
They heard Pattern lay out a vision for an area bordered on the north by Catherine Street and on the south by South William Street. To the west, it is bordered by South Johnston Street and to the east by River Road.
The idea, Drapkin said, followed Neuhaus’ request that Pattern look for ways SUNY Orange could have a greater impact on Newburgh’s revitalization. The college is considered one of the area’s anchors, Drapkin said.
“How do we maximize its potential, not as a college, but as an anchor for the revitalization of the city,” he said. Drapkin and Joe Czajka, Pattern’s senior vice president for research, planning and development, cited Atlas as an example of the kind of businesses that could be attracted to an area whose assets include available space, cafes and restaurants, and proximity to the waterfront.
Pattern plans to use a planning grant to convene an advisory group whose job will be to find ways to market the area.
To aid the effort, Poughkeepsie-based Rhinebeck Bank is creating a $3 million loan fund specifically for businesses moving to the area, said Mike Quinn, the bank’s president and CEO. Loans for up to $250,000 will be available at below-market-rates, he said.
“There’s a lot of great ideas, but just an idea doesn’t do it,” he said. “It needs financing (and) it needs advice.”