Every year at Community Lunch, RUPCO honors a community partner doing great work in our neighborhoods. This year, we honored Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director at Newburgh Community Land Bank for her collaborative spirit in transforming Newburgh’s historic East End. Her ability to gather partners and facilitate change has been transformative.
Maurice Jones, President and CEO of nationally recognized LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), is the featured keynote speaker at RUPCO’s annual luncheon Community Lunch on November 8. Jones will share his perspective on how communities can change and revitalize neighborhoods through a local approach to housing, health, safety, and job creation. Community Lunch will be held at The Chateau, 240 Boulevard Avenue, Kingston from 11:30a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is open to the public; tickets can be purchased online for $35 here.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, is one of the largest organizations supporting projects to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents. Initiatives include affordable housing, better schools, safer streets, growing businesses and programs that improve the financial outlook of people. LISC partners with nonprofits like RUPCO and provides capital and strategic know-how facilitate change locally. LISC’s work impacts 7 million low-income Americans in both rural areas and urban centers across the country. “To have someone of Maurice’s caliber, experience and inspiration come and speak in Kingston is a real honor,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “These conversations around local economies, thriving communities, family-life and working together are the kinds of conversations we need to be having. We hope Maurice’s talk with inspire further conversation about how we define healthy, robust, profitable communities here; communities that provide opportunity, innovation, and housing; communities that are strong, diverse, and vibrant.”
With deep experience in both the public and private sectors, Jones took the helm as LISC’s fourth president & CEO in September 2016. Immediately prior to joining LISC, he served as the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, where he managed 13 state agencies focused on statewide economic needs. He previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overseeing operations for the agency and its 8,900 staff members. The depth and breadth of his experience in policy making, social services and legal arenas give him a unique perspective on how communities thrive when they work together closest to home.
Additionally, RUPCO is recognizing two local individuals for their commitment to community. RUPCO is presenting its Community Partner Award to Madeline Fletcher, Executive Director of Newburgh Community Land Bank (NCLB) for her leadership and vision of the Newburgh revitalization efforts happening in the historic East End. Fletcher, with real estate experience in housing finance and as a land use attorney, has led the Land Bank since its formation in 2012. RUPCO is currently working with NCLB, Safe Harbors of the Hudson and local contractor Libolt & Sons in the rehabilitation of 15 properties to create 45 new rental homes in one of Newburgh’s most distressed areas, a 4-block cluster between Broadway and First Street.
RUPCO is also recognizing Kingston resident, Harold Renzo with the inaugural presentation of the Community Inspiration Award. This award recognizes an individual committed to improving our neighborhoods in ways that benefit the entire community. Renzo, a Stuyvesant resident for over 20 years, was responsible for facilitating change in uptown Kingston by advocating for accessibility access via curb cuts for those using wheelchairs, sight canes and seeing-eye dogs, and other physical challenges. A former U.S. Marine, Renzo advocates for senior and supportive housing and has been a vocal proponent of Landmark Place for seniors, veterans and those with special needs.
Community Lunch brings together friends, family and supporter around the table for annual discussions about housing, local economies, and other relevant topics that affect community. For more information, contact Maru Gonzalez (845) 331-2140, ext. 276.
Local 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.”
RUPCO completed the next step in bringing community wealth-building to midtown. RUPCO closed on the former MetLife Hall of Records building last week, a 70,000-square-foot underutilized factory/warehouse at 2 South Prospect Street. RUPCO is proposing The Metro, a film & technology hub including Maker Spaces and other creative uses. Community wealth-building focuses on creating jobs while producing materials and value-added products/services within a community, instead of outsourcing those same products and sending hard-earned local dollars out of the region. RUPCO has entered a strategic partnership with Stockade Works, a nonprofit specializing in media attraction, production, and training based in the Hudson Valley and spearheaded by actor-producer Mary Stuart Masterson.
