2021 27th Edition: September 27 - October 1
Recently, I was interviewed by the editor of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors newspaper Real Estate In-Depth as part of that publication’s annual supplement on Orange County. I discussed a host of pressing issues, including the Route 17 expansion, growth industries in the county and how the Partnership coped with and overcame some of the restrictions imposed by government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The “Five Questions With” coverage was so comprehensive, I thought I would have it serve as my President’s Report in this edition of Resources & Results.
Five Questions With
Maureen Halahan
Orange County Partnership President & CEO
By John Jordan
GOSHEN—Ever since COVID-19 hit this region back in March 2020, one of the bright spots for the Hudson Valley economy has been Orange County where, despite the challenges the pandemic has brought, major projects and investment continue almost undeterred.
Orange County has seen Amazon and Medline build new massive distribution facilities, while the much-anticipated LEGOLAND New York opened for business recently to much fanfare. Even the struggling hospitality sector is rebounding, with many new hotel projects in the ground or on the drawing boards and reports that on weekends no hotel room can be found within the borders of the county.
This month, Real Estate In-Depth turned to Orange County Partnership President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen Halahan to find out where the economy is in its recovery from COVID-19 and what growth sectors have emerged.
She was also questioned on the challenges the county faces and the prospects on whether the long hoped for expansion of Route 17 will move forward and break ground.
Halahan, who was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, is one of the most recognizable faces in economic development in the region and the state. She became the President and CEO of the Orange County Partnership in 2002, making her the longest serving economic development professional in the Mid-Hudson Region.
She is a long-standing member of the Governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Council and also serves on the Citizens Advisory Panel – New York Stewart International Airport. Halahan is a member of the New York State Economic Development Council, CoreNet International, an international site-selection industry association, and the 17-Forward-86 coalition, which the Orange County Partnership was instrumental in founding.
In the past five years, the Orange County Partnership has assisted with the attraction and/or expansion of 99 companies. These transactions have generated $902,446,000 in capital investment and created 3,146 new jobs in Orange County.
Keynote Speaker:
Gus Scacco, CEO & Chief Investment Officer -
Hudson Valley Investment Advisors, Inc.
Orange County Partnership President & CEO Maureen Halahan addressing Investors with economic development update.
From Left to Right:
Keynote Speaker, Gus Scacco; OCP President & CEO, Maureen Halahan and OCP Chairman of the Board, Michael Gilfeather
Investors Lining Up to Build New Projects in Orange County
Anyone questioning the strength of the Orange County economy got an almost overwhelming excess of positive data from business and economic development experts at the Orange County Partnership’s Investor Breakfast on Sept. 21. The presentations put to rest any notion that a downturn may lie ahead for the county in 2022.
Orange County Partnership President and CEO Maureen Halahan noted that the county is seeing significant development interest and numerous firms are seeking municipal approvals for projects ranging in size from 60,000 square feet to 1 million square feet.
Halahan said that at present, the growth clusters in Orange County are: tourism, health care, distribution and e-commerce.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus pulled no punches, reporting that sales taxes in Orange County are up 25% from last year and agreed with Halahan that investment interest in Orange County is very high.

“There is a massive land grab going on throughout the county,” Neuhaus said. “People wanting to buy property, investing and going before Planning Boards.”
He also said that the county is working with the Department of Labor to prompt those who left their jobs due to the pandemic to return to work if they are able.

Green Thumb Industries Breaks Ground on $150 Million Cannabis Campus in Warwick
The evolution of the cannabis industry in Orange County took a major step forward recently with the groundbreaking of a major project at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility property in the Town of Warwick.
A host of state, county and local dignitaries joined company officials for the Sept. 9 groundbreaking ceremony for the $150-million project by Green Thumb Industries.

Orange County Executive Stephen Neuhaus, New York Senator Mike Martucci and Assemblyman Karl Brabenec and Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton were among those in attendance, as were Green Thumb executives, including Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler.

