OOC: Companies big and small are investing millions, adding employees
By Steve Yablonski
It looks like 2022 will be a busy year for Operation Oswego County. Some projects were announced in 2021, but are just now starting, like the $130 million expansion at Novelis in Scriba.
“That project is a major, major investment. It will start this spring and is estimated to be completed by 2024,” said L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of Operation Oswego County. “It’s a major shot in the arm for Oswego County and Central New York for the manufacturing sector.”
That’s on top of about $500 million Novelis invested in the facility a few years ago in manufacturing aluminum for the automotive industry; it’s a huge commitment to Oswego County, he added.
Another project that is just now beginning to get into the construction mode is the significant expansion of HealthWay in Pulaski.
“It is right in the pipeline of the COVID thing, manufacturing air filters.
They are basically adding roughly 32,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity at their facility. About a year, year and a half ago, there were about 30 employees. Now they’re up to 75 and with this expansion they want to double that; they’re going to go up to, roughly, 150 or so,” Treadwell said.
It’s about a $2.8 million capital investment.
“They are doing a great job expanding their production and capability of selling air filtration equipment. They make things for residential use as well as for hospitals, schools and other places. There’s a big demand right now for their products,” he added.
Up in the town of Richland, Omni Navitas is building a 500-mega watt solar energy project on county Route 28. It’s about a $6.7 million project, constructed on 200 acres.
“We’ve worked with them on a number of projects; they are based out of Boston, Massachusetts,” Treadwell said.
Another project that’s been delayed a little bit “but should get clicking in ’22” is the Tailwater Lodge expansion in the town of Albion.
“They will be adding a two-story addition to their existing facility. It will include 21 one- and two-bedroom suites,” he said.
This is about a $3.2 million project, which will add several jobs to Tailwater.
“That’s a major tourist attraction. It’s a great addition for the area’s tourism industry,” Treadwell said. “And, it’s a project on the eastern side of Oswego County. That’s an area where we are trying to do everything we can to stimulate some economic activity. This facility certainly has done that over the course of its life.”
Over in Oswego, the Tully’s restaurant will be opening soon. That’s about a $1.6 million project. It’ll create about 14 full-time and 23 part-time positions.
“That’s a nice little project,” Treadwell said.
In Central Square, Highland Animal Hospital is expanding. They are building a 7,200-square-foot new veterinarian hospital space.
“This project is moving along. They anticipate getting everything wrapped up soon where they can start construction in the spring. They employ about 15 right now. They will be doubling that,” Treadwell said.
The unique thing about this expansion, he added, is “they are also going to incorporate into their practice an urgent care center, which is lacking in this region. They think that will be a feature that will help drive them forward. They are recruiting other vets to come work at the practice. It’s a pretty exciting project.”
When you think of a facility that’s going to employ 30 people, when it’s all done, “that’s a pretty significant employer,” he said.
One big thing that is happening right now is the Build Back Better Regional Challenge.
There are 60 finalists for the funding. There will be a number of different components of the final application, competing for millions in funding.
“One component, from Oswego County, will be the build out and expansion of the county industrial park in the town of Schroeppel. Overall, that’s a $10 million project. That’s a major piece of our part of the application,” Treadwell said. “It’s pretty exciting. There are some opportunities to help grow the infrastructure for the county’s economic development in the future.”
OOC is “really, really flooded right now with a lot of potential small projects and some significant large projects as well,” he said.
“The activity is out there. We are still dealing with the COVID issue, but we’re getting a lot of companies looking at expanding or buying a building. We’re pretty excited about that. There is still significant activity going on in terms of larger scale projects and re-activating some of the facilities that have been pretty much shut down, like at the Riverview Business Park and things of that nature. We’re optimistic that there is going to be some progress, serious activity going on this year,” he said. “We hope some of the DRI projects associated with Fulton will start getting some headwind this year and move forward. Putting it all together, they are a lot of things going on.”
Featured image: Novelis, one of the largest manufacturing businesses in Central New York, is about to start a $130 million expansion project this spring.