“The opportunity to once again repurpose a fallow, vacant building — this time through a community wealth-building approach to bring a mix of creative uses, all with the purpose of creating local jobs and capturing local wealth — is very exciting. This project is about creating opportunity for everyone,” says Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “The Metro is perhaps the last vacant factory building in Kingston. We’re combing our expertise in rehabilitating and managing old buildings with Stockade Works’ creative vison and drive. This is a new venture for all of us and we are not sure what the final mix of creative uses will be. The goal is to work collaboratively to build and keep the wealth, local. Already, the phone is ringing from Makers and small businesses who want to be a part of the scene at The Metro!”
Stockade Works is dedicated to fostering the further potential of film and technology in the Hudson Valley to increase economic growth and support local communities. As a driver of economic development in the region, Stockade Works attracts outside production and technology startups, connects regional media professionals, and trains the local workforce to create local crew and tech professionals. “Stockade Works is excited to partner with RUPCO to realize our vision for a community media hub to further education and innovation to ready the local workforce for jobs in film, television, and technology,” said Mary Stuart Masterson, Stockade Works Founder and Board President. “Stockade Works is dedicated to fostering the further potential of film and technology in the Hudson Valley to increase economic growth and support local communities. As a driver of economic development in the region, Stockade Works attracts outside production and technology start-ups, connects regional media professionals, and trains the local workforce to create local crew and tech professionals.”
It is our core belief that every individual should have access to fruitful economic opportunities, which includes access to well-paying jobs with avenues for growth. We believe in providing paths of entry to industries that suffer from a lack of diversity in order to transform the faces of entertainment and technology.
The $14-million development will generate a short-term, local economic impact during construction and long-term economic impact through job creation. RUPCO purchased the property with a private mortgage through the Leviticus Fund.
The Metro was named a 2016 “signature priority project” by the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council (MHREDC). Renovation, upgrades, and historic preservation will utilize a variety of funding sources including the federal dollars through New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). The project is also eligible for state and federal historic tax credits; RUPCO nominated the property for both state and federal historic registers. Empire State Development is supporting the development of The Metro with a grant of up to $1 million, which was recommended by the MHREDC in Round VI of the REDC initiative. “The Metro will be home to two of New York’s premier industries – manufacturing and film/TV,” said ESD President, CEO, and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This project highlights the strength and success of New York State’s community-based approach to economic development, by recognizing and responding to a growing need in the Mid-Hudson region for exactly this kind of innovative workspace. The Metro will generate local jobs for local residents and Empire State Development is proud to support this project’s growth and success.”
The Metro property includes the warehouse, parking area, and Barmann Park, which will continue serving the local community’s recreational needs. RUPCO honors the name tradition, Metro, a nickname local children have called the Barmann Park area for years. Along with Stockade Works, The Metro’s immediate tenant roll includes private, local enterprises Chronogram and Steintex.
“My administration fought long and hard to bring the Upstate Film Tax Credit Program to Ulster County, and we have already seen tremendous results with several multi-million dollar films being shot across our county. We are extremely excited about the future of the film industry in Ulster County and our many partners including Mary Stuart Masterson who is an integral part of this project. By locating Stockade Works at this sight, there is the potential to deliver meaningful high-quality jobs for our community, as well as industry-specific job training,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.
“This is an exciting step forward for RUPCO, Stockade Works and for our community at large,” said City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble. “This building in the heart of Midtown will no longer sit vacant. Instead, it will be bustling with innovation and purpose, empowering our local residents to access training, employment, and entrepreneurship. This isn’t just job creation, it’s community revitalization.”
RUPCO recently received a sizable award from the Empire State Development Grant Program (ESD) through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). In early December, RUPCO received notification of a $1-million award for its Priority Status community development proposal to be called “The Metro,” located at 2 South Prospect Street, Kingston, which the Regional Economic Development Council named a “Priority Project.”
“We’re so excited to be a part of the change happening in Kingston,” notes Guy Kempe, Vice President of Community Development at RUPCO. “This CFA round was highly competitive. We’ll direct these funds for acquisition of the property we’ve held on option since August 2016. Overall, we stand amidst a solid CFA tidal wave of funding for the City of Kingston where the city, Ulster County and 4 other organizations won 11 awards amounting to $5.3 million.”
