The Metro Hosts Made in Kingston on December 7

Made in Kingston invitationLocal arts businesses, makers, artists, and creators gather Thursday, December 7 for an expo of all things made in Kingston, at a new space under development in Midtown, the city’s up-and-coming arts district. The fifth annual Made In Kingston is co-sponsored by the City of Kingston, Kingston Midtown Arts District, Arts Mid Hudson, Business Alliance of Kingston, and RUPCO. 

This year’s event will be held at The Metro, the former MetLife Hall of Records building, at 2 South Prospect Street (on the corner of Greenkill Avenue, opposite the Boys and Girls Club). RUPCO closed on the 70,000-square-foot underutilized, near-vacant factory/warehouse earlier this year and is donating the space for this special event. RUPCO is proposing The Metro as a film and technology hub to include maker spaces and other creative uses.

“We are thrilled to host Made in Kingston for the second time in one of our buildings,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer at RUPCO. “This time, the event foretells what The Metro is all about. In addition to enjoying and purchasing goods from all the makers, we hope this gives attendees the opportunity to see the vision for The Metro, a center for film, TV, technology and makers alike. This building is about the local economy based in creative production with the overarching goal of providing job training and pathways to equity where people make sustainable livings from their creativity. The Metro brings community vitality forward in a space long vacant of any activity or inspiration.”

Made in Kingston opens its doors to the public at 4 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. In addition to more than four dozen local artists, the evening will feature local food, beverages and musical entertainment. For artists’ online registration click here.

“We couldn’t be prouder to support such a homegrown event that continues to expand every year, showcasing the diverse offerings made in Kingston and by ‘Kingstonians’,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “The event has transformed office buildings and warehouses into pop-up boutiques overflowing with locally made products sought after by visitors from throughout the region and beyond. Kingston’s economy is growing stronger every day and it is thanks to the unwavering commitment and investment in our community by our local business owners and entrepreneurs. I look forward to supporting each of them at this exciting event.”

“Over the last few years, we have come to realize just how great the resources are that we have here in Kingston,” added Richard Frumess, a co-founder of the Arts District. “Chief among them is the unique wealth of art manufacturing and crafts industry that is showcased by the annual Made in Kingston event. With our City officials, we are working hard to realize the creative potential the District represents for revitalizing the City.”

For further information, call 845-331-2238 or visit www.madeinkingstonNY.com and www.facebook.com/Made In Kingston

The Backstory of The Kirkland article
The Kirkland, corner of Clinton & Main, #KingstonNYThe Daily Freeman recently published an article about The Kirkland. We feel it  helpful for you to have all the facts and access to our original responses which we forwarded to reporter Paul Kirby last Tuesday. We feel the real story about The Kirkland is our delivery of jobs, taxes, community space, and synergistic influences percolating inside one of Kingston’s historic gems. The larger story, of course, is how this small project jumpstarted a transformation that began Uptown and is now seeing it’s way to Midtown.

“It’s been 8 years since we completed the building” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer. “The rental units and the office space have been rented since Day One but as we all know, the market downturned in 2008. That’s the main reason a restaurant didn’t take hold at The Kirkland. In addition, the capital expense to outfit a commercial-grade kitchen and restaurant fit-up required a new tenant investment of $100k-$200k beyond our investment and that proved problematic. We started marketing the property in 2005 and showed it to several restaurateurs we even used commercial brokers but had no takers. At the time, the location was a little off the beaten path, parking limited, and many opportunities with established commercial kitchens already existed.

“When we started this project, we promised and delivered mixed use space. We cobbled together 17 different funding sources to complete the project including a $1.5M mortgage from Key Bank that RUPCO is paying. In 2010, when we converted our community space at the Stuyvesant, we invested more money to outfit The Kirkland’s Senate Room as new community space. Since 2008, RUPCO has grown from 28 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) to 65 FTE jobs, including 13 FTEs employees who now work at The Kirkland. Indeed, we’ve created more good paying jobs with benefits than what a restaurant would have delivered.” The Kirkland headquarters RUPCO’s Green Jobs | Green New York Program (GJGNY), a homeowner program designed to improve home energy efficiency through energy audits, weatherization and solar installations. GJGNY leads New York State in homeowner education, energy audits and retrofits, channeling over $5.3-million into the Hudson Valley economy; the program also saves homeowners money on their utility bills.

Originally built in 1899, the Kirkland Hotel fell into disrepair and remained derelict for over 30 years, a blight at uptown Kingston’s entryway. “We helped preserve history and put the 19th-century landmark doomed for demolition back on the tax rolls,” says O’Connor. “ Last year RUPCO paid over $55,000 in school, city and county taxes. Since we took ownership in 2005 and restored this building to its original grandeur – rebuilding the original domed cupola, installing an original wrap-around porch, improving the neighborhood – we’ve paid over $573,000 in taxes.” Winner of Best Historic Preservation Award from Friends of Historic Kingston, The Kirkland remains the gateway icon to Kingston’s Historic Stockade District.

“We hold homebuyer education classes in the Senate Room, which enabled 81 people achieve their dream of homeownership last year,” continues O’Connor. “Another 300 Housing Choice Voucher Program recipients learned about how the program works and what it takes to be good tenant. We also invested $58,000 this past fall, hiring local contractors to rehab and paint the exterior to keep it looking top notch this fall. This building has provided value to Kingston for over 100 years; we continue to do the same into the next 100.” The Kirkland is also home to eight mixed-income rental apartments providing much needed rental housing uptown.

Circle of Friends for the Dying, Ulster County Continuum of Care, twelve-step groups, Friends of Historic Kingston and O+ Festival hold monthly meetings, annual gatherings and diversity workshops here. “Once the central site the Kingston Clinic, Healthcare is a Human Right used the first floor for many years until they switched locations to The Lace Mill to meet the community demand there,” says O’Connor. “Women’s Studio Workshop and Kingston High School art students, NYC-based Center for the Study of White American Culture, Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up and local citizens have also used the space for their events. The Kirkland has consistently met the needs of our neighbors and we’re proud to adapt in ways that benefit our community as times change.”

RUPCO most recently invested in a high-tech audio/visual configuration to answer the community’s call for meeting presentation capabilities. “We continue to reinvest in the building,” says O’Connor. “We are good stewards, pay big taxes and create a large number of jobs! The Kirkland is just one spark to the economic fuel that is driving community wealth building in the Hudson Valley.”

Note: Also misreported in this article were Energy Square facts as well. As of today, possible tenants for the commercial space include Center for Creative Education and Hudson Valley Tech Meet-up; while we would have loved for them to join us on Cedar Street, Ulster County Community Action is not a potential tenant for this space.