From left, New York State Assemblyman Karl A. Brabenec; Pavan Naidu, Governor’s Region Representative Upper Hudson Valley; Rebecca Brown, VP, Strategy, Green Thumb; Todd Diorio, President, Hudson Valley Building and Construction Trades Council; Ben Kovler, Green Thumb Founder and CEO; Michael Sweeton, Supervisor, Town of Warwick; New York State Senator Mike Martucci; Bill Fioravanti, Director of Economic Development Orange County and Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus.
A rendering of the Green Thumb Industries’ facility in Warwick.
Final Route 17 Third Lane Expansion Project Report to be Released by End of October
The long-awaited recommendations by the New York State Department of Transportation on whether to proceed and seeking funding for the addition of a third lane on Route 17 is nearly at hand.
The cost of adding a third lane on a 47-mile stretch of Route 17 from Harriman to Monticello in each direction is now being estimated at anywhere from $525 million to as high as $1.04 billion, depending on the scope of the improvements to be undertaken.

Stewart Airport’s Showing Signs of Rebound
While the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey continues to try to bolster passenger air service at New York Stewart International Airport, other facets of operations at the New Windsor-based airport are growing considerably.
Demand for hangar space for aircraft based at New York Stewart International Airport is so intense that the Port Authority is exploring qualified developers to construct additional space, Mid-Hudson News reports.

On Sept. 10, The RedTail Flight Academy celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art flight academy at New York Stewart International Airport.
NY State Selects Two Green Projects Valued at $8.2 Billion
In a major step to convert the state’s energy grid to green, New York State has selected two major green energy infrastructure projects that will cost $8.2 billion to develop and help bring wind, solar and hydropower from Upstate New York and Canada to New York City. The two projects involve a total of approximately 513 miles of transmission line that will both traverse large swaths of the Mid-Hudson Valley region. The two ventures, if they secure final approvals, will create approximately 10,000 jobs.

Cushman & Wakefield Identifies Five Key U.S. Labor Market Trends Impacting CRE
In a comprehensive report that detailed how the pandemic has affected hiring in the private sector, Rebecca Rockey, global head of economic analysis and forecasting for commercial brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield, identified five prevailing trends in the U.S. labor market that are impacting commercial real estate.

LeChase “Lives Green and Builds Green” 
This is not the time to become complacent about green building. Occasional news about green roofs, solar panels and recycling bins are not going to bring the gains needed to maintain a healthier, more sustainable society. 

Recent projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) bring a mixed message. Their experts see energy use throughout the country increasing in the coming years, but not as quickly as floorspace. That means we are becoming more efficient in our energy usage – but not quickly enough to reduce the amount we are using. Total commercial energy use is projected to increase 22% by 2050 over 2020. During that same time, commercial floorspace will increase 33%, the report projects. 

The good news is that more of the nation’s energy is coming from renewable sources such as solar and, increasingly, wind, according to the EIA. In 2020, consumption of renewable energy grew for the fifth year in a row to reach 12% of all energy consumed. 

The benefits of a green building to the environment and the community surrounding it are obvious. More and more, businesses and other institutions are discovering that a sustainable building can create a healthy environment that also benefits the health and the happiness of the employees who work in its offices. 

A survey released by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2018 showed that 85 percent of employees in buildings with the association’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification said that access to quality outdoor views and natural sunlight boosts their overall productivity and happiness. Eighty percent said the enhanced air quality improves their physical health and comfort. 

At LeChase Construction Service’s New York Tri-State office in Armonk, we enjoy these benefits every day. We are now celebrating 10 years of working in a building that sets an excellent example of what can be achieved in sustainability. Constructed in 2011, the building was the first building in Westchester to receive the LEED Platinum certification for commercial interiors, meeting the most stringent of the Green Building Council’s criteria. At the time it was one of only 86 projects nationally to receive this honor. 

In 2015, LeChase acquired the company that occupied the building, and it has been the regional office ever since. 

Low-flow toilets and faucets with proximity sensors cut water usage. Lighting innovations include high-efficiency LED fixtures and daylight and occupancy sensors. Counters are made from recycled milk cartons, floors from recycled tires. Roof solar panels supply energy. 

Everyone in our office enjoys natural light at their work station, either with direct views outside, or with sun tubes that direct the light to interior spaces. To those who have not had this benefit before coming to work to us, it is a pleasant surprise. The benefit is at least as important, if not more so, than the very real savings we see in energy use and cost. 

For employees who prefer to commute by pedal power rather than motor vehicle, we offer a bicycle rack and shower facilities. 