This funding comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo signing into law the New York State Film Tax Credit Program, extending a 40% tax credit to television and film studios working in Ulster County. “These tax credits can now be applied to expenses “below the line” of TV-film budgets where most salaries are accounted for. This tax credit is huge to producers and their budgets but monstrous to Ulster County and City of Kingston,” notes Kevin O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer at RUPCO. “We’re grateful to Ulster County Executive Mike Hein for his work behind the scenes to get this credit extended to Ulster County. With the County’s support and our partnership with Stockade Works, RUPCO will supply the location for TV-film production studios, a post-production & training center plus several Makers’ Spaces for local artisans and light manufacturers. Stockade Works, a nonprofit TV/film production company lead by director-actress Mary Stuart Masterson, will bring new training opportunities and TV-film industry work to the area.” The New York State Film Tax Credit Program, available in all 62 counties, is designed to increase film production and post-production industry activity and secondary economic impact. In 2014, to further incentivize film/TV production outside of New York City, state officials increased the fully refundable tax credit to 40% for shows and films with budgets over $500,000 that are made in 40 upstate counties.
According to a recent press release, StockadeWorks “will provide a co-working environment for industry professionals in the Hudson Valley looking to connect with their colleagues. The space will accommodate outside productions looking to find a film-friendly location. With hot desks, a conference room, event space, production offices, soundstage, picture/visual effects/sound editing suites, 100-seat state-of-the-art screening room, and film/tech-oriented maker space, the project will connect local talent, attract outside production, and provide a training ground with hands-on access to industry professionals. The studio will produce everything from TV shows to mobile apps and podcasts, and host program classes, workshops, screenings, local food and moth-style spoken word events.”
“It’s not just about new jobs in TV and film; it’s about the ancillary economic boost that the TV-film industry brings with it. It brings new people to the area, who visit and then maybe move here permanently,” says O’Connor. “This multiplier effect — the impact of one dollar recirculated among our area’s small businesses like delis, gas stations, Main Street eateries and hotels – benefits our local economy in new ways. Introducing new business opportunity — we call it Community Wealth Building — fortifies our communities by creating what we consume here, keeping local dollars local. Introducing TV-film studio space within an easy commute to New York City is the right thing at the right time. Studios on Long Island and in the City are booked well into 2020. This new creative industry is the economic boost we’ve been waiting for, to restore density to our City center and people to frequent local businesses.”
Adjacent to the local baseball field, the 70,000-square-foot MetLife building will be renamed The Metro. In addition to the TV-film amenities, The Metro will include a number of makers’ spaces for light industrial use. “This effort at The Metro is about creative placemaking, transforming midtown Kingston, improving community where people want to live, work, play, thrive, hang out,” adds O’Connor. “The Metro anchors the transformation that started at the Brush Factory and the arts-based businesses within Midtown. It expanded to The Lace Mill at the far end of Cornell Street and gained legs with the City’s Midtown Arts District. We’re poised to add new construction of mixed-income, mixed-use space at E2: Energy Square at the corner of Cedar and Iwo Jima to provide a home for Center for Creative Education, Hudson Valley Tech Meet Up and 57 families. The Metro extends this transformation to the other end of Midtown, solidifying Kingston’s creative juice throughout the City.”
“We’ve still got our work cut out for us, raising capital to secure historic tax credits and new market tax credits to preserve and renovate The Metro,” adds Kempe. “But we’re confident in the momentum generated by, and support of, the City of Kingston and Mayor Steve Noble, Ulster County and Executive Mike Hein, and area residents who stand ready for pivotal change in Midtown.” Projected improvements include historic preservation in conformance with the standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior standards, such is restoring the building façade to original architectural plans. Site development will include landscaping and roofing upgrades; energy-efficiency improvements such as a new geo-thermal heating and cooling system; and an interior sub-division of rental spaces. The building lends itself to the maker’s space model: a single-story building with loading bays, easy access, parking and loading capacity, and high-ceilinged spaces ideal for sound stage or light manufacturing uses. Capitalization of these improvements is projected at $11.5-million. RUPCO and StockadeWorks will apply to a combination of resources such as private investors, private mortgage, New Market Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, Environmental Protection Fund and ESD funding. The project currently enjoys a “Priority Status” from the Regional Economic Development Council which positions the project favorably to access further state economic development sources.
