County Executive Pat Ryan calls the deal “momentous and transformative,” and “one of the biggest wins for Ulster County in decades;” says that the County will soon announce additional exciting details about the future redevelopment plans for the site
Landmark deal includes provisions to fully remediate remaining environmental issues, put the property back on the tax rolls, and finally reactivate the site as a regional economic engine
In the deal, National Resources would commit $12 million, roughly the amount currently owed in back taxes, and enter into a formal agreement with the EPA for environmental cleanup
The Ulster County Legislature is expected to take action to finalize the deal prior to the end of the year
KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced today that Ulster County Court Judge Bryan Rounds has signed off on a negotiated settlement deal between Ulster County and Alan Ginsberg, owner of the remaining properties that comprise TechCity on the former IBM campus in the Town of Ulster. The deal allows for the ultimate sale of TechCity to National Resources, a nationally-recognized developer known for revitalizing former industrial sites, for a combined amount of $12 million, which is roughly the amount currently owed in back taxes.
The purchase is expected to include $5 million in cash payments over a five year period, plus at least $7 million in financial commitments for substantial remediation work required on the property. Based on recent actions by the EPA, any new owner will be required to quickly commence environmental cleanup and costs in a manner that is acceptable to both the EPA and New York State DEC. The sale of the property would allow for taxes to once again be collected on the parcels and would finally and fully wrest control of the campus from Alan Ginsberg, who has owned the former IBM site since 1998.
“Today’s announcement regarding TechCity is momentous, and represents one of the biggest economic wins for Ulster County in decades,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “For far too long, TechCity has been a shell of past economic success. Now we have finally reached an exciting and transformative moment, one where we can revitalize this site and remake it as a thriving beacon of new opportunity for our County.”
“Today’s announcement is a major step forward in cleaning up the asbestos-ridden TechCity site that will boost jobs, promote economic development, and protect the public health. I look forward to continuing to work with the EPA, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, State Senator Hinchey, Assemblyman Cahill, the Town of Ulster, HVEDC, and the sites new owner, Natural Resources, to clean up and revitalize the former IBM-site, unlocking its full potential to create thousands of good-paying local jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “As Majority Leader, I am proud to have delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars for EPA to help cleanup this site, on top of historic funding for both Ulster County and the Town of Ulster through the American Rescue Plan for development opportunities, and billions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act to supercharge cleanup efforts at superfund sites like this across New York. TechCity has the power to serve as a national model for cleaning up and repurposing contaminated sites nationwide and I will continue working tooth and nail until this site is brought back to its full potential as a beacon of economic growth in the Hudson Valley.”
“This is a moment many of us here in Ulster County have been waiting decades for,” Ulster County Legislator Brian Cahill said. “I’m grateful to County Executive Ryan for his instrumental leadership in making this happen and the cooperation of my fellow Legislators for supporting the plan. I would also like to acknowledge the diligence and hard work of the Director of Ulster County Economic Development, Tim Weidemann. I look forward to continuing to work together with the Executive’s team and members of the i.Park 87 development team to accomplish the full redevelopment of this critical economic asset.”
“An experienced partner like National Resources will help us unlock the potential of the former IBM campus,” said Sarah Haley, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ulster County Economic Development Alliance and a member of the County’s Enterprise West Advisory Committee. “With their financial resources, bench of potential flagship tenants, and deep experience remediating complex environmental issues, they are the ideal partner to return this blighted property to the economic engine Ulster County has long desired and deserved.”
"This announcement represents an exciting moment in the long history of the former IBM site, which remains a sore spot for many residents of the Town of Ulster," said Laura Hartmann, one of the founding members and leaders of TownOfUlsterCitizens.com, and a member of the County's Enterprise West Advisory Committee. "An outcome that results in the clean-up of environmental issues on the site, repayment of some portion of the back taxes, and a path toward revitalization is a categorial win."
Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, members of the Ulster County Legislature, National Resources and other partners will hold an event in the coming days to lay out additional details on the future vision for the location.