New innovations, and advances in sustainable elements that have been around for a while, make it possible to attack the energy problem on both fronts – reducing energy use, and deriving more power from sustainable sources. At LeChase, we pursue both goals. Here are just a few of the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects incorporated into buildings we have constructed: 

  • Clean energy from solar panels and fuel cells, which convert hydrogen into electricity, with heat and water as the only byproducts. 
  • Geothermal wells, which harness the heat under the Earth’s surface to warm buildings. 
  • "Smart glass" windows from View, which automatically adjust their tint to reduce glare and heat, reducing energy costs and allowing employees to work in healthier natural light more of the time. 
  • Wind turbines that supplement energy supply. 
  • Green walls, or walls of vegetation, which improve air quality and decrease ambient temperature, among other benefits. 
  • Advanced green roof systems that retain rainwater in a shallow, 2.5-inch thick absorbent layer, with no need for a drainage layer. 

To make progress on sustainability and reduce greenhouse gases, these types of innovations will need to become more widespread. With every project, no matter the scale, builders and developers must place a core focus on protecting people and the environment, promoting local economic development and partnering with communities. Builders like LeChase have a responsibility to demonstrate leadership by delivering projects that optimize energy efficiency, provide creative use and reuse of resources and seek to protect and enhance the environment. 

Our commitment to environmental stewardship needs to be rooted in the belief that it is essential to help pioneer social impact that can last for decades. 

David Campbell is Vice President, LeChase Construction Services, LLC, New York Tri-State office. Learn more at 

About LeChase Construction Services, LLC Established in 1944, LeChase prides itself on offering the capabilities of a large firm while maintaining the personalized service of a small firm. Today, the company ranks among the nation’s top contractors – providing general construction and construction management services in a wide range of industries and on projects of all sizes. With a dedicated team of talented professionals striving to deliver excellence, the firm has earned a reputation for quality, safety and integrity. In addition to serving customers from its operations across the East Coast, LeChase can provide resources to meet the unique needs of clients no matter where they are located. 
The Orange County Partnership would like to congratulate LCS Facility Group on celebrating 20 years of excellence!
From their headquarters in Poughkeepsie, New York to their four national offices, LCS Facility Group kicks off a year of celebrations for their 20th Anniversary.
For the last two decades, LCS Facility Group has led the facilities industry in the markets they serve. Their key values have demonstrated significant commitment to clients, economic development, and charitable organizations since their inception in 2001.
“I would like to commend the LCS team’s excellent work and professionalism. We are pleased with serviced provided by LCS over the years. Our projects are completed on time thanks to their help! They are always reliable and can be counted on when emergencies arise. Keep up the great work!”, said Kirchhoff.
This high level of client and partner appreciation is typical for LCS Facility Group, largely due to the skill and longevity of the sincere employees, some who started with the company twenty years ago.
“This milestone is a testament to our exceptional employees and the great partnerships that we have developed, which have sustained and fueled our growth over the past 20 years. By empowering employees to develop one-on-one relationships with clients and work towards LCS’s mission, the company continues to exceed customer expectations with customized solutions,” said Joe Lepore, Founder.
The Lepore family’s community outreach extends beyond their two decades of business and includes supporting over 50 local not-for-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Abilities First, Hudson Valley Hospice, and Family Services.
In recognition of their contributions, LCS Facility Group has been honored with numerous awards since its founding in 2001, including Family Services’ Family of the Year and Westfair Magazine’s Top Family-Owned Business. Most recently, LCS Facility Group has been selected to feature as an episode of “The American Dream”, which will air on The Bloomberg Network and Amazon Prime later this fall.
Today the company is led by Joe Lepore’s three sons: Daniel, Joseph, and Domenico Lepore who’ve planned to honor this significant achievement with the release of a more modern version of their logo, updated brand colors, and redesigned website that showcase the company’s evolution and expansion, while still honoring its core purpose.
LCS Facility Group’s mission will not change as they continue to commit to providing proactive value, service, and client satisfaction. LCS Facility Group will commemorate the milestone with staff and community members during an official ribbon cutting hosted by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce on September 9, 2021, at their headquarters located at 36 Cottage Street, Poughkeepsie NY 12601.
About LCS Facility Group:
Since its founding in 2001, starting with a single van and five employees, LCS Facility Group has become an industry leader and premier outsourcing partner within the facilities management sector. Now comprised of nearly 500 employees, LCS Facility Group remains a family-owned business with long-lasting relationships, an old-world work ethic, and dedication to customer service. With a reputation of high-level expertise, professionalism, and specialty services, LCS Facility Group continuously exceeds both industry and client standards. For more information about LCS Facility Group or any of their services, please visit
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