This project is included in Kingston’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) drafted to promote the redevelopment of vacant and distressed properties in midtown, as well as the removal of blight and impediments to revitalization. The adaptive reuse of the MetLife Building was identified as a signature project for DRI funding by The mid-Hudson Regional Council. This initiative will remove neighborhood blight, preserve an historic structure, create jobs and move people from persistent poverty to skilled employment. The location for this project is Census Tract 9521.00 in Ulster County, a “distressed community” which is designated by HUD as a “Qualified Census Tract” (QCT.) A QCT is any census tract in which at least 50 percent of households have an income less than 60 percent of the Average Median Income. In Ulster County as of 2016, this represents a family of 4 less than $45,540.
Creative entrepreneurial commerce exemplifies the neighborhood with area businesses Bailey Pottery, American-Made Monster, R&F Handmade Paints, M&E Manufacturing, Cornell Street Studios, ColorPage, Brush and Shirt Factories leading the charge. RUPCO’s award-winning Lace Mill anchors the midtown movement at one end with 55 homes for artists and their families. At the Ulster Performing Arts Center crossroads of Broadway and Cedar/Cornell Street, new galleries and eateries provide a business base for residents of the proposed net-zero for living mixed-use, mixed-income E2: Energy Square with 57 apartments replacing the defunct bowling alley three blocks from The Metro. Midtown’s transformation blends a mix of housing types with business ventures, historic rehabilitation and new construction of underutilized and blighted properties to revitalize the neighborhood.
Call 518-474-8390 or email Governor Cuomo TODAY, encouraging him to sign the bill to expand the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit Program to the Hudson Valley (A.9415 -Gunther / S.6987 -Amedore) to promote new economic opportunity.
This legislation will directly benefit the work we’re doing with Stockade Works at the MetLife Building to bring TV/film production studios and a post-production & training center to Kingston. On a larger scale, the Hudson Valley benefits from the influx of people looking to work, live and create in our region. It will impact economic development and community wealth building in news ways that improve our neighborhoods. Here are a few talking points on this initiative:
- The New York State Film Tax Credit Program is designed to increase the film production and post-production industry presence and overall positive impact on the State’s economy.
- New York’s film tax credit applies to all 62 counties of the state. But to stimulate production in counties outside of New York City, state officials in 2014 increased the 30% fully refundable tax credit to 40% for shows and films with budgets over $500,000 that are made in 40 upstate counties. In 2015, Albany and Schenectady counties were added.
- Companies producing films or television shows in New York State are currently refunded between 30% and 55% of their costs, depending on where in the state they film and the credit programs for which they qualify. The bill would expand the geographic area in which film companies will qualify for the 40% credit.
- The purpose of this bill is to expand to 40% for the Catskills and the Hudson Valley (north of Westchester and Rockland counties) and Suffolk County, which are close enough to the city to draw the kinds of productions that generate jobs and economic vitality.
“The expansion of the Film Tax Credit means that the entertainment industry can expand and create a new segment within our growing creative economy and has the potential to become a major driving economic force locally, as well as throughout the Hudson Valley,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “My administration has been highlighting the disparity in the current program that is negatively impacting Ulster County and, as a result, there was a groundswell of grassroots support for this amendment. I want to commend and thank Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for her leadership on this issue and for sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, as well as Senators Larkin and Amedore for their sponsorship in the Senate. If this bill is ultimately signed into law, our area would be poised to experience a potentially huge economic boost from not only the on-site production of films, but also the siting of studios and post-production facilities as well. This may prove to be some of the most important legislation our area has seen over the past ten years.”