National Resources, a nationally-recognized developer known for revitalizing former industrial sites, currently is working to redevelop the former IBM site in Fishkill. Their Fishkill location, known as iPark 84, features over 2 million square feet of commercial space and currently is slated to have GlobalFoundries, eMagin, and a film studio as tenants. In addition, National Resources is developing a film production facility in Yonkers for Lionsgate Entertainment. Over the past 15-years, National Resources has developed over 5 million square feet of space in eight different locations while creating more than 20,000 new jobs in these formerly vacant spaces.
As a first step toward addressing the worsening situation on the campus, County Executive Ryan initiated foreclosure proceedings on two parcels on the west side of the campus in 2019, and in November 2020 the Ulster County Court granted the county ownership through foreclosure of all of the buildings and properties formerly used by Bank of America in the western portion of the industrial campus formerly occupied by IBM. Over the past year, the Ulster County Economic Development Alliance, the County’s general purpose Local Development Corporation, has begun to market the west campus, issuing two Requests for Expressions of Interest that surfaced more than 20 potential tenants, developers and consultants, including National Resources, the developer of i.Park 84 at the former East Fishkill IBM site.
In early July 2021, County Executive Ryan joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other federal and state representatives as they announced commitments from the EPA to accomplish a cleanup of the site, which is listed on the EPA’s Superfund Program. After numerous delays by Ginsberg, the EPA proceeded to begin the cleanup effort in the summer, incurring some $630,000 of cost to cover the asbestos-laced debris piles located on the site, which was secured by EPA with liens against two of Ginsberg’s properties on the east campus in October.
In early July 2021, County Executive Ryan joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other federal and state representatives as they announced commitments from the EPA to accomplish a cleanup of the site, which was being handled under EPA’s Superfund Program. After Ginsberg’s failure to comply with EPA’s cleanup order and numerous delays, the EPA undertook a removal action in 2020, incurring over $630,000 to stabilize the site. In September, EPA filed liens against two of Ginsberg’s properties on the east campus.
By late July 2021, in its continuing effort to resolve the impasse, the County commenced foreclosure on nearly all of Ginsberg’s remaining properties, with the recognition that Ginsberg’s precarious financial condition threatened to further impede him from completing the environmental cleanup and sensing that the campaign of increasing pressure was chipping away at Ginsberg’s control of the property.
The decision from Judge Rounds comes as a court-ordered settlement of those foreclosure proceedings initiated by Ulster County in July 2021. By November 2021, the amount of unpaid taxes and related fees had again risen to approximately $12,000,000, even after Ginsberg’s August sale of six parcels to a Suffern-based clothing wholesaler resulted in repayment of nearly $3,000,000 in back taxes. When combined with an estimated $7-10 million in required environmental cleanup costs, the cost of acquiring the remaining TechCity properties has become a major impediment to their redevelopment, which threatens to put the properties in a perpetual cycle of blight and disinvestment. Instead, the settlement ordered by Judge Rounds would reduce the upfront cost for acquisition of the properties in return for assurances from the new owner regarding cleanup and redevelopment of the site.
Following the Judge’s order, the Ulster County Legislature will consider several resolutions to effect the transition of the properties. First, at its December 2nd session, the Legislature is expected to vote to accept the deeds for the properties from Mr. Ginsberg, with the deeds placed in escrow until closing. At the December 2nd session, the Legislature is also expected to set a public hearing for the evening of December 21st, which will allow residents and members of the public to voice their support or concerns. Following that hearing, the Legislature’s last step would be a resolution to surplus the properties to the Ulster County Economic Development Alliance, which would in turn sell the properties to National Resources, according to terms outlined in the settlement agreement.
At its prime in the 1980’s, the IBM campus had 7,000 employees and was the heart of Ulster County’s economy. IBM moved out in 1995 and subsequently sold the entire campus in 1998 to Ginsberg, who promised full redevelopment. For the past 22 years, Mr. Ginsberg’s ownership has coincided with steady decline on the site, culminating in the botched demolition of several buildings in 2015 and 2016, which created significant new environmental challenges.